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Coronavirus 
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Post Re: Coronavirus
But isn't it true, or at least wise to assume, that these healthy infected can pass on disease to others who may get sick?



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Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:04 pm
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Post Re: Coronavirus
DWill wrote:
But isn't it true, or at least wise to assume, that these healthy infected can pass on disease to others who may get sick?



One of the reasons why we are all wearing masks, DWill.

From what I have personally seen, people in LA have been very good about wearing masks.

But the goal posts have been moved several times in CA since the beginning. There is no denying that.
And this pandemic has been politicized , like everything else at some point.
It will be a talking point for the people that are holding Biden's strings.
You know, Trump is responsible for all the deaths, this all could have been avoided, etc etc.



Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:04 pm
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Post Re: Coronavirus
Here in Bahrain masks are also mandatory.

On the Navy base I see a lot of mothers grocery shopping with their children (toddlers); of which are not required to wear a mask for some reason or another.

While Mom is looking at the produce, I pull down my mask and cough in the kids face and move along.

#doingmypart #spreadvirusandawareness


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Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:29 pm
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Post Re: Coronavirus
That was funny!



Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:44 pm
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Post Re: Coronavirus
True?

Quote:
Death rates in countries that rely on hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for the treatment of COVID-19 appear to be dramatically lower than death rates in countries that discourage the use of the drug.



https://www.theepochtimes.com/hydroxych ... ssion=true

Let's wait to hear what our resident covid19 expert and his 50 studies has to say.
Interbane?



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Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:07 pm
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Post Re: Coronavirus
ant wrote:
DWill wrote:
But isn't it true, or at least wise to assume, that these healthy infected can pass on disease to others who may get sick?



One of the reasons why we are all wearing masks, DWill.

From what I have personally seen, people in LA have been very good about wearing masks.

But the goal posts have been moved several times in CA since the beginning. There is no denying that.
And this pandemic has been politicized , like everything else at some point.
It will be a talking point for the people that are holding Biden's strings.
You know, Trump is responsible for all the deaths, this all could have been avoided, etc etc.

Yet, every single written statement I've seen criticizing Trump's performance does not say Trump is responsible for all the deaths. Claiming that such a global judgment exists seems itself politicized. The man got himself into governance. That means that when he asks for his contract to be renewed, he must be evaluated on his success in dealing with the country's problems. Failing on covid-19 doesn't mean he bears sole responsibility for the U.S. doing much worse than would have been expected of us, but fail he did. Every president has failures they need to be accountable to voters for.



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Post Re: Coronavirus
ant wrote:
True?
Quote:
Death rates in countries that rely on hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for the treatment of COVID-19 appear to be dramatically lower than death rates in countries that discourage the use of the drug.
https://www.theepochtimes.com/hydroxych ... ssion=true
Let's wait to hear what our resident covid19 expert and his 50 studies has to say. Interbane?

I see nobody has responded to my post in this thread last week about the recent paper setting out the evidence for the virus emerging from a laboratory. A series of articles that I consider excellent reading support this assertion, commenting that the psychology of this suggestion is just too horrible to contemplate, so people will not contemplate it. These articles are available at https://www.wionews.com/author/lawerence-sellin

The non-debate on hydroxychloroquine reflects the same psychology, with the banning of its sale reflecting a crazy partisan political agenda, as explained in the excellent article that ant has linked. HCQ does not work for hospitalised patients but does appear to work if given when first symptoms appear. Trump's endorsement was the kiss of death, leading to an insane refusal to study the evidence, as explained in a paper published in The Lancet on 20 August. It says "Many trials evaluating chloroquine-based treatments ... for pre-exposure prophylaxis and outpatient treatment have had funding and ethics approvals rescinded based on media attention on findings from hospital settings. This misinterpretation of disease states exists among both the public and the scientific communities."


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Last edited by Robert Tulip on Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:26 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Coronavirus
Robert Tulip wrote:
Might SARS‐CoV‐2 Have Arisen via Serial Passage through an Animal Host or Cell Culture?
K&D Sirotkin explore the suggestion that the COVID 19 virus was accidentally released from a laboratory in Wuhan.
The journal is BioEssays, published by Wiley online.
The comments below are fully referenced in the article.


