Aussie Journalist Probes SARS-CoV-2 Origin

“Where did the deadly virus that shut down the world come from?” Liz Hayes asks in an April 14, 2021, episode of “60 Minutes Australia: Under Investigation.”1 “It’s one of the greatest mysteries we’ve ever faced.”

Did it evolve in a bat-infested copper mine in Mojiang, within the southwest of China? Six miners who labored there have been contaminated again in 2012, and three died of a illness near-identical to that of COVID-19.

The so-called “Mojiang miners passage theory”2,3 proposes a precursor to SARS-CoV-2 — RaTG13, a virus collected from that very same mine — sickened the miners, and as soon as inside these sufferers, a few of whom had been ailing for a number of weeks, it mutated into SARS-CoV-2.

Testing of RaTG13 when it was first found revealed the an infection suffered by the miners had been brought on by a SARS-like coronavirus from horseshoe bats.

One of the miners spent 5 months within the hospital earlier than lastly succumbing to the an infection. This, it’s believed, is sufficiently lengthy for the virus to have mutated into SARS-CoV-2, a virus that’s 96% similar, genetically, to RaTG13.

Samples from the mine and 4 of the hospitalized miners had been all despatched to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in 2012, from the place the virus could then have escaped in late 2019.

Lab Origin Cannot Be Excluded

According to U.S. deputy nationwide safety adviser Matthew Pottinger,4,5 “There is a growing body of evidence that the lab is likely the most credible source” of SARS-CoV-2.

David Asher, former lead investigator for the U.S. State Department’s job power that appeared into the origins of COVID-19, has additionally gone on file saying the info they collected “made us feel the Wuhan Institute was highly probably the source of the COVID pandemic.”6

“Under Investigation’s” roundtable of consultants contains Nikolai Petrovsky, professor of endocrinology at Flinders University College of Medicine in Adelaide, Australia. He too insists “we cannot exclude a laboratory origin for the virus,” and his personal analysis kinds the idea for this opinion.

His workforce has sought to determine a means by which animals may need co-mingled to offer rise to SARS-CoV-2, in the end concluding that it couldn’t be a naturally-occurring virus. Petrovsky has beforehand acknowledged it seems much more possible that the virus was created in a laboratory, with out using genetic engineering, by rising it in several sorts of animal cells.7

To adapt the virus to people, it will have been grown in cells which have the human ACE2 receptor. Over time, the virus would then adapt and finally acquire the flexibility to bind to the human receptor.

“Under Investigation” additionally options Jonathan Latham, Ph.D., a molecular biologist and virologist, who developed the “Mojiang miners passage theory.”8,9Cover-Up of SARS-CoV-2 Origin?” options my July 2020 interview with him, by which he critiques this and different theories.

Pure Conspiracy Theory?

Professor of microbiology Robert Garry, of Tulane Medical School in New Orleans, in the meantime dismisses the idea that scientists can be protecting up the origin of the virus as “pure conspiracy.”

While he agrees that the WIV housed RaTG13 and has been working extensively with this and different bat coronaviruses, he believes it’s unimaginable for RaTG13 to have mutated into SARS-CoV-2, both within the lab or contained in the sick miners. “That would take about 50 years of natural evolution,” he tells Hayes. Latham responds to this sort of critique saying:

“The way to think about this is to say, if all the evidence that was in favor of a lab escape was in favor of natural origin, or the evidence in favor of natural origin was on the side of a lab escape, there would be no disagreement about it and what happened here.”

As famous by Petrovsky, we all know one factor: SARS-CoV-2 has a bat origin. The query is, how did it develop the flexibility to contaminate people? Here there are a number of choices. It could have mutated by way of a number of middleman species. The drawback is there is no such thing as a proof of SARS-CoV-2 in another species.

