UKC

Origins of Covid 2

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 magma 06 Oct 2021

following on from the previous thread: https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/off_belay/origins_of_covid-739118

..there have been some revealing leaks concerning the dubious bat research that US/China were involved in eg "researchers had submitted plans to release skin-penetrating nanoparticles and aerosols containing “novel chimeric spike proteins” of bat coronaviruses into cave bats in Yunnan, China"

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/09/21/wuhan-scientists-planned-releaseskin-penetrating-nanoparticles/

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2021/10/05/wuhan-us-scientists-planned-create-new-coronaviruses-funding/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10062775/US-Chinese-scientists-planning-create-brand-new-coronavirus-leaked-proposals-show.html

sources:
https://drasticresearch.org/2021/09/21/the-defuse-project-documents/


i'm interested to hear from anyone who can defend this dangerous research or can reassure me that science is more likely to save us than destroy us...

scientific research surely is in a bad state if you can no longer trust  scientific journals and the peer review process? (Daszak/Lancet/Nature etc)

In reply to magma:

2 telegraph articles, the DM and some strange website linked to a conspiracy theory group?

and you want to smash every microscope and test tube in sight?

In reply to tomsan91:

It's making the entirely valid point that gain-of-function research on viruses may not be something we wish to allow to happen because of the severe negative consequences it might present (even if it didn't in this case).

Some research is taboo, such as certain experimentation on humans, so regardless of the OP's motivations there is a point there.

Post edited at 13:41
In reply to magma:

>i'm interested to hear from anyone who can defend this dangerous research or can reassure me that science is more likely to save us than destroy us...

You can report back to your trumpian/ kremlin overlords (are they the same?) that, gain of function has some positive benefits.

Viruses are being used to deliver drugs into target cells. They are also used in gene therapy. Bacteria are being abused in similar ways. In fact, I'd hazard a guess that some of the very foods you eat have been cross bred to increase certain positive traits. Is it gain of function to make strawberries sweeter or resistant to certain pests? Or does that name only apply to things people don't really understand?

>scientific research surely is in a bad state

Well you've convinced me. All scientific research, on every topic, must be in a bad way, because science can't prove something 100%, this very moment. We've seen that science has said there is no benefit from taking <$covid drug de-jour>. And yet, some people do. Is it a failing of science, if they get ill, or are they adding to the scientific literature with their exploits in the realm of unscientific research?

I think that we all yearn for a simpler time. Once, we could be sure who gave us a virus, because it would have been that dodgy old lady, with too many cats. We haven't had a decent witch burning for ages. And there is a global pandemic. Coincidence? Lets see if the scientists can explain that one!

3/10 (points deducted for DM link). Must try harder.

 magma 06 Oct 2021
In reply to tomsan91:

you'll find more info if you are willing to download some pdfs from that strange website. looking forward to a more informed response...

 magma 06 Oct 2021
In reply to dread-i:

10/10 for straw man

 Andy Johnson 06 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

The Telegraph is not a reliable source of information.

 magma 06 Oct 2021
In reply to Andy Johnson:

that's why i included the source for you to make up your own mind!

Post edited at 14:42
 magma 06 Oct 2021
In reply to dread-i:

and 0/10 for identifying with rasta with your views when did you cut them?

In reply to magma:

Why would I want to read some papers from a site that has dubious and limited information as to its origins? Whatever the source of SARS-CoV-2  that has no reflection on the academic world I worked in for four years. In no way do academic journals push for researchers to go out of their way to public safety at risk and partake in unethical experimentation. A good example of that is the studies that have not be given the go ahead for investigating the lab leak theory of Covid because they pose a public health risk. 

The world we live in is a reflection of the pursuit of scientific advancement and achievement, for the majority of researchers limited reward is offered for a lifetime devoted to their fields. The idea of big science conspiracies in western institutions are just laughable. Don't judge the folks down at your local university by the actions of a human rights violating country like China.

 GHawksworth 06 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

You're gonna love the new bond film.

 magma 06 Oct 2021
In reply to tomsan91:

just comment on the ethics of gain of function and the field trials then? unless you are are denying this research?

 felt 06 Oct 2021
In reply to Andy Johnson:

Let's hear your thoughts on Sarah Knapton, the science editor who wrote one of the pieces cited, rather than on the often/usually dodgy paper she writes in (albeit with a good crossword puzzle). You might even want to try tackling what she wrote. Would be a bit more helpful.

In reply to magma:

Well in the US there is a ban on conducting GoF research on possible pandemic causing pathogens and the Cambridge  working group has quite a large number of academics signed up to it. So I'm not really sure what I can add to that? But I presume your insight is far more detailed than theirs? 

 magma 06 Oct 2021
In reply to tomsan91:

to clarify (no thanks to Daszak), the lab leak hypothesis never was a conspiracy theory- accidents and unethical/dangerous research happen- do you trust scientists to draw the line?

Post edited at 15:35
 magma 06 Oct 2021
In reply to tomsan91:

> Well in the US there is a ban on conducting GoF research on possible pandemic causing pathogens

that's why they exported the dubious research to China with the help of Daszak and  EcoHealth

 cb294 06 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

Not again (I would insert a vomit emoji here if I were using that stuff)

Question:

If you really were an interested lay person trying to keep up with the latest Covid research, why not post about e.g. the identification of bat coronaviruses from Laos that share long sequence stretches with early strains of human Sars-CoV-2? Their spike proteins also bind very nicely to human ACE2. Turning that into Sars-CoV-2 takes little more than cut and paste recombination in a doubly infected host.

Pretty much kills the lab leak and especially the deliberate engineering conspiracy theories stone dead, and is scary as hell if you think about the implications!

Here is a link to a reputable source, even if ahead of peer review:

https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-871965/v1

"Reader review" by me based on my training and expert knowledge says it is fine.

Answer:

You either do not have a clue at all, or are paid to disseminate covid FUD.

CB
 

edit: Just for your benefit, before I forget asking: I normally hate arguing from authority, but how many papers in Journal of Virology are on your publication list?

edit 2: This story was also widely reported in regular news outlets due to its obvious relevance for both science and politcs., I did not find it by trawling through preprint servers as part of my job. Whether it was reported in idiot publications like the DM or TG, how would I know.....

Post edited at 15:46
 cb294 06 Oct 2021
In reply to tomsan91:

> Well in the US there is a ban on conducting GoF research on possible pandemic causing pathogens

Not true, but getting permission is indeed tricky, and there has been a funding moratorium for certain types of such research, as well as a publication ban on an even smaller subset.

CB

 magma 06 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

thanks for your robust response. the sort of authority which raises doubts (seeing as we will probably never know for sure).

why hasn't this made the news?

Post edited at 15:52
 cb294 06 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

Apologies for my harsh language, but posts either accidentally or deliberately spreading covid confusion get on my nerves badly.

Please see the second edit to my post. It was definitely reported in Sueddeutsche Zeitung (I am German) and, I seem to recall, also in the Guardian. There also was a comment in Nature, the link is here (probably paywalled):

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02596-2

CB

 magma 06 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

not sure i can trust nature link if anything like your dismissals..

nearest match only 95% by dna? needs to be higher?

Post edited at 16:06
 Andy Hardy 06 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

The findings in the most prestigious peer reviewed journal on earth are not as reliable as the daily telegraph? 

I guess that tells me where to file your pronouncements...

 magma 06 Oct 2021
In reply to Andy Hardy:

added you to my straw man folder

Post edited at 16:08
 magma 06 Oct 2021
In reply to Andy Hardy:

let's hope the Lancet can move on from this debacle:

https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj.n2414

In reply to magma:

> 10/10 for straw man


You asked for examples of virus change of function, I gave them.

You made a sweeping statement about the state of scientific research. I corrected you.