I really am in no way qualified to evaluate this evidence. It is interesting, I tend to trust Wiley to run a careful process, even in an on-line journal, and I certainly trust you not to distort the evidence. There have been other bits of evidence out that suggest the possibility of bioengineering behind the Covid 19 virus, but this is the closest I have heard of to an actual evidenced analysis. I also know that "possibility" work gets published that sometimes turns out later to have been off target. This is "above my pay grade" as we used to say in Washington - let the CIA decide, or at least the CDC.

On the other hand, I no longer trust the President of the United States to let the evidence fall where it may. I don't trust him not to bully the scientists evaluating the stuff, or to let further facts decide an ambiguous case. On the environment, for example, he has consistently pushed counter-factual conclusions and short-circuited any process of evidencing conclusions, even though huge numbers of lives will be affected. Maybe there should be a debate among lay people. But given the penchant of even academics to shed more heat than light, can we really trust lay people to handle the evidence with care?

In the accounting profession they learned to pull down the shades and answer "How much do you want it to be?" when asked what 2+2 is. The result eventually was the fall of Arthur Anderson, but in the meantime billions of dollars of ordinary people's money was lost. That's why there has to be a paper trail. If I was setting up policy to deal with this sort of ethical issue, I would start with a public, accountable paper trail.

And then what do we do about military labs, where there is never going to be public accountability?

Honestly, I think there should be enormous firewalls against any kind of manipulation of potentially deadly microbial or viral material, but given that the techniques are getting more and more familiar, what kinds of mutual inspection regimes could prevent hostile powers from creating the stuff behind the walls of secrecy. I think most of us assume it is already happening, as the anthrax story from Russia showed.


Robert Tulip wrote:
The article suggests the novel coronavirus could have come from dual‐use gain‐of‐function research, as the process of viral ...serial passage ... mimics a natural zoonotic jump, and offers explanations for SARS‐CoV‐2's distinctive features, raising ethical questions about the risks of this area of research.
Dual-use usually refers to processes with both military and civilian uses, such as photomultipliers for both night vision and medical diagnosis. I imagine there is even less separation than usual for this stuff, since we know coronaviruses emerge from animal populations and having the capacity to defend ourselves almost automatically expands our ability to generate weapons with them.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Noting that this virus acts like no microbe humanity has ever seen, the authors contend that the natural origin hypothesis fails to account for its unique genomic characteristics. As well, the suggestion of natural mutation ignores the long history of serial passage as a method to manipulate viral genomes by forcing transmission between species, with the same signature but shorter time frame compared to natural mutation.
This part I don't really trust. "Acts like no microbe humanity has ever seen" certainly could imply manipulation, but I think there would need to be convincing evidence that someone could know what they were doing when generating such novel functions, before concluding anything nefarious was up.

Given that American researchers were involved in much of the Wuhan research, I think we would know it by now if efforts to create enhanced coronaviruses had been underway. Or maybe "classified" got slapped on from the beginning, but then if it was for weapon purposes, why would we have been exploring it with the Chinese? The point of the collaboration was to help everybody be prepared for the next potential pandemic, given that Central China has been the source of several of the most deadly agents to emerge in the last 25 years.

Robert Tulip wrote:
One virulence feature of COVID 19 is a furin cleavage site. In influenza, these come from serial passage in laboratories or farms. They are absent from coronaviruses that have more than 60% similarity to COVID 19. The artificial generations added by forced serial passage create the appearance of evolutionary distance, as found with SARS‐CoV‐2, which is distant enough from any other virus that it has been placed in its own clade.

Acquisition of the furin cleavage site was one of the key adaptations that enable SARS‐CoV‐2 to efficiently spread. This could have been spliced directly into the novel coronavirus's backbone in a laboratory using classic recombinant DNA technology, with use of serial passage to remove any sign of direct genetic manipulation. A furin cleavage site introduced to a coronavirus via recombination appeared to increase lethality while also damaging respiratory and urinary systems, paralleling SARS‐CoV‐2 systemic multi-organ symptoms for lungs, the cardiovascular and nervous systems and kidneys.
Okay, but why would they want to create a more lethal strain? Just to try stuff against it? Just to add it to a library of functions available to bioweapons creators? This just looks a little paranoid to me.