Gain-of-Function Research May Have Been Used

Shi Zheng-Li, Ph.D., often known as “the bat woman,” resulting from her intensive work with bat viruses and bat-related ailments, heads up the biosecurity degree 4 laboratory in Wuhan. She is thought to have studied the RaTG13 virus. What’s extra, the WIV is thought to have carried out gain-of-function analysis, by which pathogens are manipulated to extend their infectivity and/or pathogenicity.

In different phrases, pathogens are purposely altered to make them extra harmful. This is the complete premise of biowarfare, and why I consider gain-of-function analysis should be banned worldwide, no matter the way it’s carried out.

As defined by professor Raina Macintyre,10 an epidemiologist and professor of world biosecurity at New South Wales University, there are a number of methods by which a virus may be genetically manipulated within the lab.

One well-established approach includes repeatedly passing the virus by way of a reside animal host. In different phrases, you infect the animal again and again till the virus develops the flexibility to contaminate and have an effect on that animal. “You’re basically speeding up nature,” Macintyre tells Hayes. “You’re speeding up evolution by hundreds of thousands of years.”

As famous by human rights lawyer Jason Yat-Sen Li, by purposely engineering viruses to contaminate people once they can not accomplish that naturally, we might inadvertently unleash a pandemic that wipes out mankind. “I find it shocking,” he tells “Under Investigation.” He, like I and plenty of others, feels this sort of analysis merely shouldn’t be carried out, because the potential dangers are extraordinary.

US Circumvented Gain-of-Function Moratorium

Interestingly, as Petrovsky factors out, throughout the few years that gain-of-function analysis was quickly banned within the U.S., that analysis was moved to the WIV.

What’s extra, after the U.S. moratorium was lifted in 2017, a particular overview board, the Potential Pandemic Pathogens Control and Oversight, or P3CO Review Framework, was created inside the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), to guage whether or not grants for gain-of-function analysis had been well worth the dangers, and to make sure correct safeguards are in place earlier than the analysis will get the inexperienced mild.11

According to Rutgers University professor Richard Ebright, a National Institutes of Health grant for analysis involving the modification of bat coronaviruses on the WIV was sneaked by way of as a result of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) did not flag it for overview.12 In different phrases, the WIV acquired federal funding for what Ebright insists is gain-of-function analysis from the NIAID with out it first passing overview by the HHS overview board.

World Health Organization Botched Investigation

Hayes interviews Dominic Dwyer, a professor of immunology and infectious ailments on the University of Sydney, Australia, who visited the WIV as a part of the investigative workforce put collectively by China and the World Health Organization. At the time, Dwyer believed investigating the WIV as a supply of the virus “was definitely part of their mission,” and that the laboratory leak speculation was a “very reasonable” one, “because it has happened before.”

If the virus got here from the lab, extra questions come up. Did it merely escape? Or was extra sinister analysis being carried out and the virus launched on goal?

Dwyer confused {that a} profitable investigation would require full cooperation of the Chinese. As it seems, the investigation was not a completely profitable one. In truth, there’s proof to recommend it was yet one more try at a canopy up. The workforce — members of which had been authorized by Chinese authorities — didn’t have unfettered entry to WIV knowledge however, somewhat, needed to depend on no matter their Chinese counterparts gave them.

February 9, 2021, the workforce chief, Danish meals security and zoonosis scientist Ben Embarek, introduced the WIV and two different biosafety degree 4 laboratories in Wuhan, China, had nothing to do with the COVID-19 outbreak, and that the lab-escape concept would now not be a part of the workforce’s investigation.

Instead, they’d be focusing their consideration on the idea that SARS-CoV-2 piggybacked its means into the Wuhan market in shipments of frozen meals from different areas of China, the place coronavirus-carrying bats are recognized to reside, or from abroad.13,14 

According to Embarek, the officers at WIV “are the best ones to dismiss the claims and provide answers” in regards to the potential for a lab leak. Clearly, that line of reasoning hardly passes the scent check. As famous by GM Watch, it “defies common sense: Suspects in an investigation should clearly not be treated as ‘the best ones’ to dismiss any possible charges against them.”15

Embarek additional insisted that lab accidents are “extremely rare,” therefore it’s “very unlikely that anything could escape from such a place.”16 Yet that is one other totally unconvincing argument.