You have sidestepped the science based fact about the correlation between witch burning (or lack of) and covid.

 wintertree 06 Oct 2021
In reply to dread-i:

> You asked for examples of virus change of function, I gave them.

HERV-W has had a good change of function.  A menacing virus harnessed into our own DNA and subverted to enable mammalian pregnancy?

 mondite 06 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

> you'll find more info if you are willing to download some pdfs from that strange website.

Yes because downloading pdfs with all their security flaws from random websites is such a good plan.

 magma 06 Oct 2021
In reply to dread-i:

> You asked for examples of virus change of function, I gave them.

no i didn't

> You made a sweeping statement about the state of scientific research. I corrected you.

no you didn't

> You have sidestepped the science based fact about the correlation between witch burning (or lack of) and covid.

you have yet to give any opinion on this research apart from your straw man- must do better..

Post edited at 18:42
 magma 06 Oct 2021
In reply to mondite:

nice one, but do keep on topic- is that the best you can say on the matter?..

Post edited at 18:48
 magma 06 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

"None of the BANAL isolates is a direct precursor to the pandemic virus—the genomes differ by more than 3%, which means decades of evolutionary time separate them"

 magma 06 Oct 2021

In reply:

to clarify, all i want is some other opinions (without the straw men)  . seems not many people are willing to share their thoughts, and those that do clearly have some agenda with their irrational outbursts..

In reply to magma:

Since when is posting direct responses to the points you outlined in your original post posing a strawman? Nearly all of the posters have just refuted you original points. My knowledge of complex virology and the evolution of current pathogens  in circulation is very limited but I doubt you are going to have got far in your own understanding by starting out from the point of distrusting one of the largest and most well respected journals in science. You might want to look at some of the papers both science and nature have published in the past and reconsider your opinion but it seems you have no intention of doing such and will probably continue to take the word of a group of people hiding behind fake twitter accounts as gospel while trying to force your opinion on the less scientifically literate members of the community.

 Boomer Doomer 07 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

LMAO... You must be a stranger to these parts. Seriously, what were you expecting from UKC? It an absolute den of iniq... I mean conformity. Most have been deafened by the thunderous echo.

In reply to magma:

> to clarify, all i want is some other opinions (without the straw men)  . seems not many people are willing to share their thoughts, and those that do clearly have some agenda with their irrational outbursts..

My opinion:

'virus' is getting used in the same way as 'energy' and 'quantum' by people who have no clue what it means as a placeholder word for 'scary stuff' or 'dark magic'.

I personally don't know much about viruses but I do know a fair bit about electronics and when these conspiracy theorists talk about 5G it is absolute bollocks.   They spout words when they have no f*cking idea what they mean, no idea of the physical limitations of radios, no idea about relative power levels and cherry pick sentences from documents they haven't understood to use out of context.

When professional, qualified biologists tell me what they say about viruses is also bollocks then I believe them and I am sufficiently confident in that judgement I don't feel the need to learn enough biology to form a valid opinion of my own from source documents.

In reply to magma:

>> You asked for examples of virus change of function, I gave them.

>no i didn't

"I'm interested to hear from anyone who can defend this dangerous research or can reassure me that science is more likely to save us than destroy us..."

>> You made a sweeping statement about the state of scientific research. I corrected you.

> no you didn't

"scientific research surely is in a bad state if you can no longer trust  scientific journals and the peer review process? (Daszak/Lancet/Nature etc)"

> you have yet to give any opinion on this research apart from your straw man- must do better..

A straw warlock, you mean?

Right, a topic I'm an expert on! I notice, that once again you have dodged the subject. So much for an open mind! I'd suggest that rather than being an expert on the topic, like me, you once got a gcse in biology. You've picked up some sentences from those nice chaps in St Petersburg, who do so much good work on social media. Perhaps you know this, perhaps you've yet to realise it.

As a follow up to one of the covid threads, someone (one of your aliases??) said DIOR. So I bought some perfume.

Back in the day, there were many outbreaks of a similar virus. The 'so called' doctors and scientists, were wrong (quelle surprise). Their mask mandate, was useless. (Sounds familiar?) At least they had the sense to avoid vaccines. As an offering to the great sun god, who rotates around the earth each day, London was burned down. This would have killed many witches. The virus, which had decimated the population, went away. And yet, when one suggests burning major cities to remove the risk of covid spreading witches, people think you're mad.

That makes far more scientific sense, than some of the mumbo jumbo posted about covid. And it is supported by solid historical facts.

 magma 07 Oct 2021

In reply: special investigation (Sky Australia):

youtube.com/watch?v=oh2Sj_QpZOA&

In reply to cb294:

> If you really were an interested lay person trying to keep up with the latest Covid research, why not post about e.g. the identification of bat coronaviruses from Laos that share long sequence stretches with early strains of human Sars-CoV-2? Their spike proteins also bind very nicely to human ACE2. Turning that into Sars-CoV-2 takes little more than cut and paste recombination in a doubly infected host.

> Pretty much kills the lab leak and especially the deliberate engineering conspiracy theories stone dead, and is scary as hell if you think about the implications!

I think the Institut Pasteur paper is really important, not least because it refutes earlier suggestions that, despite extensive research, no SARS-CoV-2-like virus had ever been detected in wild bat populations.  The article you linked also refers to another preprint, restating this narrative: 

"Another preprint, also posted on Research Square and not yet peer reviewed, sheds light on the work under way in China7. For that study, researchers sampled some 13,000 bats between 2016 and 2021 across China. But they did not find any close relatives of SARS-CoV-2, and conclude that these are “extremely rare in bats in China”.

But other researchers question this claim. “I strongly disagree with the suggestion that relatives of SARS-CoV-2 may not be circulating in Chinese bats, as such viruses have already been described in Yunnan,” says Holmes."

This was one of the more interesting suggestions in what I thought was a reasonably balanced Channel 4 documentary (Did Covid Leak From A Lab?).  The other was evidence that the Wuhan Institute did, indeed, keep live bats for virus experiments (which they had previously denied).  The programme also made assertions about potentially dangerous gain-of-function experiments. 

My position has always been that it was highly likely that SAR-CoV-2, with or without one or two key mutations, arose in an animal vector (presumably bats).  At some point, it became more infectious/pathogenic, either before or, more likely, after transmitting to a human host.  This has happened with lots of previous pathogens and is perfectly sufficient to account for the origin of the pandemic.

It is also possible that SARS-CoV-2, or a precursor of it, escaped from a lab in a highly populated area, having been brought from a remote rural area by researchers.  Such research was clearly being carried out in the Wuhan Institute, and it's undoubtedly true that the Chinese have been less than candid (and the unfortunate Daszak affair has certainly muddied the waters).  I haven't seen any evidence that SARS-CoV-2 was deliberately synthesised.

Actually, from a practical point of view, I don't think it matters very much at this point.  Labs need to be jolly careful when they are handling human or animal pathogens and, if that's what happened at the Wuhan Institute, they wouldn't have been the first to allow a serious escape through accident, incompetence or poor practice (the UK foot and mouth virus release, for example).  I don't think anything suggests any deliberate malign intent.  

 cb294 07 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

And? I have obviously read that sentence, too, but what does this snippet, according your DM based understanding of RNA virus evolution mean in the context of the origins of Sars-CoV-2?

Should we consider these 3% close or distant? How does this compare to, say, differences between ape and human HIV-like Lentiviruses ( a nice and well studied example of a zoonosis, unless you also believe that AIDS was cooked up by the CIA as a bioweapon years before we had the molecular biological tools to do so)?

What about the distribution of similarities along the genome sequence? Is there a plausible evolutionary trajectory connecting these viruses, Sars viruses, and their last common ancestor? Alternatively, do we have to assume genetic engineering because it looks impossible to "get there from here" by natural means?