Robert Tulip wrote:
The University of North Carolina and Wuhan institutions such as the Institute of Virology have researched gain‐of‐function in bat‐borne coronaviruses since 2013, when a coronavirus that targets the ACE2 receptor like SARS‐CoV‐2 was isolated from a wild bat. Another gain‐of‐function experiment reconstructed the SARS coronavirus to impart affinity for ACE2 by isolating a civet progenitor and serially passing it through cell lines. Then a chimeric bat‐borne coronavirus directly manipulated a spike‐protein gene to produce a virulent strain which produced a dire warning from the Pasteur Institute about its trajectory if it escaped.
So the idea is that they just try things to see what emerges? Well, yes, I would have some ethical concerns about that.

Robert Tulip wrote:
A private repository has over 1500 strains of largely undisclosed viruses to draw from for experiments. Published work to manipulate bat coronavirus genomes is consistent with the wet‐work that would be needed to engineer this novel coronavirus in a laboratory. The Wuhan Institute of Virology has refused to release the lab notebooks of its researchers, which are expected to be meticulously detailed given the sensitive and delicate work that takes place in such laboratories. These notebooks would likely be enough to exonerate the lab from having any role in the creation of SARS‐CoV‐2.
This strikes me as the most important issue to take on. What are they hiding. And which of our people knew about what they might be hiding? But again, it sounds like the CIA is going to bottle up whatever is found out, which may be why the doctors are refusing to release their notebooks.

Robert Tulip wrote:
The SARS‐CoV‐2 could not be intentionally engineered, but it could well be selected for
I did not catch the reason for this. Sirotkin next suggests that nasty functions might have been mimicked from HIV virology. So what makes us think it was not engineered? Seems like an important issue.

Robert Tulip"The scientific community at large could examine all past gain‐of‐function serial passage research to study its other definitive genomic signatures in addition to the creation of furin cleavage sites, in case more can be found in this novel coronavirus.[/quote] Sounds good to me. Sunshine is the best disinfectant, as they say about politics.

[quote="Robert Tulip wrote:
The fact that gain‐of‐function research creates opportunities for pandemic viruses to leak out of labs calls for a re‐examination of the moratorium against this practice.
If the decision is going to flip-flop with the changes of politicians, don't we need some kind of larger framework that would both increase transparency and focus research on pathways that give the highest prospects of value with the lowest attendant risk of pandemics? We are literally talking about trillions of dollars of damage done in 2020. Isn't that worth doing some advance planning out in the public eye?



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Post Re: Coronavirus
Harry Marks wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:
Might SARS‐CoV‐2 Have Arisen via Serial Passage through an Animal Host or Cell Culture? K&D Sirotkin explore the suggestion that the COVID 19 virus was accidentally released from a laboratory in Wuhan. The journal is BioEssays, published by Wiley online. The comments below are fully referenced in the article.
I really am in no way qualified to evaluate this evidence. It is interesting, I tend to trust Wiley to run a careful process, even in an on-line journal, and I certainly trust you not to distort the evidence.
Thanks very much Harry. My post was from 27 August, so it is already buried in the thread. Direct link is post174110.html#p174110

The more I study this topic of virus origins, and the related question of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a treatment, the more perturbed I get about the political culture across the English speaking world and the failure to apply an evidence based approach to study of the pandemic. It is obviously very hard for most scientifically-minded people not to feel holier than Trump, but this has generated a presumption that everything he says is automatically wrong. That looks dangerous in this case.

The article ant linked on HCQ is from Epoch Times, the Falun Gong outlet that is virulently pro Trump and anti red China. The author Brian Giesbrecht is a retired judge and a senior fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, a right wing Canadian climate denial think tank funded by the Heartland Institute. This article is very well written in my view, but these political links mean that many people will reject it out of hand. Its source, C19study.com, is reportedly an unreliable amateur effort to collate scientific papers. C19study.com has been banned from reddit as fake news, but as the Epoch Times article argues, there appears to be systematic censorship of HCQ advocacy across social media.

