The coronavirus did not escape from a lab. Here's how we know.

Mar 21, 2020
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I still will observe and wait for more information. The fact that Wuhan has a level 4 lab in place (known since the 80s) is still troubling imho. Maybe they just had the virus intact as is and were studying it. Seems coincidental to me. But hey you guys are scientists, and you're always right. And propaganda doesn't exist. Stay calm sheep.
 
Mar 21, 2020
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This article is misleading. Most viruses held in labs are not genetically engineered and originate from natural sources. Just because this virus isn’t genetically modified does not mean the pandemic did not originate from a lab accident. I doubt we’ll ever know the truth, but the fact is, an accidental release from a lab is still plausible especially given the poor laboratory practices in China, notably selling carcasses of lab animals for consumption (!!!).

People simply do not want to believe this is possible, hence articles like this. Not exactly scientifically rigorous.
 
Mar 21, 2020
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Ok Stealth, please share how you choose to live your life. I hope it's more fulfilling than tossing around sarcasm, making yourself seem such the knowledgeable person, and labeling others with a bit of glib. Oh, and do you fancy yourself the 'wolf' in this (and every other propaganda-risk) scenario?
Sarcasm? I never said I was what you stated. I did know of the lab in the 80s, we monitored it. I merely stated a level-4 facility at the epicenter. I didn't state it was engineered. I stated it seems sketchy as heck scientists are wasting time trying to white knight for China, instead of working on a solution.
 
Jan 28, 2020
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I agree that this virus is/was not "manufactured", but the original report was that it had been isolated from animals, (specifically bats), and was one of several used in experiments on human subjects, and this was the means by which it "escaped". The story is plausible, however I do not necessarily subscribe to it at this time. Given human nature and China's record of secrecy, I doubt that the truth, (if it is even close to this), ever comes out.
 
Mar 21, 2020
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The author can't be sure that "The coronavirus did not escape from a lab." What if people got the virus from animal and research on it in lab then by some way it got out?

The only thing we're certain is this virus is not "made in lab".
 
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Mar 21, 2020
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Mar 21, 2020
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See the article at AT: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/03/the_wuhan_virus_escaped_from_a_chinese_lab.html
Nobody said (except for wild conspiracy theorists) that the virus was made in the lab. However:
1) the lab in Wuhan was working on such viruses,
2) lab workers have been caught previously selling experimental animals in the nearby “wet market” for spare cash, including bats.
3) the Wuhan “wet market” was the epicenter of the disease, as far as we can tell.
 
Feb 15, 2020
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Feb 15, 2020
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Glad that there's been an article debunking this. It's depressing how many people on the forums think that this virus was manmade.
The article doesn't "Debunk" anything. Clearly its another hype article. I'm gonna go with its natural selection until proven otherwise, but its clearly not proven to be natural selection or from a lab at this time. Another fake news article of the day.
 
Mar 3, 2020
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The source (Scripps) article says:

The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein was so effective at binding the human cells, in fact, that the scientists concluded it was the result of natural selection .... If someone were seeking to engineer a new coronavirus as a pathogen, they would have constructed it from the backbone of a virus known to cause illness ....
LiveScience adds this:

If scientists had deliberately engineered this virus, they wouldn't have chosen mutations that computer models suggest won't work.
One interpretation of these remarks is that the maker of a bioweapon would not choose a virus that could actually spread rapidly among people. That is not credible.

A better interpretation of these claims is that a weaponmaker might choose the SARS-CoV-2 virus if s/he knew of its potential, but the maker would not know of its potential because computer models would suggest that it wouldn't work. That may be. But (a) these articles give us no information on the relevant computer models, nor on the authors' expertise or research into the development of such models, and (b) there is an assumption that a weaponmaker's knowledge would be limited to what s/he could learn from computer models. There is no discussion, here, of other sources of knowledge upon which a weaponmaker could draw (e.g., unpublished research; insightful hunches; the lab notes of one's former professor or colleague).

