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

Page 3 - For the science geek in everyone, Live Science breaks down the stories behind the most interesting news and photos on the Internet.
Mar 22, 2020
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You say it didn't come from a lab, but you use the term 'analysis' and 'analyzed' multiple times. Was this analysis done in someone's kitchen sink or trunk of their car? Regardless if it was genetically engineered or not, one would hope that it was being studied in a lab and not on a picnic table in someone's backyard. There is a research lab less than 20 miles from where the epicenter has been established, a lab that does microbiology research, so very conceivable that the spread came from that lab. Still, the origin is Wuhan and no amount of 'spin' is going to change that. Be careful that you are not just a mouthpiece for the Communist China propaganda machine. It is possible it originated in a million different ways, but remember Occam's razor and what is most likely. Oh, and take a look at this document floating around twitter: here's the link
I agree. No one ever said this virus was made in a lab. People said the virus was naturally occurring, was being studied in the lab in Wuhan. The story is that they were testing animal transmission of the virus. The dead infected animals were then sold in the Wuhan dead animal market instead of being destroyed.
 
Mar 22, 2020
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They even bragged they had made a chimeric coronavirus to and I quote "increase its mode of function" which basically means they made it more pathogenic, more infectious

BUT DON'T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT GO READ IT YOURSELVES....CONSPIRACY THEORY NUT SIGNING OUT
No one ever said this virus was made in a lab. People said the virus was naturally occurring, was being studied in the lab in Wuhan. The story is that they were testing animal transmission of the virus. The dead infected animals were then sold in the Wuhan dead animal market instead of being destroyed.
 
Mar 22, 2020
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A persistent coronavirus myth that this virus, called SARS-CoV-2, was made by scientists and escaped from a lab in Wuhan is completely unfounded. Here's how we know.

The coronavirus did not escape from a lab. Here's how we know. : Read more
No one ever said this virus was made in a lab. People said the virus was naturally occurring, was being studied in the lab in Wuhan. The story is that they were testing animal transmission of the virus. The dead infected animals were then sold in the Wuhan dead animal market instead of being destroyed.
 

GGG

Mar 22, 2020
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This article is highly misleading.
Showing the virus is not man-made does not in any way preclude it escaping from a lab.
Especially considering that the lab in question, the Wuhan Institute of Virology was established in the wake of previous leaks of the SARS virus from Chinese labs.

Once again, the Wuhan Institute of Virology isolates and studies this specific type of virus for research purposes.

It is completely plausible to think a breach of lab protocol could release this lethal, yet perfectly natural, virus out into the streets of Wuhan.

Especially if lab animals were being improperly disposed of via the nearby market as has been speculated.
 
Mar 22, 2020
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Hate to burst your bubble, but the article doesn´t debunk anything, it merely points out that if some other researchers designed the virus, they would´ve done it differently. That´s all folks.
 
Mar 11, 2020
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Perhaps the virus wasn't created in a lab. But I have a hard time believing viruses in general just evolved and weren't created by some sort of intelligence, even if that intelligence wasn't human. Are there any published reports out there anywhere that document the observed spontaneous generation of a virus?
 
Mar 22, 2020
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This like concluding that humans cannot make nuclear missiles because the atom already existed in nature, so Hiroshima must have been set off by what, a trampling elk?

You guys should retract this ridiculous story and non-conclusion.

The fact of the matter stands that there is hard facts from very credible sources indicating that sick bats were indeed being researched in a laboratory near the wet market and it would not be the first time illegal bioweapons were developed in modern times. That it prematurely got away from them is not completely in the realm of tin-foil conspiracy. It's absolutely plausible if not a little far fetched (and hopefully not the case) but you look at billions of barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf and so on. S**t happens.

We just don't know and we probably never will. That's not a conspiracy theory, that's called paying attention.
 
Mar 22, 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.
I don't know... a pretty well reasoned and scary argument here. I hope they're wrong or I'm not gonna sleep at night.
 
Mar 9, 2020
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I don't suppose it matters that Shi Zhengli the lead researcher at Wuhan Virology was a master of bat related coronaviruses?
I think it is very relevant. The "myth busting" research at least demonstrates that it is conceivable that the virus could have mutated naturally, but since it would have mutated naturally in a wet market just down the road from lab that makes the same type of virus, it is a very big coincidence.