Expert knowledge is not overrated, contrary to what many "sceptics" of established science may claim.

Watching youtube videos made by and aimed at idiots does not even closely constitute "doing your own research"!

CB

 Offwidth 07 Oct 2021
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Working on gain of function of such virus strains in a bio-security 2 area, as what happend in Wuhan (and funded partly by US research) is criminally incompetent for the researchers and has major ethical considerations for US research funding in my view. That's important irrespective of how the outbreak started.

 magma 07 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

there's a huge amount of circumstantial evidence (see above investigation) for a lab-leak and to deny it/censor it like the scientific journals did (30min+) is unscientific..

 magma 07 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

> Watching youtube videos made by and aimed at idiots does not even closely constitute "doing your own research"!

go on, give it a go- pretty please..

 magma 07 Oct 2021

In reply:

12 Sept 2019 could be significant? - when the virus database was 'deleted' and new air conditioning was ordered...

Post edited at 13:16
 magma 07 Oct 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

well said. i'd like to hear a robust rebuttal from your dislikers..

at least you have one like now

and have any of my 4 dislikers have anything more to say or have even watched it?

Post edited at 13:30
 cb294 07 Oct 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

BSL2 sounds about right for bat coronaviruses. How would you grade such work instead, and what exactly is it you think that would make raising it to BSL3 a better bet for preventing a lab leak?

I would probably be happy handling such viruses under BSL2 (even if my cell culture hood fu is a bit rusty, as I found out covering for my technician last weekend...).

CB

 magma 07 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

to clarify, what level do you recommend for GoF research? level 2?

and you still seem to be denying any idea of a lab-leak?

Post edited at 13:38
 cb294 07 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

Go on then, make a reasoned, ten bullet point argument as to why Sars-CoV2-2 is more likely to have been engineered rather than naturally evolved from related viruses found in the wild, or has at least entered the human population via a lab leak in Wuhan.

The fact that such viruses were undoubtedly handled in the Wuhan lab (which no one denies) is not a good statistical pointer for the latter claim: Clearly, many more such viruses were present in the live animals handled at the local wet market*. It is like arguing that a spill of an organic solvent like octane is likely to come from a lab, because labs indeed use octane, rather from the petrol station round thecorner.

In fact, placing such an institute working on emerging, zoonotic viral diseases in one of the regions most at risk for such emerging, zoonotic viral diseases was one of the cleverer moves by the Chinese government. This is also reflected by the international collaborations and funding.

CB

* nothing to do with sea food, FFS. It pisses me off how many reporters in supposedly serious publications get confused by that.

 magma 07 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

is it also clever to integrate this research with the Chinese bio-weapons dept?

 Offwidth 07 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

The particular gain of function work they did in Wuhan is certainly banned in the US and presumably in the EU. Congratulations on being the first expert I'm aware of who seems to think that doing such work in such low bio-security conditions is OK. The arguments made by expert critics was such work should have been in a level 4 facility if done at all. We are talking about a bat virus that had infected and killed people and was being adapted to research factors around human to human transmitabillity.

 magma 07 Oct 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

sad we still have lab-leak deniers in the scientific community;(

 cb294 07 Oct 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

AFAIA, there is no gain of function work that is banned outright except for ethical reasons (e.g. engineering modified human embryos). 

If you have a good reason you can get permission for many things, including dangerous experiments, but that permission will come with a commensurate and specific set of safety requirements.

I agree that certain experiments may require higher BSL levels, but that really depends on the specific experiment (and permissions to operate at BSL2 will only be granted with very narrow scopes).

Just working with a pathogenic virus and studying human transmission is by itself not enough to justify full BSL4 or a complete ban: Such experiments can be done in ways where working at BSL2 or 3 makes no difference, in particular with respect to the risk the virus escaping by infecting a researcher.

CB

 cb294 07 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

There are indeed valid arguments why this might be a good idea, and anyway that is not a uniquely Chinese way of organizing things.

Quiz question: Name the research instution in the US where the majority of US BSL4 work is done.

AFAIK, Russia is similar, while France and Germany organize it in a strictly civilian way.

CB

 Offwidth 07 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

We are talking about specific research now known to have been done in a specific lab, not the general case. Your views seem plain unhelpful to me given the foolish conspiracy theories circulating.

 magma 07 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

promise us you will never get into GoF research..

 cb294 07 Oct 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

Sorry to mess up the time line, but in reply to an earlier post of yours: Which gof experiment EXACTLY do you think should have been BSL4 or banned? GoF is a broad church.

CB

 cb294 07 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

Can't do, I do this all the time!

CB

 magma 07 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

bet you're chums with Daszak?

In reply to magma:

> is it also clever to integrate this research with the Chinese bio-weapons dept?

"The CCU was sometimes confused with the Microbiological Research Establishment at nearby Porton Down, a military unit with which it occasionally collaborated but was not officially connected."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Cold_Unit

Next you'll be telling us that those nice folk at Porton, who gave us VX nerve agent, were responsible for your runny nose.

Still noting on the witch front, then? I thought you were open minded on the origin. Just saying...

 Duncan Bourne 07 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

As others have said 3 news media articles and a link to a clearly biased website do not incline me to distrust Lancet/Nature/etc.

In reply to cb294:

> Quiz question: Name the research instution in the US where the majority of US BSL4 work is done.

It used to be Fort Detrick I think (I remember a discussion about where some of the vCJD work was going to be done just when it seemed to be getting scary).

 wintertree 07 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

> Such experiments can be done in ways where working at BSL2 or 3 makes no difference, in particular with respect to the risk the virus escaping by infecting a researcher.

From our cosy hindsight perch, now aware of the risk of some viruses being prone to symptom free transmission in some and health clobbering in others, perhaps there's a case for regular multi-gene PCR screening of researchers working with pandemic potential viruses.  Multi-gene to guard against a recombinant event.  This would allow for rapid identification and quarantine of the index case in the event of a researcher becoming infected, and would give public health authorities a massive head start in (a) knowing there's a potential pandemic spreading before the idea emerges from healthcare surveillance and (b) in chasing down early infectious chains.

That would seem to me to make a much bigger difference to containment than the differences between CL2 and CL3 when it comes to accidental infection of a researcher.  

Not unlike the part where one has to walk through a Geiger counter when leaving certain sites.  Even though the radiological hazard is fully contained by various safety protocols and measures, they still feel it's worth doing an independent check, and regular staff still wear dosimeters.

Then again, where is a hypothetical species jump more likely to happen, with a researcher doing whatever they do inside their negative pressure MBC, or with some poor sod trying to stuff a live bat in to a sack in a guano filled cave to take to said lab?  Or, as you said, with a wet food market...

 fmck 08 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

I read the title of this and thought jeez they have found a second, outbreak of a new virus.

 Yanis Nayu 08 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

Hell of a coincidence isn’t it? That this virus occurred naturally in bats, whose habitat spreads across the globe, right where research on this virus was carried-out? I’d love to know what the odds of that are. 

 cb294 08 Oct 2021
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Exactly, that is one of them. The other big site is Walter Reed Army Hospital and its associated Research Institute.

My point for the benefit of magma was that concentrating your high level biosafety work in military research institutions, where obviously also any research into biowarfare/biodefense will be hosted, is not a uniquely Chinese approach.

The US funding agencies supporting work in Wuhan apparently also were happy with arrangements they knew from home.

To claim that Covid 19 is more likely to be an accident of bioweapons research simply because the institute studying emerging diseases has links to a military research program is simply stupid.

CB

 magma 08 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

> To claim that Covid 19 is more likely to be an accident of bioweapons research simply because the institute studying emerging diseases has links to a military research program is simply stupid.

agreed. the guy from that strange website also agrees it that vid you wont watch -that it's far more likely to be related to accidental release from  Daszak et al's research..