According to the Cambridge Working Group in 2014, “biosafety incidents involving regulated pathogens have been occurring on average over twice a week” within the U.S. alone,17,18 and a Beijing virology lab by accident launched the unique SARS virus on a minimum of 4 separate events.19 Three of these 4 cases led to outbreaks.20

WHO Backtracks After Backlash

Many consultants condemned the WHO’s inquiry as a sham and a political stunt to exonerate the Chinese authorities.21 Two dozen scientists and coverage consultants signed an open letter22 calling for a really unbiased and clear investigation into the virus’ origin,23 itemizing a variety of flaws within the joint WHO-China inquiry, together with the common absence of proof demonstrating a completely pure origin of SARS-CoV-2.

Within days, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus walked again the workforce’s outright dismissal saying “I want to clarify that all hypotheses remain open and require further study.”24,25 Perhaps he realized the WHO was about to make a public relations mistake so extreme it will by no means recuperate.

Ghebreyesus and 13 different world leaders have since joined the U.S. authorities in expressing “frustration with the level of access China granted an international mission to Wuhan.”

According to Ghebreyesus, the workforce “did not conduct an ‘extensive enough’ assessment of the possibility the virus was introduced to humans through a laboratory incident,” which is able to due to this fact necessitate extra research with “more timely and comprehensive data sharing.”26

Did Initial Cover-Up Result in a Pandemic?

As famous by Hayes, many Western international locations consider China not solely has lined up the origin of the pandemic, however downplayed its seriousness as nicely. Witnesses in China declare they knew the virus unfold from individual to individual, but Chinese authorities initially mentioned human to human transmission was unlikely and that instances had been very restricted.

Chinese medical doctors have additionally acknowledged they had been ordered to lie about how shortly and simply the virus was spreading. Chinese authorities additionally allowed well-attended New Year’s celebrations to proceed, regardless of the apparent well being dangers.

Professor Chen Hong, director of Australian research at East China Normal University in Hong Kong, defends the Chinese authorities, telling Hayes such blame should be positioned on native officers, not the CCP. They, like everybody else, had been caught unexpectedly and didn’t know what they had been coping with, he says.

However, in line with former lead investigator for the U.S. State Department’s coronavirus job power, Asher, three staff on the WIV who labored with the RatG13 coronavirus seem to have truly been the primary cluster of instances of COVID-19. They fell ailing with signs according to COVID-19 as early as October 2019, two months earlier than the primary phrases in regards to the virus had been uttered publicly. At least one of many staff required hospitalization.

Is Gain-of-Function Research Justifiable?

Clearly, attending to the underside of the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is essential if we’re to forestall the same pandemic from erupting sooner or later. If gain-of-function analysis was in truth concerned, we have to know, in order that steps can both be taken to forestall one other leak (which isn’t possible potential) or to dismantle and ban such analysis altogether for the widespread good.

As lengthy as we’re creating the danger, the profit will likely be secondary. Any scientific or medical positive aspects created from this sort of analysis pales compared to the unbelievable dangers concerned if weaponized pathogens are launched, and it doesn’t matter if it’s accidentally or on goal. This sentiment has been echoed by others in a wide range of scientific publications.27,28,29,30

Considering the potential for a massively deadly pandemic, I consider it’s protected to say that BSL 3 and 4 laboratories pose a really actual and critical existential menace to humanity.

Historical information inform us unintended exposures and releases have already occurred, and we solely have our fortunate stars to thank that none has became pandemics taking the lives of tens of hundreds of thousands, as was predicted in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seeing how scientists have already discovered a approach to mutate SARS-CoV-2 such that it evades human antibodies, as detailed in “Lab Just Made a More Dangerous COVID Virus,” having a frank, open dialogue in regards to the scientific deserves of this sort of work is extra pertinent than ever earlier than.


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