The Scripps quote (above) seems to say that only natural selection could design a spike protein that was highly effective at binding to human cells. In this sense, the articles do not seem to explain why a lab would be incapable of developing such a design. They seem to rest upon assumptions about what a weaponmaker would do.

There does not seem to be any suggestion that a researcher would be unable to design such a virus now, given today's knowledge about how it works. In this sense, the articles seem to contend that nobody knew what was possible until it actually happened. That is an assertion about historical fact. It can be tested by means of historical research. One might begin with an investigation of the Wuhan lab's facilities and records and interviews of relevant personnel. As the source of this virus, China should be expected to permit that investigation. Its unwillingness to do so does raise a question of whether it has something to hide.

The Scripps article continues:

In one scenario, the virus evolved to its current pathogenic state through natural selection in a non-human host and then jumped to humans. This is how previous coronavirus outbreaks have emerged ....

It is difficult if not impossible to know at this point which of the scenarios is most likely.
This appears to acknowledge that a researcher may have found the virus ready-made in nature. There may be other such viruses in nature. They may never make the jump to humans without the assistance of a researcher who collects them and stores them in a lab. That may have happened at Wuhan. It seems obvious that an investigation of that lab, yielding signs of work on (or at least storage of) something like SARS-CoV-2, would help to resolve the question of which scenario was most likely.

The Scripps article says that the research "found no evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory or otherwise engineered." That is not a statement that no such evidence can be found, nor that an investigation of the Wuhan lab would find nothing.

Thus, the Scripps article does not seem to justify some of the language found in the LiveScience article. The latter appears to be politically biased. Consider, specifically, its description of the lab hypothesis as a "persistent myth," and the ridicule of this "myth" as the "escaped from evil lab theory." Such language suggests a preconceived outcome -- that Jeanna Bryner, the writer, already knew what the truth was, and was simply waiting for the Scripps study to establish her prior convictions. That is not science.

Contrary to the desires of non-science writers, science is often a matter of collecting evidence that appears to be persuasive, but that is subject to later reinterpretation in light of new information. Ridiculing and dismissing ideas that are not currently popular among one's friends seems like a good way to discourage real scientists from trying to learn things that might prove very useful in the future. LiveScience should discourage such prejudgment. The better approach would be to take a critical and thoughtful stance when reporting on such research -- to pause and reflect on what it says and, ideally, to find out (or at least be generally informed on) what persons of another viewpoint might say about it.

There are also public health and national security dimensions. Until historical research has definitely ruled out any involvement by the Wuhan lab, concern for the lives of the world's peoples should push strongly for research seeking to establish what that lab may have been doing. It does remain possible that the virus came from the lab -- that, if it was not created there, at least it was stored there. Until convincing evidence rules out that obvious possibility, the world should be very worried about future threats posed by that and other similar labs around the world. LiveScience should not be striving to undermine the safety of humanity in order to score petty zingers at the expense of real or imagined tin-hat crackpots.
 
Mar 21, 2020
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On LSE article it starts with the title:
"The coronavirus did not escape from a lab. Here's how we know."
It is not very scientific to claim to know something when most of the facts about its origins are not known and, there are other eminent scientific people who say otherwise.
 
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Feb 14, 2020
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This article is misleading. Most viruses held in labs are not genetically engineered and originate from natural sources. Just because this virus isn’t genetically modified does not mean the pandemic did not originate from a lab accident. I doubt we’ll ever know the truth, but the fact is, an accidental release from a lab is still plausible especially given the poor laboratory practices in China, notably selling carcasses of lab animals for consumption (!!!).

People simply do not want to believe this is possible, hence articles like this. Not exactly scientifically rigorous.
I am inclined to go with the article than a whole bunch of people who"just can't believe". That is the stuff that conspiracies are made of. It is one thing to not accept the proof given as not being enough, but to pedal something else with absolutely no proof or even a hint of actual evidence is even worse.