Post edited at 13:43
 magma 08 Oct 2021
In reply to fmck:

> I read the title of this and thought jeez they have found a second, outbreak of a new virus.


there will be if nothing can be learned from this outbreak eg the lab-leak deniers ^

 cb294 08 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

Could I ask you to give me a technical summary of which of the experiments you mention in the starting post you object to and why? Which of these were merely included in grant proposals, and which were actually carried out.

Otherwise there is no point in discussing the risk associated with certain experiments and, separately, the likelihod that such experiments are responsible for the current pandemic.

Without technical arguments this thread will inevitably end up as "This is dangerous... No it isn't... Oh yes it is!".

Here are my 2p:

- Pseudotyping workhorse experimental viruses such as AAV or VSV with wildtype, recombinant or engineered coronavirus spike proteins to assess their ability to infect human cells in culture seems reasonably safe for a BSL2 lab.

- Pseudotyping other coronaviruses with the same proteins clearly has the potential to be more dangerous *, but still much less dangerous than running a huge wet market with hundreds of species of wild caught animals in the centre of a huge city.

- Putting the potentially more dangerous proteins on nanoparticles to see how well they stick to cells is actually ultra safe, and clearly safe enough to try this on caught bats. There are no replicating viruses involved!

- The Chinese government did not help the situation by the silencing information about the initial outbreak. Also, the decision to let travel between China and the rest of the world continue while already shutting down domestic travel and the pressure on the WHO could even be construed as an almost deliberately ploy to export the pandemic. I doubt, though, that this was an opportunistic bit of bio warfare, more likely a f*ckup because no one was prepared to lose face by admitting that there is a problem. This inlcudes both regional government vs. CPC central, and China as a country vs. the rest of the world.

-  The existence of highly related viruses in bats in Laos some 2000 km away shows that something is out there. The Chinese claim that they looked at 13k bats from China, and found no Sars-like coronaviruses, and that China therefore cannot be the source of the pandemic, is obviously a pile of propaganda shit.

- The credulity with which people buy into any wild theory, be it on vaccines or the source of the infection, while at the same time discarding scientific insight, is really depressing. Social media has ended the age of reason.

CB

* here the details of the biosafety measures become critical, and that is not my field of expertise.

Post edited at 15:07
 wintertree 08 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

>  Pseudotyping other coronaviruses with the same proteins clearly has the potential to be more dangerous *, but still much less dangerous than running a huge wet market with hundreds of species of wild caught animals in the centre of a huge city.

That's the irony of scientific research with mammals.  

In the UK (for example), if the same level of regulation, control, inspection and monitoring was suddenly applied to animal farming and meat processing as is applied to research with mammals (little ones like mice, say) a lot of farmers and farm owners would be loosing their licences and probably going to prison for the way their animals are currently treated.  

If the regulations were gradually introduced, I can't see as meat farming would be in any way viable.

Lack of moral integration between different areas is nothing new, and is after all a lynchpin of meat consumption for many.  It also crosses over to biosafety (or lack thereof).

Post edited at 15:21
In reply to cb294:

What, no mention of witches. Are you even taking this thread seriously?

@magma

What you are missing is the rather large orange elephant in the room. When Trump was in power, he had access to CIA, NSA and the entire range of US security and biomedical experts. A data gathering infrastructure, second to none. Links with universities and research establishments. All sorts of links with similar groups, in other countries and governments. And then there's the people involved, many of whom would be willing to talk about what went on, as their friends and family got ill. If there was a smoking gun, don't you think he'd have jumped up and down waving the documents. Publishing them for the world to see, as part of his trade war with China?

But here we are. Some bloke in his bedroom / cubicle in St Petersburg, knows more than the combined might of western intelligence agencies. Not to mention all the medical folk, globally, who knida have an idea about how these viruses mutate and combine.

Possibly there are millions, maybe even tens of millions of professionals, who it could be said are pretty clued up on the subject. And there is no hard evidence, at this point, to substantiate lab leak theory. But a more compelling argument might be, the sort of people who are shouting loudly about it are the same people who say Jan 6 never happened. Covid is fake news. Vaccines kill more than Covid. Global warming is not proven. Dinosaurs never existed. There is a word for people like this: 'tools'. They are being used, as a tool, to spread misinformation.

But that's not the point. The point is to get discussions going and spread division. Divide and conquer.

 cb294 08 Oct 2021
In reply to dread-i:

My favourite cartoon by the unfortunately recently deceased Martin Perscheid:

https://kekememes.de/picture/sei-dank-martin-perscheid-1966-2021-nein-sie-mussen-ihre-rmolySMt8

The subscript translates roughly as "Finally Nadine found an understanding pediatrician."

The pediatrician advises her that there is no need to have her children vaccinated.

When the next epidemic comes around we simply burn a witch!

 cb294 08 Oct 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Catch and release sports angling vs. zebrafish experiments.....

I despair!

CB

 magma 08 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

> Could I ask you to give me a technical summary of which of the experiments you mention in the starting post you object to and why? Which of these were merely included in grant proposals, and which were actually carried out.

afik the proposal for full funding for the bat cave field trials was rejected, but of course partial funding/other financial sources are available..and most researchers would explore their ideas before any funding?

but i'm more concerned with your indifference to GoF research...

Post edited at 16:23
 magma 08 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

can you declare your vested interests before we go any further/ you get be banned again?

 wintertree 08 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

> can you declare your vested interests before we go any further/ you get be banned again?

I was starting to wonder when the elephant in the room would come up.

Don't suppose you feel kindly inclined to let us all know which former poster you were?

 magma 08 Oct 2021
In reply to dread-i:

you sound like Trump with your witch refs...

 magma 08 Oct 2021
In reply to wintertree:

me got banned from posting last time i raised subject of GoF research..

 wintertree 08 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

> me got banned from posting last time i raised subject of GoF research..

I suspect you're jumping to a wrong and over-simplified conclusion from far too little evidence in assuming a specific poster had you banned over a specific topic.

Post edited at 16:49
 magma 08 Oct 2021
In reply to wintertree:

do you have any views on the matter? even ball-park figures like lab leak 10%, zoonotic 90% or somesuch?

Post edited at 17:05
 magma 08 Oct 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> I suspect you're jumping to a wrong and over-simplified conclusion from far too little evidence in assuming a specific poster had you banned over a specific topic.

let's wait to hear about his vested interests first...

surely you acknowledge the credibility of scientific journals has taken a battering with Daszak's conspiracy theory contributions?

Post edited at 17:10
In reply to magma:

What vested interests do you think they have that would be relevant to why and how you got banned? I’m struggling to think of many likely answers that would simultaneously cover pathogen research and the authority to enforce a ban on UKC.

No matter how I draw it, there’s not a lot of overlap on my Venn diagram of Rockfax and Chinese bio labs. 

 magma 08 Oct 2021
In reply to Stuart Williams:

me: promise us you will never get into GoF research..

cb294: Can't do, I do this all the time!

he also mentioned that Biolevel 2 is fine for this GoF research..

Post edited at 17:31
In reply to magma:

Yes, but I remain puzzled as to how that would give them the power to get you banned from UKC for just raising the subject? Where’s the cross-over?

It does seem more likely that your ban wasn’t just because one poster was worried about the reputation of GoF research. 

 magma 08 Oct 2021
In reply to Stuart Williams:

i may have been a bit abrupt - seem to remember it was something about him denying historical lab escapes..

 magma 08 Oct 2021
In reply to Stuart Williams:

> It does seem more likely that your ban wasn’t just because one poster was worried about the reputation of GoF research. 

maybe two is the threshold? cb and fake dread?

In reply to magma:

Ah okay. So cb294 didn’t get you banned for talking about gain of function research, you got yourself banned for being rude/abusive? That does make a lot more sense. Thanks. 

 cb294 08 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

My GoF research these days is tagging proteins in model organisms with GFP, or making dominant active versions of cancer genes, no virus work at all.