That it prematurely got away from them is not completely in the realm of tin-foil conspiracy. It's absolutely plausible
The virus getting away from the lab sounds absolutely plasuible, but that it should have got away from them to the "uncivillised" (Shi Zhengli's phrase) wet market rather than any number of place that a researcher might frequent such as the local bookshop, iPhone store, or luxury appartment complex seems implausible. That an accidental leak be in the one place that the virus could have naturally originated seems as unlikely as the natural origin be near the lab where the virus could have been made.

It suggests to me that either the market was framed by the lab, or both were framed by someone else. And if it were the former, I think that the Chinese authorities should know by now.

Dr. Shi Zhengli is known as Bat Woman apparently.
 
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Mar 22, 2020
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Here is a report (link) that is the product of a collaboration between a retired professional scientist with dozens of peer-reviewed publications and 30 years of experience in genomic sequencing and analysis, who worked at the Theoretical Biology Division of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and later helped design several ubiquitous bioinformatic software tools, as well as a former NSA counterterrorism analyst. It considers whether the Wuhan Strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) is the result of naturally emergent mutations against the possibility that it may be a bio-engineered strain – directly altered by genetic manipulation, subject to artificially-guided evolutionary selection, or both – most likely released into the public by accident since China’s rate of occupational accidents is about ten-times higher than America’s, and some twenty-times more than Europe’s, the only other regions with high-level virology labs.

An accessible and comprehensive YouTube summary of the report below by a Professor of Neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh’s Medical School is available here. And you can read the authors takedown of Nature magazine’s recent article claiming COVID-19 definitely wasn’t from a lab here.

I came across this stuff zero hedge which seems to give me way more interesting information here. Not sure if it's true because I'm not a virologist but from what I've read and after watching that YouTube summary, I'm in the camp this came from a lab. Thoughts?
 
Mar 23, 2020
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This "article" is terribly written, and does not "prove" or "disprove" anything in relation to the general idea of this virus being engineered. There's really nothing more that has to be said: the article, and the scientific report it cites, does not "debunk" anything.

I have no idea how the author could draw these conclusions, but it's a sad reflection on the quality of critical thinking and reading comprehension in our society today. Like most articles addressing "myths" or providing "fact checks" regarding the ongoing pandemic, there is almost nothing of value here, just more noise and confusion, and the addition of even more false statements and myths to the heap.

The idea it would even be possible to conclusively "prove" a virus was not engineered is preposterous. Without detailed tracking of viral lineage leading to the virus in question, it's impossible to make that claim.
 
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Mar 23, 2020
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Even if this virus is wild, it could have "escaped" from a lab. We've collected and studied many viruses over the years. We have biological weapons research facilities all over the world. If it was an engineered virus, it came from a lab. The authors' conclusion is just a guess. The official narrative is this virus infected the first human in the Wuhan market in November 2019. We are supposed to believe all the worldwide infections were spread from one person in the few months before the travel ban. This seems highly unlikely.
 

DRH

Mar 23, 2020
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Article's assumptions are FLAWED!! We have already 'known' that this virus was NOT artificially manipulated or 'designed'. It is not a good bioweapon. However, the article disproves NOTHING! about its origin. Too much evidence points to a 'breach' in most likely the government controlled biolevel 4 lab closer to the heart of Wuhan, rather than the Wuhan Institute of Virology. There were numerous power outages and President Xi is on record chastising personnel to 'tighten up bio-security protocols'. Plus, the Chinese gov's behaviour in the earlier months to 'hide' this outbreak ravaging Wuhan speaks volumes. There is little question that the virus 'jumped' from a bat. Bats are unique creatures whose immune systems serve as 'factories' for virus production and are used in bio labs for research. Does not mean that this coronavirus was a 'manipulated' microbe at all. In addition, after so many 'generations' or passings of a microbe to new hosts - genetic drifts and actual shifts take place, changing the microbe either a little or significantly. The article merely notes that there is no evidence of 'unnatural' genetic manipulation. It does not PROVE anything about the viruse's origin. Articles like the one posted on Live Sciences jump to conclusions simply not in evidence, rely upon often unproven and unrealistic assumptions that the average reader is not going to discern. There is an art to reviewing literature and the logic behind each step that theoretically leads the author/s to the conclusions they post. There are blatant gaps and errors in the logic to arrive at the conclusion that a 'natural' virus could not have been unleashed as an accidental breach of protocol in laboratory research. We have examples in the U.S.