So all of this material is hotly contested. I appreciate your trust in my motives here. In my previous post I have tried to just summarise Sirotkin’s journal article, which I think presents some very alarming evidence on virus origins.

You may recall that Trump and Pompeo called for an independent inquiry into the virus origins. When Australia supported this call, the Chinese stomped on us, imposing punitive agricultural tariffs after their ambassador to Canberra unleashed an unprecedented diplomatic onslaught of threats. He effectively said China is the new rising empire and Australia should kowtow to the Middle Kingdom. That savage response only reinforced the worry about what China have to hide in their genetic engineering laboratories in Wuhan with their long history of bat virus gain of function research.

Before people dismiss that as a conspiracy theory, they should look at the references in the Sirotkin article. I also found the articles written by Sellin on this topic persuasive, such as his comment that “unless true origin of coronavirus is identified, another Chinese pandemic is in the offing.” Sellin says “it is understandable -- given the traditional trust in the objectivity and altruism of science -- for people to not easily accept the determination that a highly infectious and deadly virus was man-made and released from a laboratory. Nevertheless, now more than ever, we must strive to ascertain the true origin of the pandemic by carefully examining the veracity of the conclusions drawn from scientific data, precisely because the stakes are so high.” Sellin goes on to make what looks like a tragically perceptive comment on the politics: “For many, the thought of a highly infectious and deadly man-made virus being released from a laboratory is too psychologically horrible to contemplate -- not to mention its catastrophic political and economic ramifications.” We don’t want it to be true, so we ignore any evidence that supports it. ‘A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest’, as the bard wrote.

One of the key themes in my philosophy masters thesis was that logical analysis of assumptions should be a general ethical principle. I try very hard to be aware of my own prejudices in order to form an objective view based on evidence. Of course objectivity on complex political questions is ultimately impossible, since no one can tell if they bring unconscious prejudices and values to bear on their own perceptions. At least I am alert to this possibility and actively try to minimise it. That means that I do not sit easily within the tribal cultural boundaries that now polarise modern culture. So yes, my motive in drawing attention to these unpopular claims is just to encourage open dialogue and analysis, as the best way to debunk any untrue presuppositions or conspiracy theories.

Harry Marks wrote:
There have been other bits of evidence out that suggest the possibility of bioengineering behind the Covid 19 virus, but this is the closest I have heard of to an actual evidenced analysis. I also know that "possibility" work gets published that sometimes turns out later to have been off target. This is "above my pay grade" as we used to say in Washington - let the CIA decide, or at least the CDC.
The Sirotkin paper argues that COVID is so genetically different from any other virus that it must have been engineered. This claim is generally rejected by virologists, for example here, here, and here.

Kristian Andersen, a virologist at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California is quoted in the last of these links from Nature as saying “it is highly unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 was made or manipulated in a lab… We have a lot of data showing this is natural, but no data, or evidence, to show that there’s any connection to a lab.” Sirotkin pulls together a bunch of circumstantial evidence, such as the location of the world leading bat virus lab in Wuhan, the longstanding complaints about the ethical basis of viral engineering, and the severe difficulty of suggesting a natural evolutionary path for this Frankenstein bug due to several major differences from any other related virus.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4996883/ is a 2016 article on the ethics of dual use gain of function viral research, with potential for benefit and harm. Reading it gives me the sick feeling that the covid virus arose from a horrible mistake that was foreseen but ignored.