However, I did start my career in virology and have a bunch of papers in the field, so unlike you I do know what I am talking about.

CB

edit: I was obviously pulling your strings a bit, because you throw around scientific terms without knowing what they entail.

My GoF work is actually BSL1....

Also, I have asked for threads to be removed that were blatant anti vax propaganda or  covid misinformation, I cannot recall asking for users to be banned.

Your posts here instead seem to be  a bit of genuine confusion, else I would not bite!

Post edited at 18:07
 magma 08 Oct 2021
In reply to Stuart Williams:

nope. i'm never that rude unless you call fake dread rude?

happy for UKC to investigate..

Post edited at 18:10
In reply to magma:

I assumed that was what you meant when you said you were being “abrupt” when you got banned. 

Sounds like UKC did ‘investigate’, decided that you were indeed being too “abrupt” (or that you were peddling dangerous horse-shit) and banned you, which you are now unhappy about. So you clearly aren’t happy for UKC to investigate reported posts, otherwise you wouldn’t be banging on about it now. 

 magma 09 Oct 2021

In reply: interesting read : https://www.judicialwatch.org/press-releases/new-fauci-emails/

and WHO seem to be changing their tune:

The WHO source said: “If Sars-cov-2 comes from an artificial consensus sequence composed of genomes with 95 per cent similarity to each other ... I would predict that we will never find a really good match in nature and just a bunch of close matches across parts of the sequence, which so far is what we are seeing. The problem is that those opposed to a lab-leak scenario will always just say that we need to sample more ... Scientists overall are afraid of discussing the issue of the origins due to the political situation. This leaves a small and vocal minority of biased scientists free to spread misinformation.”

Post edited at 11:44
 magma 09 Oct 2021
In reply to Stuart Williams:

yes, GoF research is dangerous shit alright..

once cb reveals his vested interests he should be able to recall if he's ever reported abuse?

Post edited at 12:06
In reply to magma:

Why it would matter what their “vested interests” are (a question they have repeatedly answered for you) or whether they’ve reported you? It’s up to the site mods to decide whether to do anything about a reported thread or post.

Surely you should be be pursuing what vested interests UKC and Rockfax have in this research? It’s them that decided to ban you.

Of course, if you started wailing about UKC being involved in Chinese bio research you’d probably be forced to admit to yourself that you are being a bit of a tit.

Post edited at 12:50
In reply to magma:

> yes, GoF research is dangerous shit alright..

That's like saying recombinant DNA technology is dangerous shit or that chemistry is dangerous shit.  It's a technique.  How dangerous it is depends on what is being done, and why. 

In reply to magma:

So's this

https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-871965/v1

With the novel viruses here described, the pool of sequences found in Rhinolopus spp. allows the reconstitution of a genome sufficiently close to that of SARS-CoV-2 without the need to hypothesize recombination or natural selection for increased RBD affinity for hACE2 in an intermediate host before spillover38, nor natural selection in humans following spillover39. However, we found no furin site in any of these viruses on sequences determined from original fecal swab samples, devoid of any bias associated with counterselection of the furin site by amplification in Vero cells16. Lack of furin cleavage may be explained by insufficient sampling in bats, or by acquisition of the furin cleavage site through passages of the virus in an alternate host or during an early poorly symptomatic unreported circulation in humans. Finally, where these intergenomic recombinations arose and the epidemiological link with the first human cases remains to be established.

As expected from the high affinity for ACE2 of the S ectodomain of the BANAL-236, pseudoviruses expressing it were able to enter efficiently human cells expressing hACE2 using an ACE2-dependent pathway. Entry was blocked by a serum neutralizing SARS-CoV-2. The RaTG13 strain, the closest to SARS-CoV-2 known before, had never been isolated. In contrast, preliminary studies show that BANAL-236 replicated in primate VeroE6 cells with a small plaque phenotype compared to SARS-CoV-2.  Further analysis may indicate more clearly whether post-entry steps also shape infectivity.

To conclude, our results pinpoint the presence of new bat sarbecoviruses that seem to have the same potential for infecting humans as early strains of SARS-CoV-2. People working in caves, such as guano collectors, or certain ascetic religious communities who spend time in or very close to caves, as well as tourists who visit the caves, are particularly at risk of being exposed. Further investigations are needed to assess if such exposed populations have been infected by one of these viruses, if these infections are associated with symptoms, and whether they could confer protection against subsequent SARS-CoV-2 infections. In this context, it is noteworthy that SARS-CoV-2 with the furin site deleted replicates in hamsters and in transgenic mice expressing hACE2, but leads to ablated disease while protecting from rechallenge with wild-type SARS-CoV-216.

 cb294 10 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

You really have no idea of what gain of function molecular genetics entails.

I could easily design GoF as well as loss of function experiments that are highly dangerous, unethical, or both. It really is only a technical classification, and I could just as well list experiments of either type that are informative, ethical, and above all safe. Don't get hung up on that term, but specifiy precisely which experiment in particular you think is dangerous, I will do my best to look up that experiment and give an appraisal that is hopefully understable in lay terms.

Also again, I have very likely never asked the mods for the deletion of one of your previous profiles. I did, however, repeatedly ask for the removal of specific threads where someone (possibly at some point one of your former incarnations) peddled dangerous vaccine desinformation.

I also always reply to a poster informing them that I would report their posts before contacting the mods.

CB

In reply to magma:

> nope. i'm never that rude unless you call fake dread rude?

> happy for UKC to investigate..


Well, you're the one calling people names. If I've upset you, with my relentless pursuit of truth, that makes me sad. You started this threat with high hopes, that some cut and paste phrases would destroy western science, and that hasn't happened.

I see this as a ground work exercise. Like saying voting machines or mail in ballots cant be trusted, ahead of of a critical vote. We all do it. I probably cant climb that route, as I'm still tired from that one I did earlier. I cant get a good time in that race, as I have a niggle. Float the ideas beforehand, then call on them when required to deflect attention. Create another narrative, to sew confusion.

I don't think you've been able to convince anyone on this thread that you really know what you're talking about when it comes to virology, biology, witch finding or bio security and ethics. But that's not to say it hasn't been informative.

 magma 11 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

> You really have no idea of what gain of function molecular genetics entails.

unhelpful

> ..but specifiy precisely which experiment in particular you think is dangerous, I will do my best to look up that experiment and give an appraisal that is hopefully understable in lay terms.

see any of the experiments listed in my links above..

>  I did, however, repeatedly ask for the removal of specific threads where someone (possibly at some point one of your former incarnations) peddled dangerous vaccine desinformation.

thought as much- this was when social media/youtube (driven by Daszak et als Lancet letter etc) were censoring the lab leak as a conspiracy theory. why haven't you censored me this time?

as i am open to all views, may i recommend this podcast with Stuart Neil (laughs aplenty- usu after setting up strawmen and mocking conspiracy theorists but even he acknowledges  DRASTIC as a valuable information source...

https://twitter.com/GurusPod

Post edited at 13:57
 magma 11 Oct 2021
In reply to dread-i:

have you given your credentials/vested interests/bias yet

can i call you science truther without offending? (dread-i  cultural appropriation or wot?)

trouble is that the evidence for a lab leak has disappeared -we will never know - so only option is a relentless search for a similar match in nature and more research that has yet to be justified outside 'the vocal minority of biased scientists'

Post edited at 14:47
 wintertree 11 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

> have you given your credentials/vested interests/bias yet

You keep asking people questions like this, but you have disclosed neither your previous identity or identities on this site, nor any vested interests you have.