Carville, LA housed a research lab for Mycobacterium leprosi. Finding a suitable host that could house the bacterium without succumbing was found in the armadillo - pads. Their pads were perfect for growing the bacterium and no other part of the animal was affected. Some animals 'escaped' from the facility and have established themselves in the wild 'carrying' leprosi in their pads. Their pads were a 'source' of the microbe to be studied - not the site for manipulation. Same with bats. They are factories to supply viruses of interest. Though, they could be used to facilitate a manipulation - but didn't have to be the case for a breach in bio-security in which contagious bats either escaped or were removed for sale at meat markets. In any event -- too many factors point to a laboratory interim. Bear in mind that we live with bats (some conditions in close proximity) all over the world - replete with many viruses and do not experience these 'outbreaks'. This outbreak points to a 'foci' in China with conditions 'out of the ordinary'. Suggest putting on your critical reading glasses when reading 'any' News Alerts.
 
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Mar 23, 2020
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The Wuhan lab, which China has acknowledged exists since 2015, is 300 yards from the area where the outbreak started. This is the only lab in china that deals with viruses of this type. Are we really supposed to believe that's a coincidence? Several scientists in China have already been caught trying to create human-animal chimeras. Literally nothing in either this article or the piece in Nature (which has been caught pushing propaganda repeatedly) debunks what would be the most obvious origin of covid-19 - if anything it reinforces that idea.
 
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Mar 23, 2020
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Articles like this run counter their purpose. As science progresses, it's increasingly possible to reproduce nature and more disturbingly when it does so we may never be able to tell the different, even with the full might of science, it may not be possible to prove whether this virus is natural or not.

> It is so effective at attaching to human cells that the researchers said the spike proteins were the result of natural selection and not genetic engineering.
> Yet in computer simulations, the mutations in SARS-CoV-2 don't seem to work very well at helping the virus bind to human cells.

This is an opinion, one that's not very scientific. This reads the same as the human eye is so complex it couldn't have arrived by chance, therefore it must have been created by some deity. This is known as hubris and being a know it all. They're saying if they don't know how someone could come up with that then no one could.

Their argument specifically is that it's beyond their capabilities. They do not speak for all biologists. For people who don't understand what these scientists are saying I have translated it into common English:

"We're the best and we couldn't have done this. Therefore it must be naturally occurring."

Further paraphrased: "Our modelling is deficient, therefore it's naturally occurring."

In other words, they're probably not very good scientists.

> The overall molecular structure of this virus is distinct from the known coronaviruses and instead most closely resembles viruses found in bats and pangolins that had been little studied and never known to cause humans any harm.
> "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," according to a statement from Scripps.

This is also an unfounded assumption. It's opinion and there's nothing scientific about it. One scientist's methodology, aims and objectives is not that of all scientists. You can even form a consensus but it only takes one deviant to overwhelm consensus. You need a 100% consensus of all scientists. One less and the theory fails.

Research into viruses may include studying what it likely to evolve and mutate next. It's possible to reach a point where what happens naturally and what is produced in the lab significantly overlap. Scientists are trying to keep one step ahead of viruses.

Scientists have a lot of ingenuity. Not all take the path of least resistance. Scientists looking ahead of the curve won't be looking only at known viruses that jumped species but might be looking at what else is in common species that might jump. It's the viruses we haven't heard off that we should be afraid of.

Not all scientists work on human viruses. Livestock and wildlife are also impacted by viruses including from those that jump species. Scientists are not only looking at humans.

If I were a scientist doing research into protecting livestock, humans included, I would be sampling wildlife broadly yet selectively as resources permit to catalogue as much as possible to explore the unknown. It makes perfect sense for scientists to be seeing what other coronaviruses are in bats and tracking those after others have already jumped from bats to humans. As a resourceful scientist, I might even go to the local food market to collect samples.