This article is misleading. Most viruses held in labs are not genetically engineered and originate from natural sources. Just because this virus isn’t genetically modified does not mean the pandemic did not originate from a lab accident. I doubt we’ll ever know the truth, but the fact is, an accidental release from a lab is still plausible especially given the poor laboratory practices in China, notably selling carcasses of lab animals for consumption (!!!).

People simply do not want to believe this is possible, hence articles like this. Not exactly scientifically rigorous.
Plausibility is simply not evidence.

THis Chinse Virus is either man-made or escaped from the lab or both. So, all of a sudden a virus just manifested itself. Tell that to the dogs and if dogs heard you say that, they probably won't believe it.
Actually, new, i.e., novel, viruses just manifest themselves quite often.

See the article at AT: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/03/the_wuhan_virus_escaped_from_a_chinese_lab.html
Nobody said (except for wild conspiracy theorists) that the virus was made in the lab. However:
1) the lab in Wuhan was working on such viruses,
2) lab workers have been caught previously selling experimental animals in the nearby “wet market” for spare cash, including bats.
3) the Wuhan “wet market” was the epicenter of the disease, as far as we can tell.
... and none of that proves anything at all, but sure does wet conspiracy nut cases whistles big time. Still waiting for some hard evidence to rear its ugly head.
 
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Mar 21, 2020
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The issue I see with this article is that it says it was not created and likely came from bats, but then failed to even address the 2015 experiment that created a hybrid version of a bat coronavirus — one related to the virus that causes SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) — which triggered renewed debate over whether engineering lab variants of viruses with possible pandemic potential is worth the risks. https://www.nature.com/news/engineered-bat-virus-stirs-debate-over-risky-research-1.18787?fbclid=IwAR0a0XDAbLn5r2oIJZCmnPSRuIvLtGl8ugyUI221sKzuuHaGoAxIdXJoZY4

 
Mar 21, 2020
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What about this: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/national-microbiology-lab-scientist-investigation-china-1.5307424

Or the article in nature which came out in 2015 in Nature:

Engineered bat virus stirs debate over risky research
Lab-made coronavirus related to SARS can infect human cells.
Editors’ note, March 2020: We are aware that this story is being used as the basis for unverified theories that the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 was engineered. There is no evidence that this is true; scientists believe that an animal is the most likely source of the coronavirus.
12 November 2015

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An experiment that created a hybrid version of a bat coronavirus — one related to the virus that causes SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) — has triggered renewed debate over whether engineering lab variants of viruses with possible pandemic potential is worth the risks.
In an article published in Nature Medicine1 on 9 November, scientists investigated a virus called SHC014, which is found in horseshoe bats in China. The researchers created a chimaeric virus, made up of a surface protein of SHC014 and the backbone of a SARS virus that had been adapted to grow in mice and to mimic human disease. The chimaera infected human airway cells — proving that the surface protein of SHC014 has the necessary structure to bind to a key receptor on the cells and to infect them. It also caused disease in mice, but did not kill them.
Although almost all coronaviruses isolated from bats have not been able to bind to the key human receptor, SHC014 is not the first that can do so. In 2013, researchers reported this ability for the first time in a different coronavirus isolated from the same bat population2.

Related stories
The findings reinforce suspicions that bat coronaviruses capable of directly infecting humans (rather than first needing to evolve in an intermediate animal host) may be more common than previously thought, the researchers say.
But other virologists question whether the information gleaned from the experiment justifies the potential risk. Although the extent of any risk is difficult to assess, Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, points out that the researchers have created a novel virus that “grows remarkably well” in human cells. “If the virus escaped, nobody could predict the trajectory,” he says.

Creation of a chimaera

The argument is essentially a rerun of the debate over whether to allow lab research that increases the virulence, ease of spread or host range of dangerous pathogens — what is known as ‘gain-of-function’ research. In October 2014, the US government imposed a moratorium on federal funding of such research on the viruses that cause SARS, influenza and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome, a deadly disease caused by a virus that sporadically jumps from camels to people).