I've declared my interests a couple of times in discussions with other accounts which I also presume to be other people than you.  They never answered...

 magma 11 Oct 2021
In reply to wintertree:

i also have a scientific background but the vocal minority of 'experts' that don't declare their vested interests/censor people/ deny lab leak makes one suspicious- not very scientific for a start..

Post edited at 15:18
 cb294 11 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

I disagree, pointing out that you do not know what you are talking about is helpful because it focusses the discussion.

"any of the experiments listed" is not good enough, in fact I have already adressed some of the points you appear to be worried about, e.g. about pseudotyping repeatedly in my previous posts. If you think that this is a dangerous GoF experiment, why do you not comment on that? My suspicion is that you have picked up a "GoF Baaad" idea somewhere, but did not even spot it when I claimed that a specific GoF experiment (e.g. sticking edited CV spike proteins on bog standard lab viruses) was safe at BSL2.

My offer to you was therefore that you pick one specific experiment, and I go over it in detail explaining what the risks are in my (semi)professional opinion.

Indeed there are some suggested experiments that were rejected for reasons I agree with. However, the fact that some (suggested) experiments include gof work is by itself no a valid argument.

Also, "Lab leak" is not a real theory (which requires evidence) and was politicized from the beginning. There is much to be criticized about the handling of the start of the pandemic by the Chinese government, but there is absolutely no evidence for a lab leak. There was one famous biologist speculating that the unusual codon usage in the SarsCov2 spike pointed at somebody just picking random codons when designing the virus, but missing that Sars classic and several bat viruses carry the same unusal signature. This was spectacularly unhelpful.

The Trump government next even went as far as accusing China of synthesizing SarsCoV2 as a bioweapon to disrupt democratic societies who would have more trouble bringing such a virus under control, but this is just as spurious as the Russian fake news accusing the USA of cooking up HIV. This was highly succesful even in pre social media times, I despair when I think about how much traction that crap would have gained today.

In contrast, "it came from the wild" is a good theory, as papers/preprints such as the one I and then Dave Garnett linked to demonstrate (that this is just a preprint does not matter for me, as I know the subject and can make my own personal peer review): All the ingredients you need to cut and paste yourself an early SarsCoV2 genome have been found in the wild, there is no need (and little chance) to find that individual bat where recombination occured and which then went on to infect the first human.

The reason I engage here is that you seem to be simply wrong (not necessarily pushing an agenda) and that the true origins of the pandemic have no immediate consequences for dealing with it. Also, I have enough time to do so, and even if I have little hope of convincing you, others may find my comments interesting.

False claims about the dangers of vaccines or the benefits of anti malaria medication are different, as they can really damage people falling for such lies, and undermine the society wide efforts to control the pandemic.

Anyway, I have no idea and don't care who you were previously, and whether I reported your post specifically. There was such an avalanche of crap by multiple posters (or at least multiple accounts) that I was unwilling to keep track. You would know, however, since I never reported someone's post without telling them first.

CB

edited to credit DG for his post above

Post edited at 15:18
 magma 11 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

this is the sort of 'dangerous horseshit' i was posting when you called the censors:

youtube.com/watch?v=TzEi1K-jmDA&

 cb294 11 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

Also, I find your fixation about my"vested interests" rather funny. I imagine you thinking about me as some Dr. Evil like character sitting is some "lair" rather than some bog standard uni office, feverishly plotting away....

Sorry to disappoint, but I have no financial gain to make from suppressing THE TRUTH. Also, I do not even wear a lab coat, which would be de rigeur for a proper mad scientist.

I do, however, have an interest in getting vaccination rates up, and keeping other anti corona measures in place. I really do want my life back, and a little piece of tissue paper in front of my face is a small price to pay!

CB

 wintertree 11 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

> this is the sort of 'dangerous horseshit' i was posting when you called the censors:

Do you not think that this is a discussion you need to be having with the site owners, and not with other posters who you - almost certainly wrongly - assume are behind your past ban(s)?

Whining about it like a petulant little brat on here isn't a good look, and nor is it necessary given that you can just keep skulking back under new accounts.

 magma 11 Oct 2021
In reply to cb294:

best way to shut me up is to address concerns of the reasonable people in the discussion ^ - or even just acknowledge the possibility of a lab accident...

 magma 11 Oct 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> > this is the sort of 'dangerous horseshit' i was posting when you called the censors:

> Do you not think that this is a discussion you need to be having with the site owners, and not with other posters who you - almost certainly wrongly - assume are behind your past ban(s)?

> Whining about it like a petulant little brat on here isn't a good look, and nor is it necessary given that you can just keep skulking back under new accounts.

not a good look mr tree- try a reasoned discussion as in my last link..

 magma 11 Oct 2021
In reply to wintertree:

do keep up- cb censored me coz he (like social media) regarded my discussion of gain of function research and lab leaks as dangerous misinformation- compute that..

Post edited at 15:59
 wintertree 11 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

> do keep up- cb banned me coz he regarded my discussion of gain of function research a misinformation- compute that..

I'm keeping up just fine.  I'm concerned that you're not.

The site owners banned you for reasons that haven't been shared with us, and apparently haven't been shared with you - I believe the expectation is for the banned poster to contact them and enquire...

Which I suggest you do, rather than derailing your own threads with this petulant, misinformed and misdirected whining.

 mondite 11 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

> do keep up- cb banned me coz he regarded my discussion of gain of function research a misinformation- compute that..


cb banned you? Surely if they did have that power then why have they been trying to engage with you rather than simply banning you again?

 magma 11 Oct 2021
In reply to wintertree:

cb has admitted he was reporting 'misinformation' when he shut down my previous GoF research discussion

what's your excuse for not contributing anything?

Post edited at 16:17
 magma 11 Oct 2021
In reply to mondite:

> Surely if they did have that power then why have they been trying to engage with you rather than simply banning you again?

i think i'm safe now - utube hasn't banned this yet..

youtube.com/watch?v=oh2Sj_QpZOA&

Post edited at 16:25
 magma 11 Oct 2021
In reply to DB:

DRASTIC links and Fauci emails ^^. please don't call them dodgy until you've at least read them..

In reply to magma:

> once cb reveals his vested interests

So, what are your vested interests...?

 mondite 11 Oct 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

> So, what are your vested interests...?


That they are engaged in LoF experiments. When I look at some of their links I feel my IQ dropping.

In reply to magma:

>have you given your credentials/vested interests/bias yet

O-level biology and NVQ level 2 in witch finding. I dress to the left.

>can i call you science truther without offending? (dread-i  cultural appropriation or wot?)

You can call me what you want. I wont be offended. As for cultural appropriation, I have apologised to George Lucas for the bad pun. Or perhaps that's a ruse. I did some searching on me and I found, I had actually stolen it from the god botherers. This seems very apt. https://tinyurl.com/ymt2zctd

As long as you don't connect it to d&d, my secret is safe.

>trouble is that the evidence for a lab leak has disappeared -we will never know

Doesn't that undermine your argument, somewhat?

A bit like the World Trade centers were brought down by controlled explosion. But we will never know for sure. The world was created by the FSM. The evidence is obscure, but forward thinking scientists are investigating.

>so only option is a relentless search for a similar match in nature and more research that has yet to be justified outside 'the vocal minority of biased scientists'

I think that the Higgs Boson and her noodly appendage are one and the same. However, I cant get access to a particle accelerator. The orthodox view of quantum mechanics says that the FSM should never exist and we're meant to just accept that without question.

 Duncan Bourne 11 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

I make a point of not reading links to websites that look like they have been made by conspiracy theorists.

Especially when the person posting the links can't even give an overview of the argument the links are making and says "Hey don't believe the main science papers believe these websites that look like they contain faked info"

However in the interest of science I took a look at few of the downloads and decided they looked fake. In short I see nothing to bother wasting my time upon

Post edited at 17:14
 Andy Hardy 11 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

As one of the sheeple I'm regularly instructed to "conduct my own research". Which labs would you recommend me to try?

 wintertree 11 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

> what's your excuse for not contributing anything?