China has had moderate problems with maverick science. It's sometimes easier to make a name for yourself probing the unknown than the known. It does not require a sophisticated mind to work out to go to the source.

I suspect a significant growth in this field after coronavirus. Some scientists may consider vaccinating wildlife.

There isn't a single piece of genuine evidence in this article regarding whether the virus is natural or man-made.

This article proves that bias against it being artificially induced exists and is sufficiently strong enough for people to be misleading completely undermining itself. How can we trust anything journalists or scientists have to say about it? We can't. This article is proof of that.

Personally, I dismiss any headlines with terms such as "this is how" or "this is why". It's a disclaimer for being an opinion piece. It's commonly used with sponsored content.

I can't tell you either way if it naturally mutated or happened due to human intervention. Either is possible. It's not necessarily a case of if but when it would happen naturally as it already often does. It's wrong to assume that this could only happen by design or that it's even highly likely that it happened by design. It's also as wrong to assume that it can't happen through human intervention or that it's prohibitively unlikely.

My position is to generally assume it's natural causes. I cannot prove that to be the case but unless there's a reason otherwise then there's no purpose to assume it to be man-made. That doesn't mean we shouldn't consider the idea nor investigate it. In cases like this we do need to keep an open mind and an open eye.

Articles such as this only serve one purpose: To cover it up.

If there's nothing to cover it up then why cover it up? When you try to hide it with fallacious arguments then that itself creates a large amount of suspicion. What is the motivation for it? Why make out that it's a fact there's been no human intervention when we don't know deliberately using arguments likely to seduce the layman and stun the less intelligent into submission but that are completely and utterly invalid?

The consequence of it arising through human intervention is that we learn, take common sense precautions and move on. It's a sad fact that we're at the threshold where epidemiologists will have to consider both natural and unnatural origins.

Unpleasant though it might be its also possible for such an outbreak to be a deliberate act. There are many people who believe life would be better with less over population with the weak being the obvious choice. A lack of regulation of bio-research and genetic engineering should be a general concern to everyone.

Sometimes when people want to murder someone, they will try to make it look like natural causes. It may even fool everyone. If someone were to engineer an outbreak to achieve a practical purpose as a calculated act then you could expect it to appear either as natural or an accident.
 
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Mar 24, 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 agree, I'm trying to understand the motivation for articles such as this. It reminds me of the old adage, "Just because you're paranoid, ..."
 
Mar 9, 2020
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This is the only lab in china that deals with viruses of this type.
According to the Wikipedia page on level four virology labs, there is another lab in Harbin, at which SARS research is also, afaik, carried out (google) but, the one in Wuhan was the first and is the home of "bat woman". And there are about 700 cities in China.

The Wuhan lab, which China has acknowledged exists since 2015, is 300 yards from the area where the outbreak started.
Afaik the lab is 20 miles and about 45 minutes by car according to Google Maps.

This creates in me the question as to how the virus could have got there.

1) Someone sold lab animals. The jailed Beijing man that sold lab animals to a wet market sold one million dollars worth. This was a big scam, and presumably funded by someone. A sale of a few virus infected bats would be small change to a lab technician, unless, like the guy from Beijing, they were taking them there by the truck load.

2) A lab technician goes there by chance. But they would be more likely to go other places such as bookshops iPhone stores and supermarkets. Why would lab-leaked virus epidemic start in the one place, or most plausible place, that it could have originated naturally?

3) An escaped lab animal, or an animal infected near the lab, goes there, or is taken there by a hunter. This was suggested to me, by an intelligent forum user (who I would happily cite further) and seemed credible. But if the virus was in released into the wildlife near the lab, (20 miles from the market), by the same logic as 2 above, why are there not other places where bats/wildlife like to go, where they would come in contact with Wuhanians who would have have become infected, and some closer to the lab? Do locals not go into nearby mountains and caves (see map)? If there are other places near the lab where humans and wild animals go such as "White Cloud Cave," (just as their other other places where lab technicians and the local populace go, see 2 above) then why were all except one of the first cases from the wet market?

