The Origins of SARS-CoV-2 – Critical Review
Prof. Joel Eissenberg: “Zoonotic origin for SARS-CoV-2 remains the most plausible hypothesis”
There’s a saying in research science: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Given what we know about the origins of nearly all viral pandemics — that they resulted from a virus jumping from an animal to a human host (zoonotic infection)–the null hypothesis for the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic should be and was zoonotic. The competing claim the SARS-CoV-2 originated in a research lab at the Wuhan Institute for Virology (WIV) has been widely circulating on conspiracy theory web sites.
Based on what we know about SARS-CoV-2 genome structure, comparative coronavirus genomics and viral epidemiology in general, it is fair to say that the burden of proof falls upon those who support the lab origin hypothesis. According to a recent preprint review, this burden has not been met, and the most parsimonious hypothesis is a zoonotic origin. The authors also underscore the importance of further research to define the origin of COVID-19 and the danger of distracting claims to the research necessary to prepare for future pandemics:
“There is currently no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 has a laboratory origin. There is no evidence that any early cases had any connection to the WIV, in contrast to the clear epidemiological links to animal markets in Wuhan, nor evidence that the WIV possessed or worked on a progenitor of SARS-CoV-2 prior to the pandemic. The suspicion that SARS-CoV-2 might have a laboratory origin stems from the coincidence that it was first detected in a city that houses a major virological laboratory that studies coronaviruses. Wuhan is the largest city in central China with multiple animal markets and is a major hub for travel and commerce, well connected to other areas both within China and internationally. The link to Wuhan therefore more likely reflects the fact that pathogens often require heavily populated areas to become established.
“We contend that there is substantial body of scientific evidence supporting a zoonotic origin for SARS-CoV-2. While the possibility of a laboratory accident cannot be entirely dismissed, and may be near impossible to falsify, this conduit for emergence is highly unlikely relative to the numerous and repeated human-animal contacts that occur routinely in the wildlife trade. Failure to comprehensively investigate the zoonotic origin through collaborative and carefully coordinated studies would leave the world vulnerable to future pandemics arising from the same human activities that have repeatedly put us on a collision course with novel viruses.”
|The Origins of SARS-CoV-2: A Critical ReviewThe Origins of SARS-CoV-2: A Critical Review Holmes et al. Since the first reports of a novel SARS-like coronavirus in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, there has been intense interest in understanding how SARS-CoV-2 emerged in the human population. Recent debate has coalesced around two competing ideas: a “laboratory escape” scenario and zoonotic emergence. Here, we critically review the current scientific evidence that may help clarify the origin of SARS-CoV-2. zenodo.org|
Related, an extensive letter in Nature Medicine from March 2020:
The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2
OK, then definitely maybe although probably not. Sure, I’m completely convinced.
Oh. the linked article from Fred discusses the possibility of a lab sample getting out, but dismisses the idea of lab genetically engineered bugs being the cause. Meanwhile Pogo Pangolin admits that “We have met the enemy and it are us,” while everyone else is bat shit crazy.
I’m not sure we will ever know. This from the WSJ 8/15:
No new information has emerged in the past 18 months to support the natural-origin theory. Meantime, a growing body of circumstantial evidence supports the lab-leak theory, including information reported by the U.S. State Department that employees of the Wuhan lab were becoming sick with Covid-like symptoms in the fall of 2019.
That quote comes from reliable sources.:
Dr. Redfield, a virologist, served as CDC director, 2018-21. Dr. Siegel is a clinical professor of medicine and medical director of Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Health, a Fox News medical correspondent, and author of “COVID: The Politics of Fear and the Power of Science.”
The World Needs to Know What Happened at the Wuhan Lab – WSJ
Thanks. That is a bit more convincing. In any case though, I blame fat Donnie for cutting the CDC outbreak monitoring staff in China to less than half its previous manpower.
U.S. Legal News
March 25, 2020 6:26 PM Updated a year ago
Exclusive: U.S. slashed CDC staff inside China prior to coronavirus outbreak
By Marisa Taylor
11 Min Read
WASHINGTON(Reuters) – The Trump administration cut staff by more than two-thirds at a key U.S. public health agency operating inside China, as part of a larger rollback of U.S.-funded health and science experts on the ground there leading up to the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters has learned.
Most of the reductions were made at the Beijing office of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and occurred over the past two years, according to public CDC documents viewed by Reuters and interviews with four people familiar with the drawdown.
The Atlanta-based CDC, America’s preeminent disease fighting agency, provides public health assistance to nations around the world and works with them to help stop outbreaks of contagious diseases from spreading globally. It has worked in China for 30 years.
The CDC’s China headcount has shrunk to around 14 staffers, down from approximately 47 people since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, the documents show. The four people, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the losses included epidemiologists and other health professionals…
I was reading this in early 2020. It did impede US reaction to the start of Covid. The staffing (Obama’s) in various places was precisely to keep an eye on such outbreaks where as to allow the US to intercede immediately if the danger was significant (which it was).
It was there to provide early warning of another potentially serious disease occurring and came after the Ebola outbreak.
(edited with additional info)
the Chinese believe it came from Fort Detrick and was dumped in Wuhan to cast blame on the Chinese..
later in the same article: “An online petition in China demanding that the WHO investigate the lab for any connections to the origins of the novel coronavirus was launched in July. It has gained over 25 million signatures online and has inspired people in the Philippines, Australia, Malaysia and South Korea to call on the US to “open the door” for a thorough probe.”
“Overall, SARSr-CoV animal-to-human transmission associated with infected live animals is the most likely cause of the COVID19 pandemic. However, the massive scale of cold-chain supply, particularly following disruption to the meat industry in China caused by ASFV-associated culling, suggests that frozen susceptible-animal carcasses, either for human or animal consumption, should not be discounted as playing a role in the emergence of SARS-CoV-2”