My comments on the issue remain accessible from the "Search" function on my user profile. 

Because I'm not hiding behind a new identity and refusing to divulge my previous identity or identities.

 magma 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

thanks for your input based on your limited research and obvious bias..

 magma 11 Oct 2021
In reply to wintertree:

any comments on this thread related to subject in question is welcome to save me searching through your overwhelming input on other matters..

 magma 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> As one of the sheeple I'm regularly instructed to "conduct my own research". Which labs would you recommend me to try?

Wuhan would be the obvious choice-they know the most about this research. shame we'll never know eh?

 magma 11 Oct 2021
In reply to wintertree:

go on, why not give us your thoughts - can't find anything in your extensive archive on GoF research ethics

or if not too demanding, just say something like lab leak 10% natural 90% for the record (error margins welcome) just to give us some sort of an indication on what you may possibly think?

Post edited at 19:18
 Duncan Bourne 11 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

Whatever. It isn't as if we are discussing anything. No points to explore

Post edited at 19:34
 wintertree 11 Oct 2021
In reply to magma:

So you're not going to disclose your past identities on here?  I take it that you're not a massive hypocrite so you won't be asking for any more disclosures until you play your part.

> can't find anything in your extensive archive on GoF research ethics

I've commented in several threads on the lab leak theories.  

> or if not too demanding, just say something like lab leak 10% natural 90% for the record 

You are conflating  the origin of the virus (natural vs GoF) and (zoonotic event vs lab leak) for the start of the pandemic phase here.  You seem confused.

I think the paper linked up thread is compelling on the origin question.  In terms of the start of the pandemic phase, I doubt we'll ever know for certain.

 magma 12:48 Wed

In reply: for those who haven't read Daszak's grant proposals/unwilling to download the (verified) pdf, here's a summary: https://theintercept.com/2021/09/23/coronavirus-research-grant-darpa/

includes correction to telegraph article:

The Telegraph story erroneously reported that the scientists proposed to inoculate bats with live viruses. In fact, they hoped to inoculate them with chimeric S proteins, which were proposed to be developed through a subcontract in the grant in Ralph Baric’s lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, not in Wuhan. Baric did not respond to The Intercept’s request for comment.

ie doing this sort of research with bats in the field:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2267761/

Post edited at 13:12
 cb294 12:57 Wed
In reply to magma:

I have seen that report before, and would summarize it as an absolute non story.  Nothing to be seen here.

Which specific planned or performed experiment referred to in this link worries you in particular? Which specific observation referred to supports the idea that the jump to humans happened after cultivation, never mind editing, of some bat virus in the lab?

CB

 magma 13:30 Wed
 magma 13:51 Wed
In reply to cb294:

i think the onus is on you to justify the grant proposal.

“Let’s look at the big picture: A novel SARS coronavirus emerges in Wuhan with a novel cleavage site in it. We now have evidence that, in early 2018, they had pitched inserting novel cleavage sites into novel SARS-related viruses in their lab,” said Chan. “This definitely tips the scales for me. And I think it should do that for many other scientists too.”

In reply to magma:

Interestingly researchers from the Pasteur institue have found bats in caves in Northern Laos infected with a virus that is almost identical to the COVID virus. (at 16.33)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000zv3t

So looking at the big picture a novel coronavirus that could have come from a lab also arises in nature. Just to be clear I am not saying that COVID didn't come from a lab just that we have no clear evidence that it did. Suposition is not evidence

 magma 14:33 Wed
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

'almost identical' in this case isn't anywhere near close enough- far more identical to natural viruses..

'literally a *single* amino acid away from having a furin cleavage site'

https://twitter.com/MichaelWorobey/status/1444058037262553088

Post edited at 14:35
 cb294 14:45 Wed
In reply to magma:

There is no onus on me at all. 

FFS, even if you get your info exclusively from twitter or other social media, just summarize the arguments raised there and give us your own reasoning as to why you find them compelling (and hence, why we should believe them, too).

Merely linking to twitter, conspiracy websites, or cutting and pasting other stuff out of context is getting tedious.

I have outlined my reasoning why I find a lab leak unlikely several times, and could, if requested, back up every individual step of the argument.

Since I do, sadly, not possess the superpower of banning users for deliberately acting dumb I am out of this thread.

If anyone is not yet bored witless and wants to start a thread with a proper scientific discussion instead of this brain dead conspiracy shit I am happy to join.

CB

 magma 14:53 Wed
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> So looking at the big picture a novel coronavirus that could have come from a lab also arises in nature. Just to be clear I am not saying that COVID didn't come from a lab just that we have no clear evidence that it did.

i'm going with no close enough match ever being found in nature- by design..

also to address the US concerns re  GoF: the authors of the grant proposal make the case that because the scientists would be using SARS-related bat viruses, as opposed to the SARS virus that was known to infect humans, the research was exempt from “gain-of-function concerns

Post edited at 15:08
 mondite 15:00 Wed
In reply to magma:

> i'm going with no close enough match ever being found in nature- by design..

eh why not? I mean if I was covering stuff up I would make sure I released it somewhere suitable to get it into nature since after all its out there anyway.

 magma 15:14 Wed
In reply to dread-i:

joke as much as you like, but if you don't even acknowledge the potential dangers of this research, then my joking is over..

 magma 15:33 Wed
In reply to mondite:

to clarify- 'by design' may just have been a way of overcoming US GoF restrictions rather than the strawman you are attempting...

 mondite 15:35 Wed
In reply to magma:

> to clarify- 'by design' may just have been a way of overcoming US GoF restrictions rather than the strawman you are attempting...

I bow down to your expertise in strawmen. Although of course my point does apply to any of the claims that there is no evidence in nature. Personally I would have made damn sure there was if I was the Chinese government and one of my labs messed up.

In reply to magma:

> joke as much as you like, but if you don't even acknowledge the potential dangers of this research, then my joking is over..

Does that mean you'll stop spouting this nonsense?

You have kinda shot down your own argument with what you said earlier:

>>trouble is that the evidence for a lab leak has disappeared -we will never know

So you dont really understand the details, you dont believe it and you cant prove it. I'm wondering what's the point of all this posting. Its like a one armed man, with a blindfold, fighting a ring full of boxers. Its tragic, but compelling and funny at the same time.

You've cut and pasted all sorts of things with the idea of 'do your own research'. You've communicated with well qualified people on here who do actually do the research. Yet, you continue to stumble along, when corrected by those with a more intimate knowledge of the topic. You call people names, suggest that they are hiding some agenda or bias. You attempt to undermine their character, whist hiding yours. You've admitted to being banned for posting similar, but you wont give details, instead blaming other(s) for your misfortune. Its not a good look.

The reason why people engage, is that we've seen this before on several topics. Social media amplification is a big thing. It's called viral marketing, or propaganda, depending on where you sit. But the interesting thing is that by engaging, you're not actually spreading this information. You've crashed and burned so many times that you've lost credibility.  Next time one of your colleagues pops up on here, we've been primed. Like having a vaccine, to prevent a virus. (See what I did there?)

And you still haven't answered the question about witches.

In reply to magma:

I don't think we have enough information to make a judgement either way

In reply to magma:

Not quite sure what you are driving at here. Are you saying that nature couldn't reproduce the COVID virus or that there is an identical lab virus?

Twitter is where facts go to die so I don't even count it as evidence

In reply to cb294:

> There is no onus on me at all. 

> FFS, even if you get your info exclusively from twitter or other social media, just summarize the arguments raised there and give us your own reasoning as to why you find them compelling (and hence, why we should believe them, too).

> Merely linking to twitter, conspiracy websites, or cutting and pasting other stuff out of context is getting tedious.