That is all enough to say that knowing the real origins should be a political and scientific priority, not something for a shrug of indifference. If Covid was man-made then the regulation of similar research deserves much more scrutiny, and this knowledge could affect strategies to combat the pandemic. Virologists are obviously concerned about the truth, but they also know that if this horrible idea is true then things could become far more difficult for their research. We could understand if they desperately want the virus to be natural and this produces a conflict of interest in their opinions.
Harry Marks wrote:
On the other hand, I no longer trust the President of the United States to let the evidence fall where it may. I don't trust him not to bully the scientists evaluating the stuff, or to let further facts decide an ambiguous case.
The Trump problem is exactly the dilemma. With both this virus origin question and the HCQ debate, the sheer fact that Trump has endorsed views leads most scientifically-minded people to assume the exact opposite must be true. That is how badly he has destroyed his reputation for trustworthiness.
Harry Marks wrote:
On the environment, for example, he has consistently pushed counter-factual conclusions and short-circuited any process of evidencing conclusions, even though huge numbers of lives will be affected.
Trump and the climate denial community see the vast momentum and scale and value of fossil fuels as absolutely requiring construction of a Big Lie in opposition to science, even while many of them have convinced themselves that their impudent falsehood is honest. That Modus Operandi comes back to bite them when they claim to advance evidence-based policies on the pandemic. And his range of idiot comments about the virus as a hoax and refusing to wear masks etc have shredded his credibility.
Harry Marks wrote:
Maybe there should be a debate among lay people. But given the penchant of even academics to shed more heat than light, can we really trust lay people to handle the evidence with care?
It is really amazing that the planetary community finds it impossible to mobilise a trustworthy review of the pandemic. Whoever is nominated will face charges of hidden political agendas. As with climate change, even the scientific community is widely suspected of prejudicial agendas. With the climate there is reasonable debate on the feasibility and worth of rapid emission cuts. When someone like Lomborg points this out he just gets smeared as a denier, with his valid substantive points ignored. The covid debate is similarly political.
Harry Marks wrote:
In the accounting profession they learned to pull down the shades and answer "How much do you want it to be?" when asked what 2+2 is. The result eventually was the fall of Arthur Anderson, but in the meantime billions of dollars of ordinary people's money was lost. That's why there has to be a paper trail. If I was setting up policy to deal with this sort of ethical issue, I would start with a public, accountable paper trail.
The 2+2 example is too blatant and hard to conceal. With my work in international development I heard assertions that multilateral banks would manipulate rate of return analysis for loan projects so that politically desirable but economically dubious activities would get funded. Such corrupt fudges are easy when the decisions involve a level of complexity and judgement well above the level of simple arithmetic.

With sunlight as the best disinfectant, it remains a concern that the government of China will not allow transparent review of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.


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Post Re: Coronavirus
ant wrote:
https://www.theepochtimes.com/hydroxych ... ssion=true

Let's wait to hear what our resident covid19 expert and his 50 studies has to say.


I didn't find the article convincing. It mentions overall trends rather than randomized placebo controlled studies. One of the trends mentioned is how India and Brazil have such a low death rate, but they have the 2nd and 3rd most deaths in the world. Brazil is up to 130k so far.

I'd like to see the data analysis behind the assertions. What's the author referring to, specifically?


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Post Re: Coronavirus
Continued from above response
Harry Marks wrote:
And then what do we do about military labs, where there is never going to be public accountability?
There is some level of accountability through international arms control agreements, but obviously verification of these is very difficult. A short article on Preventing the Use of Biological Weapons is at https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/30/6/926/433565 I haven’t read it, but wonder if it has horse bolting and stable door lessons now. I don’t think covid was a malevolent biological weapon, but the hypothesis that it arose from well meaning gain of function research appears plausible.
Harry Marks wrote:
Honestly, I think there should be enormous firewalls against any kind of manipulation of potentially deadly microbial or viral material, but given that the techniques are getting more and more familiar, what kinds of mutual inspection regimes could prevent hostile powers from creating the stuff behind the walls of secrecy. I think most of us assume it is already happening, as the anthrax story from Russia showed.
The story of Saddam’s alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction illustrates the difficulty of verifying such allegations. If Covid proves to have had genetic engineering input, there will be considerable pressure for more openness about such research.
Harry Marks wrote:

Dual-use usually refers to processes with both military and civilian uses, such as photomultipliers for both night vision and medical diagnosis. I imagine there is even less separation than usual for this stuff, since we know coronaviruses emerge from animal populations and having the capacity to defend ourselves almost automatically expands our ability to generate weapons with them.
The article I linked above on ethics defines dual use as research that can be used for both beneficial and malevolent purposes, with ‘gain of function’ defined as experimentation that can “increase the transmissibility and/or virulence of pathogens." It says "Such research, when conducted by responsible scientists, usually aims to improve understanding of disease causing agents, their interaction with human hosts, and/or their potential to cause pandemics. The ultimate objective of such research is to better inform public health and preparedness efforts and/or development of medical countermeasures.”
Harry Marks wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:
Noting that this virus acts like no microbe humanity has ever seen, the authors contend that the natural origin hypothesis fails to account for its unique genomic characteristics. As well, the suggestion of natural mutation ignores the long history of serial passage as a method to manipulate viral genomes by forcing transmission between species, with the same signature but shorter time frame compared to natural mutation.
This part I don't really trust. "Acts like no microbe humanity has ever seen" certainly could imply manipulation, but I think there would need to be convincing evidence that someone could know what they were doing when generating such novel functions, before concluding anything nefarious was up.
The suggestion of genetic manipulation seems bizarre, creating all the more need for transparent review. But I fear your comment about the need for evidence of nefarious intent overlooks the whole scenario of accidental incompetent release driven by scientific curiosity in the hope of finding some benefit.
Harry Marks wrote:
Given that American researchers were involved in much of the Wuhan research, I think we would know it by now if efforts to create enhanced coronaviruses had been underway. Or maybe "classified" got slapped on from the beginning, but then if it was for weapon purposes, why would we have been exploring it with the Chinese? The point of the collaboration was to help everybody be prepared for the next potential pandemic, given that Central China has been the source of several of the most deadly agents to emerge in the last 25 years.
Here is a wow-inducing summary from 2015, like those cited in the Sirotkin paper. It is so interesting that I have copied it here.
Quote:
Lab-Made Coronavirus Triggers Debate
The creation of a chimeric [monster] SARS-like virus has scientists discussing the risks of gain-of-function research.
Nov 16, 2015

Ralph Baric, an infectious-disease researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, last week (November 9) published a study on his team’s efforts to engineer a virus with the surface protein of the SHC014 coronavirus, found in horseshoe bats in China, and the backbone of one that causes human-like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in mice. The hybrid virus could infect human airway cells and caused disease in mice, according to the team’s results, which were published in Nature Medicine.
The results demonstrate the ability of the SHC014 surface protein to bind and infect human cells, validating concerns that this virus—or other coronaviruses found in bat species—may be capable of making the leap to people without first evolving in an intermediate host, Nature reported. They also reignite a debate about whether that information justifies the risk of such work, known as gain-of-function research. “If the [new] virus escaped, nobody could predict the trajectory,” Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, told Nature.
In October 2013, the US government put a stop to all federal funding for gain-of-function studies, with particular concern rising about influenza, SARS, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). “NIH [National Institutes of Health] has funded such studies because they help define the fundamental nature of human-pathogen interactions, enable the assessment of the pandemic potential of emerging infectious agents, and inform public health and preparedness efforts,” NIH Director Francis Collins said in a statement at the time. “These studies, however, also entail biosafety and biosecurity risks, which need to be understood better.”
Baric’s study on the SHC014-chimeric coronavirus began before the moratorium was announced, and the NIH allowed it to proceed during a review process, which eventually led to the conclusion that the work did not fall under the new restrictions, Baric told Nature. But some researchers, like Wain-Hobson, disagree with that decision.
The debate comes down to how informative the results are. “The only impact of this work is the creation, in a lab, of a new, non-natural risk,” Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist and biodefence expert at Rutgers University, told Nature.
But Baric and others argued the study’s importance. “[The results] move this virus from a candidate emerging pathogen to a clear and present danger,” Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance, which samples viruses from animals and people in emerging-diseases hotspots across the globe, told Nature.

An update on Peter Daszak is at https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02473-4 He says the recent suspension of his US funding following pressure from Trump harms efforts to prevent the next pandemic.