The latest study was already under way before the US moratorium began, and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) allowed it to proceed while it was under review by the agency, says Ralph Baric, an infectious-disease researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a co-author of the study. The NIH eventually concluded that the work was not so risky as to fall under the moratorium, he says.

But Wain-Hobson disapproves of the study because, he says, it provides little benefit, and reveals little about the risk that the wild SHC014 virus in bats poses to humans.

Other experiments in the study show that the virus in wild bats would need to evolve to pose any threat to humans — a change that may never happen, although it cannot be ruled out. Baric and his team reconstructed the wild virus from its genome sequence and found that it grew poorly in human cell cultures and caused no significant disease in mice.

“The only impact of this work is the creation, in a lab, of a new, non-natural risk,” agrees Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist and biodefence expert at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey. Both Ebright and Wain-Hobson are long-standing critics of gain-of-function research.
In their paper, the study authors also concede that funders may think twice about allowing such experiments in the future. "Scientific review panels may deem similar studies building chimeric viruses based on circulating strains too risky to pursue," they write, adding that discussion is needed as to "whether these types of chimeric virus studies warrant further investigation versus the inherent risks involved”.

Useful research

But Baric and others say the research did have benefits. The study findings “move this virus from a candidate emerging pathogen to a clear and present danger”, says Peter Daszak, who co-authored the 2013 paper. Daszak is president of the EcoHealth Alliance, an international network of scientists, headquartered in New York City, that samples viruses from animals and people in emerging-diseases hotspots across the globe.

Studies testing hybrid viruses in human cell culture and animal models are limited in what they can say about the threat posed by a wild virus, Daszak agrees. But he argues that they can help indicate which pathogens should be prioritized for further research attention.

Without the experiments, says Baric, the SHC014 virus would still be seen as not a threat. Previously, scientists had believed, on the basis of molecular modelling and other studies, that it should not be able to infect human cells. The latest work shows that the virus has already overcome critical barriers, such as being able to latch onto human receptors and efficiently infect human airway cells, he says. “I don't think you can ignore that.” He plans to do further studies with the virus in non-human primates, which may yield data more relevant to humans.
Nature doi:10.1038/nature.2015.18787
 
Mar 21, 2020
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I always prefer to use logic when trying to decipher the unknown in any case. I would just like to make a few points that are absolute. Just to state my position I am undecided on this it could be either way I don't know there simply isn't enough clear information yet to make any determination.

#1 - If a virus where to be engineered with the intention of release we need to consider why such a virus would be released. In this case there would likely one of two goals which would be minimal depopulation or maximal depopulation.

#2 - There would be a number of criteria that would have to be met in order to have a good candidate for each of these two types. I will just lay out some points for a minimal mortality virus.

- Mortality highest in oldest patients
- Easily transmitted
- Rapidly spreading
- Stealthy
- Here is the most important attribute: The structure of the virus is built in a way that is indistinguishable from what would be expected to be seen in nature. The best I can compare this idea from experience comes from Doom mapping. There has been competitions whereby mappers are instructed to create a 90's style map. That is actually really hard to and do well but the winners do it in a way that their mistakes look genuine and that is very hard to do when knowingly making mistakes.

If this was created purposefully the engineers did an absolute perfect job and would relish seeing this article while basking in success. Conspiracy theories aside I am undecided however in any case just like going to trial you are innocent until proven guilty this is natural until proven otherwise by logic and hard facts of course.
 
Mar 21, 2020
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It really appears that this article is a disinformation campaign to cloud the truth, which is that the government of China is in the bio-weapon business. Of course, so are the others governments world wide. Doing a little research today verifies that China was responsible for this pandemic. The are plenty information to disprove this article, as their are interviews Chinese scientists that were reporting the exact opposite of what this article claims.

Is COVID-19 a distraction that is being used for other purposes?
 

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