I agree. This is kind of my thinking.

1.Just outline your argument,

2. provide links that support that argument and summerise what they say. by support the argument I mean links to genuine research or constructive commentry thereof - links to twitter, D Wail, Telegraph etc. are only precursors to an argument not proof. A valid website should not be a cut and paste job that includes the immortal lines "A big thanks to anonymous whistleblowers around the world who help to expose and confound our enemies." It kind of indicates a strong bias and a lack of open mindedness.

3. Having raised a point don't jump to a kneejerk conclusion like "science is in a bad state" based on one single aspect of research

 magma 16:08 Wed
In reply to mondite:

to clarify, i don't deny circumstantial evidence from nature ( unlike some people about lab leak evidence)

 magma 16:10 Wed
In reply to cb294:

you do realise that one of my twitter links ^ that you disliked was giving your side of the argument? LOL

maybe you could unpack his logic for me?

https://twitter.com/MichaelWorobey/status/1444058037262553088

Post edited at 16:25
 magma 16:23 Wed
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

'do your own research', but be wary of the strawmen/deniers/biased scientists on this issue- good examples on this thread..

In reply to mondite:

> I bow down to your expertise in strawmen. Although of course my point does apply to any of the claims that there is no evidence in nature. Personally I would have made damn sure there was if I was the Chinese government and one of my labs messed up.

Or just block investigators from visiting Chinese caves etc.. if you can't sample covid in the wild, you can't dis/prove the original source. 

We'll never know with any certainty the source, be it natural, lab leak, accidentally or otherwise etc.. better to work on preventing all possible options in the future. Labs, wet markets, dubious governments... 

In reply to magma:

> 'literally a *single* amino acid away from having a furin cleavage site'

Maybe it would be helpful to the rest of us if you could explain what you think a furin cleavage site is, why it occurs in so many viral proteins and how it might arise.

In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Maybe it would be helpful to the rest of us if you could explain what you think a furin cleavage site is, why it occurs in so many viral proteins and how it might arise.

I'm not sure googling furry cleavage is wise...  can you imagine the side banner ads that'll start appearing. 

 magma 16:41 Wed
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> 3. Having raised a point don't jump to a kneejerk conclusion like "science is in a bad state" based on one single aspect of research

i'll give you that one-  regretted that as it attracts the strawmen arguments. probably less controversial to start a thread about 'institutional racism in science'?.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-58795079

Post edited at 16:56
 magma 16:52 Wed
In reply to summo:

joking aside, are you good with the censorship regarding discussion on this research? (as evidenced on this thread)

 mondite 17:01 Wed
In reply to magma:

> joking aside, are you good with the censorship regarding discussion on this research? (as evidenced on this thread)

What censorship?

 mondite 17:03 Wed
In reply to summo:

> Or just block investigators from visiting Chinese caves etc.. if you can't sample covid in the wild, you can't dis/prove the original source. 

True.

> We'll never know with any certainty the source, be it natural, lab leak, accidentally or otherwise etc.. better to work on preventing all possible options in the future.

Yup with the key thing being trying to get decent independent reporting structures into each country so if an outbreak happens everyone is working with the best information as soon as possible.

 magma 17:08 Wed
In reply to mondite:

breaking news- GoF researcher admits censoring UKC thread about GoF research (misinformation) during Covid outbreak on UKC- see ^

Post edited at 17:12
 magma 17:21 Wed
In reply to dread-i:

lame dread- if that's the best you can do on this ethical subject, i'll leave it there with you..

 magma 17:39 Wed
In reply to Dave Garnett:

good point- presumably the engineered virus backbone with added furin cleavage sites were being tested on mice.. so a mouse bite or poor biosafety can't be ruled out..a mouse could be the elephant in the room?

Post edited at 17:52
In reply to magma:

> joking aside, are you good with the censorship regarding discussion on this research? (as evidenced on this thread)

It's a climbing forum, not the peer review panel of the new scientist. 

 magma 17:48 Wed
In reply to summo:

all the more worrying..

In reply to magma:

> all the more worrying..

Or irrelevant. Perhaps you'd be better chatting amongst your biologist, virologist... work colleagues? It's that or the likes of Craig Murray. 

In reply to magma:

> good point- presumably the engineered virus backbone with added furin cleavage sites were being tested on mice.. so a mouse bite or poor biosafety can't be ruled out..a mouse could be the elephant in the room?

From which non sequitur I gather you don’t actually know what a furin cleavage site is or what it’s significance might be.

 mondite 23:24 Wed
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> From which non sequitur I gather you don’t actually know what a furin cleavage site is or what it’s significance might be.

geez you dont expect youtube videos about how science is bad to go into that kind of detail do you? Its something to watch and get outraged over not get educated.

 wercat 08:52 Thu
In reply to mondite:

I'm looking forward to "Philomena Cunk does Science" ...

In reply to magma:

> so a mouse bite or poor biosafety can't be ruled out..

Good job it wasn't a mouse with Rage Virus.

In reply to magma:

> to clarify, i don't deny circumstantial evidence from nature ( unlike some people about lab leak evidence)

To help you out on the furin cleavage thing, here's a simple, even-handed comment in Lancet Microbe: 

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanmic/article/PIIS2666-5247(21)00174-9/fulltext

It doesn't address the arguments about specific codon usage and how many cumulative point mutations might be required to get to the earliest SARS-CoV-2 isolate from its closest furin cleavage site negative precursor (given that what I've read so far suggests that a simple recombination is an unlikely mechanism), but it suggest an interesting testable hypothesis for what might happen next. 

Here's the interesting bit:

So far, a viable natural origin for the SARS-CoV-2 S1–S2 site through recombination or mutation of a bat-origin virus has proved to be elusive. Of note, the S1–S2 cleavage site of SARS-CoV-2 S does not comprise the pattern found in prototypical furin cleavage sites (it is RRxR and not RxK/RR), making its origin enigmatic. One feature of the S1–S2 junction for the SARS-CoV-2 spike from the original outbreak is the presence of a leading proline residue, which might have promoted furin cleavage. As new variants emerged, the leading proline was first replaced by a histidine in B.1.1.7 and now with an arginine in variants such as B.1.617 to turn the tri-basic PRRAR|S sequence to RRRAR|S, with these cleavage site changes occurring on the background of other genomic adaptations. However, such variant cleavage sites are still not ideal for furin—as would be found in the prototype embecovirus mouse hepatitis virus (RRARR|S)—but do appear to be making S1–S2 more polybasic as the pandemic continues and transmissibility increases. We always need to remember not to oversimplify the complex process of spike protein activation; however, it will be interesting to see whether this progression of basic residue addition continues with new variants, towards that seen in established community-acquired respiratory coronaviruses such as HCoV-HKU-1 or HCoV-OC43—both embecoviruses with S1–S2 sequences of RRKRR|S and RRSRR|A, respectively.

Here's some more background, although it is from Chinese scientists so, you know...

https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S1873506120304165?token=79386863BD5E52D0D6629308CA3D64A3A94FFB0C5049158C54D21224182A4E53CCBF1FAC00C577315B4C26D67EB04EBA&originRegion=eu-west-1&originCreation=20211014080152

In reply to magma:

> lame dread- if that's the best you can do on this ethical subject, i'll leave it there with you..

You sound defeated. You've lost any semblance of being a subject matter expert. You don't appear to want to address any of the points I've raised. Or indeed any of the points others have raised. I think it's fairly obvious, you're an enthusiastic amateur and you're out of your depth. Or you've lost your performance bonus.

 Moacs 09:48 Thu
In reply to cb294:

> edit: Just for your benefit, before I forget asking: I normally hate arguing from authority, but how many papers in Journal of Virology are on your publication list?

In my case just one (though it now has 26 citations!).

And I think magma is maliciously spreading misinformation.


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