Published on Tuesday, February 16th by Independent Science News, “Why China and the WHO Will Never Find a Zoonotic Origin For the COVID-19 Pandemic Virus“, written by Jonathan Latham, PhD and Allison Wilson, PhD.
Synopsis: Wuhan, China, is a place that no one predicted a natural coronavirus pandemic would begin. Nevertheless, the numerical improbability of a natural coronavirus pandemic originating within commuting distance of a major coronavirus laboratory has, until now, never been properly calculated. But there is also another coincidence that defenders of a zoonotic origin for the COVID-19 pandemic need to account for. There are numerous coronavirus species. Any one of these might theoretically have caused a pandemic. Yet the actual pandemic virus belongs to the same species that was also the near exclusive focus of coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The magnitude of these two coincidences, we propose, explains why a natural zoonotic origin has not been found. Indeed, it implies that some variant of a laboratory escape is the only realistic possibility.
Could SARS-CoV-2 have come from a lab? This online talk by Dr Jonathan Latham was presented to the EAT community on Jan 8th 2021. It describes our current thinking on the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In short, the evidence for a zoonotic origin is virtually non-existent, whereas several strong lines of evidence point to a lab escape. This is the first of three talks investigating theories of the origin of the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 virus). Talk 2 details various lab origin theories including the Mojiang Miners Passage theory. Talk 3 describes the economic and political incentives to suppress discussion of a likely lab origin. The online talk can be watched here:
Further reading: ‘The Case Is Building That COVID-19 Had a Lab Origin’ https://www.independentsciencenews.or… ‘A Proposed Origin for SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 Pandemic’ https://www.independentsciencenews.or…
Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance Has Hidden Almost $40 Million In Pentagon Funding And Militarized Pandemic Science
Published on Wednesday, December 16th, 2020 by Independent Science News: Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance Has Hidden Almost $40 Million In Pentagon Funding And Militarized Pandemic Science was written by Sam Husseini, Independent Journalist.
Synopsis: Independent Science News today publishes journalist Sam Husseini’s investigation into the finances of the EcoHealth Alliance. The New York based EcoHealth Alliance is a US non-profit with multiple crucial roles in the current pandemic. First, when the SARS-CoV-2 virus first emerged in Wuhan, the EcoHealth Alliance was financing the Wuhan Institute of Virology to collect and study novel bat coronaviruses. Second, its President, Peter Daszak, has been the media’s primary expert chosen to explain the origins of the pandemic. And third, of the two major international committees now tasked with investigating the origins of the virus (the WHO committee and the EAT Lancet committee), Daszak is a member of the first and the head of the second. In none of Peter Daszak’s media appearances, nor during discussions of EcoHealth Alliance’s role before or during the pandemic, has it been revealed that almost $40 million, representing one third of EcoHealth Alliance’s total budget, is derived from the US Department of Defense. This revelation, plus evidence of other close military ties, adds a significant new dimension to analyses of the EcoHealth Alliance, the underlying purpose of its activities, and, potentially, the origins of the pandemic itself.
Synopsis: In February 2020 medical journal The Lancet published a letter with 27 scientific signatories. It turns out that the letter was authored chiefly by the President of the EcoHealth Alliance,
Emails obtained by U.S. Right to Know show that a statement in The Lancet authored by 27 prominent public health scientists condemning “conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin” was organized by EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit group that has received millions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer funding to genetically manipulate coronaviruses. EcoHealth Alliance, the US non-profit which funded the research under suspicion for having leaked the virus in Wuhan, China.
Published on Wed. July 15th in Independent Science News
Written by Jonathan Latham, PhD and Allison Wilson, PhD
Synopsis: SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the current pandemic, is in many ways an enigma to virologists. First, the virus enters human cells using a viral spike protein that is a tremendous fit for its human receptor (a protein called ACE2). This close fit allows the virus to spread very efficiently between people but such precision cannot plausibly have arisen by chance. Thus the virus appears to have evolved in the presence of that human receptor. Furthermore, the virus has a region on its spike protein called a furin site. This furin site allows the virus to access multiple cell types, making it able to infect and spread through lungs and other tissue types. The furin site is thus key to making SARS-CoV-2 a powerful pathogen. Since none of the closest known virus relatives of SARS-CoV-2 have a furin site, where did it come from? Third, any virus that recently jumped to humans from bats (or any other species) should undergo a period of rapid adapation to its new host. This is what happened when the coronaviruses SARS and MERS jumped to humans. Yet since the pandemic began, SARS-CoV-2 mutations have arisen but the virus has hardly evolved (in an adaptive sense) at all. Current zoonotic origin theories for SARS-CoV-2 have no satisfactory explanation for any of these evolutionary puzzles. Indeed, recent studies have made natural zoonotic origin hypotheses even less viable. For example, the Chinese CDC has ruled out Wuhan’s live market as the epidemic’s origin.
In our search for the origins of the pandemic we focussed on the nearest genetic relative of SARS-CoV-2, a bat coronavirus called RaTG13. This virus was obtained during 2012 and 2013 virus collecting trips to a mine where, shortly before, six miners had developed a mystery illness while shoveling bat feces. To learn more, we arranged the translation of a neglected Chinese Master’s thesis that documented the symptoms and hospital treatment of these miners. This thesis contains many surprises. Foremost, the miners were diagnosed as having coronavirus infections, and second, their symptoms are now recognisable as those of classic COVID-19. This and other information in the thesis caused us to rethink everything we thought we knew about the origins of the pandemic. In A Proposed Origin for SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 Pandemic, we set out what we call the Mojiang Miners Passaging hypothesis. The theory proposes (1) that the miners acquired a coronavirus from the bats in the mine and (2) that this bat virus evolved extensively inside their bodies to become a highly human-adapted virus. This evolution occurred during a hospitalisation period that, for some of them, lasted many months. From the thesis we also know that blood and other samples were extracted from the miners and some of these were sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). We suggest that these samples contained highly human-adapted viruses and were used at the WIV for research. During this research the virus escaped, initiating the 2019 COVID-19 pandemic.
As we show, the theory solves the currently mysterious evolutionary and biological features of SARS-CoV-2 as well as explaining its eventual appearance in Wuhan. It also explains subsequent attempts to obscure the deaths of the miners and the Mojiang mine origin of RATG13.
To listen to the entire paper read out, you can go to Talking Papers: https://soundcloud.com/talkingpapers/proposed-origin-for-sarscov2
Published today (Tues, June 2nd, 2020) on Independent Science News, “The Case Is Building That COVID-19 Had a Lab Origin,” by Jonathan Latham, PhD and Allison Wilson, PhD.
To read the full article go to: https://www.independentsciencenews.org/health/the-case-is-building-that-covid-19-had-a-lab-origin/