Harry Marks wrote:
Okay, but why would they want to create a more lethal strain? Just to try stuff against it? Just to add it to a library of functions available to bioweapons creators? This just looks a little paranoid to me.
As the ethics paper from 2016 said, the purpose is to improve understanding. It reminds me of the Sorceror’s Apprentice. Image
Harry Marks wrote:
So the idea is that they just try things to see what emerges? Well, yes, I would have some ethical concerns about that.
The trouble is that this is the impression given to a non-expert reader. I hope the experts are able to justify their work, but the interview I linked with Daszak does not fill me with confidence.
Harry Marks wrote:
[The Wuhan Institute of Virology has refused to release the lab notebooks of its researchers]. This strikes me as the most important issue to take on. What are they hiding. And which of our people knew about what they might be hiding? But again, it sounds like the CIA is going to bottle up whatever is found out, which may be why the doctors are refusing to release their notebooks.
Wouldn’t it be great if this could be explained through a transparent public enquiry? https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus ... igins.html says
Quote:
"In 2018, after scientist diplomats from the U.S. embassy in Beijing visited the WIV, they were so concerned by the lack of safety and management at the lab that the diplomats sent two official warnings back to the U.S. One of the official cables, obtained by The Washington Post, suggested that the lab's work on bat coronaviruses with the potential for human transmission could risk causing a new SARS-like pandemic, Post columnist Josh Rogin wrote. "During interactions with scientists at the WIV laboratory, they noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory," the officials said in their cable dated to Jan. 19, 2018.
Harry Marks wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:
The SARS‐CoV‐2 could not be intentionally engineered, but it could well be selected for
I did not catch the reason for this. Sirotkin next suggests that nasty functions might have been mimicked from HIV virology. So what makes us think it was not engineered? Seems like an important issue.
This distinction between intention and selection arises from the serial passage method. First a gain of function is genetically engineered, and then this superbug is artificially evolved (selected for) by infecting an animal such as a civet or ferret or mink, then getting bugs from that sick animal and infecting another one, in a serial chain. The final Frankenbug will clearly be something that could not by itself be manufactured, as has been abundantly stated by virologists claiming this shows it was natural. But the serial passage method enables researchers to mimic nature, even while building upon something artificial.
Harry Marks wrote:
don't we need some kind of larger framework that would both increase transparency and focus research on pathways that give the highest prospects of value with the lowest attendant risk of pandemics? We are literally talking about trillions of dollars of damage done in 2020. Isn't that worth doing some advance planning out in the public eye?

That is a key point, that pandemic research needs much stronger public accountability. It would be good if influential organs like the New York Times or Nature could extend just a bit more respect toward such legitimate public concerns, without automatically taking the side of researchers who face at least some reasonable suspicion regarding conflict of interest.


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Post Re: Coronavirus
Robert Tulip wrote:
An update on Peter Daszak is at https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02473-4 He says the recent suspension of his US funding following pressure from Trump harms efforts to prevent the next pandemic.
That's the part that got the real Wow from me. We knew Trump is viscerally opposed to anything that smacks of accountability, but this makes him flat-out pro-pandemic.

Robert Tulip wrote:
One of the official cables, obtained by The Washington Post, suggested that the lab's work on bat coronaviruses with the potential for human transmission could risk causing a new SARS-like pandemic, Post columnist Josh Rogin wrote. "During interactions with scientists at the WIV laboratory, they noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory," the officials said in their cable dated to Jan. 19, 2018.
This is also serious stuff. Sounds like there needs to be an equivalent of the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect and monitor all such efforts "to improve human understanding." As I said, trillions of dollars when sloppy lab work causes a big Uh-Oh.

Robert Tulip wrote:
This distinction between intention and selection arises from the serial passage method. First a gain of function is genetically engineered, and then this superbug is artificially evolved (selected for) by infecting an animal such as a civet or ferret or mink, then getting bugs from that sick animal and infecting another one, in a serial chain. The final Frankenbug will clearly be something that could not by itself be manufactured, as has been abundantly stated by virologists claiming this shows it was natural. But the serial passage method enables researchers to mimic nature, even while building upon something artificial.

Thanks for clarifying. But now I am on to the next question: is serial passage used for some other purpose, or just to disguise the original tampering? Because any method designed only to obfuscate should be straight-up banned.