[If "patient zero," a 55 year old man, who had no contact with the market, turns out to be a keen wildlife photographer, or spelunker, then this theory would become more credible. But as it stands, the only place where the virus was found was the place, or most plausible place, in which it could have originated, mutated, ”naturally”.  Which leads me to...]

4) A lab technician framed the market. I guess China would know by now and imprisoned that person. Perhaps they have.

5) Someone framed both the lab and the market. If this is possible, then I guess they could have infected someone connected to the lab, such as Bat Woman's tailor to imply (2) or a local spelunker to imply (3).

6) Or it really did originate naturally, by coincidence, 20 miles away from the laboratory that was collecting and making similar types of virus.
 
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Mar 24, 2020
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A persistent coronavirus myth that this virus, called SARS-CoV-2, was made by scientists and escaped from a lab in Wuhan is completely unfounded. Here's how we know.

The coronavirus did not escape from a lab. Here's how we know. : Read more
The source (Scripps) article says:



LiveScience adds this:



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:



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.
Unlike the lead article, a very well argued point of view. The scientists who claim to have provided "strong evidence" that the virus was not engineered based on the fact the binding receptors were not quite the right fit have clearly not paid much attention to the history of science, which is chock-full of serendipitous events. Suppositions are not absolute proof and should therefore not be billed as such.
 
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Mar 24, 2020
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A persistent coronavirus myth that this virus, called SARS-CoV-2, was made by scientists and escaped from a lab in Wuhan is completely unfounded. Here's how we know.

The coronavirus did not escape from a lab. Here's how we know. : Read more
We’ll you can’t be 100% for what your saying this is spreading possible lies.

1. Just because your computer models don’t show this. It doesn’t mean their computer models are better with more computing power and did choose this manipulation.

2. even if the the computer didn’t choose this path doesn’t mean it waschosen on accident how 90% of all science advances by accident.
Funny how original SARS and this so similar, that’s a lot of natural accidents.

3. even if it was natural which I don’t agree it still could have been being observed in lab and was let out by test animal. Sold to market.

4. bottom line you can’t just say no it didn’t by looking the virus without knowing more and investigating on the ground at the lab which all governments should do.
 
Mar 24, 2020
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So you're teling me...The natural virus magically developed and evolved into a New Virus that targets a receptor on the outside of human cells. AND YOU took it upon yourself to say that ONLY because the computer simulator doesn't say that this should happen...It wasn't man made. But yet the virus has had key letter changes in the genetic code.

There is no correlation bro you're not making any sense.Why would THE COMPUTER SHOW WHAT COULD HAPPEN IF THERE HAS BEEN SEVERAL GENETIC CHANGES?? WHY would scientist DELIBERATELY Leave room for anyone to see in the first place?! CMON GUYS READ BETWEEN THE LINES BRO THIS ISN'T RANDOM/NATURAL.....It's hidden in plain site , The natural virus just "Evolved" Out of no where with changes to GENETIC code and Can't be simulated on a computer. -__-
 
Mar 24, 2020
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This article is just plain terrible relying on numerous logical fallacies, it in fact describes the exact process that this paper from 2015 describes while claiming it is only possible through natural selection https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.3985
interestingly enough the Wuhan Institute of Virology was directly involved in its engineering...

"The results indicate that group 2b viruses encoding the SHC014 spike in a wild-type backbone can efficiently use multiple orthologs of the SARS receptor human angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2), replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells and achieve in vitro titers equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV."
 
Mar 24, 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.
I know, the sad thing is, my mom screamed at me for wearing a mask to make sure I didn't get sick, she said "With or without it, you'll get sick. It's not going to protect you" but yet surgeons wear the masks to make sure they don't get sick and the people with the disease don't get them sick. Then how do they not work, it's just crazy.
 
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Mar 9, 2020
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Then how do they not work, it's just crazy.
There is research showing that masks work for medical personnel
Even non N95/surgical masks are argued to work by some

But I think that the idea is that medical personnel know how to put on and use the masks. If you fiddle with them they are worse than nothing. Youtube videos may help.

I don't know exactly why the virus began, but it is not from lab because it mutates. Are you scientists?????
Why does the fact that the virus mutates mean that it was not from (in a previous form created in, or collected and released by) a lab? Due you mean latest mutation was not from a lab?
 
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