Robert Tulip wrote:
That is a key point, that pandemic research needs much stronger public accountability. It would be good if influential organs like the New York Times or Nature could extend just a bit more respect toward such legitimate public concerns, without automatically taking the side of researchers who face at least some reasonable suspicion regarding conflict of interest.

I think you have made a good case that the scientists need oversight to help keep them away from a rut of motivated reasoning. It almost sounds like we need to sponsor an office of Devil's Advocate to play roles similar to Lomborg or Jeremy Rifkin (remember him?) to probe for weaknesses in the consensus. I kind of shudder at the prospect of it all becoming political, but evidently the alternative can be even worse.



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Post Re: Coronavirus
Ant wrote:
Its significance is that if most positives are actually of no consequence because the amount is so negligible, draconian social measures might be doing more harm than the disease itself.

Most people dismissive of this are in some way living a more privileged life than people that have lost jobs and their businesses because of draconian lockdown measures.


I agree completely.



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Post Re: Coronavirus
Harry Marks wrote:
We knew Trump is viscerally opposed to anything that smacks of accountability, but this makes him flat-out pro-pandemic.
This illustrates just how complex this topic is for non experts to understand. The issue here is that this American non-profit, the EcoHealth Alliance, was working with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) to make virulent bat-derived viruses. It is understandable that Trump reacted against that work. However, Daszak maintains his work is entirely honourable and beneficial, aimed at pandemic prevention. It is just impossible to tell if this is true.
Harry Marks wrote:
This is also serious stuff. Sounds like there needs to be an equivalent of the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect and monitor all such efforts "to improve human understanding." As I said, trillions of dollars when sloppy lab work causes a big Uh-Oh.

A July article in the prestigious journal Science provides statements from the Wuhan Bat virologist Shi Zhengli that WIV did no work on the Covid virus, extending the argument that all the work in collecting bat viruses was aimed at preventing and understanding their risks. Indeed, Dr Shi warned a few years ago of the high risk of a new bat virus pandemic. Sound as her personal motives may be, many will find it hard to avoid suspicions arising from the series of coincidences involving Wuhan, which is both the main global centre of bat virus research and the place where a virulent bat virus started the pandemic. The idea that interested scientists might close ranks can’t just be dismissed, unlikely as it seems.
Harry Marks wrote:
is serial passage used for some other purpose, or just to disguise the original tampering? Because any method designed only to obfuscate should be straight-up banned.
Wikipedia has an extensive article on serial passage - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_passage. It explains that this method is a primary technique in making vaccines, dating back to Pasteur’s work on rabies and cholera. Serial passage can make a bacteria or virus stronger or weaker depending on the methods employed. Attenuation, producing a weak strain that will not cause illness but will confer immunity, is a primary vaccine production method that has been achieved through serial passage, while making viruses stronger helps to define their characteristics. The speculation about Covid looks less benign, since the serial passage would have strengthened it while concealing its origins.
Harry Marks wrote:
I think you have made a good case that the scientists need oversight to help keep them away from a rut of motivated reasoning. It almost sounds like we need to sponsor an office of Devil's Advocate to play roles similar to Lomborg or Jeremy Rifkin (remember him?) to probe for weaknesses in the consensus. I kind of shudder at the prospect of it all becoming political, but evidently the alternative can be even worse.

“Evidently” is too strong a word. There is a case for the COVID virus arising from gene tinkering, but the strong opposition of the scientific community to this claim has to be respected.


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Post Re: Coronavirus
Chris OConnor wrote:
Ant wrote:
Its significance is that if most positives are actually of no consequence because the amount is so negligible, draconian social measures might be doing more harm than the disease itself.

Most people dismissive of this are in some way living a more privileged life than people that have lost jobs and their businesses because of draconian lockdown measures.


I agree completely.

But those healthy infected are still able to pass the disease on, perhaps justifying the strict measures. I say 'perhaps' because, as Dr. Z said in the video, the response to the virus is something reasonable people can differ on, whereas asserting the virus is a hoax, is just false.

We can't forget the people who have been working all along through the virus, the essential workers, most of whom have risk of illness written into their job duties. Will we have learned to to value these workers more, i.e., pay them more and give them benefits, when the virus has passed?



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