Question What is the MATHEMATICAL probability of a natural zoonotic coronavirus outbreak starting in Wuhan? It could be no better than 17,640–1

Jul 2, 2020
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Here is a summary based on some broad assumptions and a limited number of known SARS coronaviruses. If there were more SARS unknown coronaviruses then the odds become even less likely than 17,640-1

knowing that (1) bats and other animals which harbour coronaviruses are found practically all over the world, and (2) that the population of Wuhan is 11 million, and that (3) the global population is 7 billion, we can calculate the likelihood of Wuhan being the epicentre of a natural zoonotic coronavirus pandemic:

The chance of a person from Wuhan being patient zero is approximately 1 in 630.

Zheng-li Shi’s laboratory had, of the 28 relevant coronavirus species, singled out just one of them as their special focus.

And it is a member of this species (called the “SARS-related coronaviruses“) that broke out in Wuhan in 2019.

As of February 2020, when Li et al. created this figure, there were 28 species of Alpha- and Betacoronaviruses

The probability of a virus from the SARS-related coronavirus species starting a zoonotic pandemic is 1 in 28.

(And if there are undiscovered coronavirus species––pretty much a certainty––the number will be greater still).

The probability of Wuhan being the site of a natural SARS-related coronavirus outbreak is obtained by multiplying 1 in 630 by 1 in 28.

The chance of Wuhan hosting a SARS-related coronavirus outbreak is thus 17,640–1.


 
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As I remember in 2018-19 there was a general news item on TV about a global effort to genetically modify disease causing viruses in secure labs, in order to predict probable future mutations and disease outbreaks, and to have a plan for vaccine development/production/administration. The sundry flu viruses effecting both people and livestock were included in this program. Basically, if the said news item was accurate and indeed implemented, it seems to me, that situation would markedly change the probability calculations.
 
Jul 2, 2020
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As I remember in 2018-19 there was a general news item on TV about a global effort to genetically modify disease causing viruses in secure labs, in order to predict probable future mutations and disease outbreaks, and to have a plan for vaccine development/production/administration. The sundry flu viruses effecting both people and livestock were included in this program. Basically, if the said news item was accurate and indeed implemented, it seems to me, that situation would markedly change the probability calculations.
These odds show how unlikely it is that Wuhan would be the starting place for a zoonotic SARS pandemic

The calculation was for the probability of just a

natural zoonotic SARS coronavirus pandemic starting in Wuhan

No Lab involvement - ie the pandemic starting naturally in Wuhan from a wild animal source and based on the known SARS coronaviruses which have potential - and not worrying about explaining the step into humans which all the zoonotic people say just happens somehow and we dont need to worry about how.

Any additional potential wild pandemic SARS coronaviruses would mean that the chances of Wuhan being the center of a zoonotic pandemic would decline even more from the current 17,000 - 1 odds.

With 50 potential wild pandemic SARS viruses found
the odds of the zoonotic pandemic starting in Wuhan would be

World pop / Wuhan pop

7billion / 11million = 630

630 x 50 potential wild pandemic viruses

=

31,500 - 1 against Wuhan being the zoonotic center of the outbreak

I am not sure how to calculate the probability of a pandemic starting from a Lab leak from Wuhan compared to the other 60+ BSL-4 labs in world.

In 2017 the WHO said were about 54 and in 2019 reports indicate more than 60 BSL-4 Labs and the 1000s of BSL-3 and lower labs



 
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Nov 12, 2020
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These odds show how unlikely it is that Wuhan would be the starting place for a zoonotic SARS pandemic

The calculation was for the probability of just a

natural zoonotic SARS coronavirus pandemic starting in Wuhan

No Lab involvement - ie the pandemic starting naturally in Wuhan from a wild animal source and based on the known SARS coronaviruses which have potential - and not worrying about explaining the step into humans which all the zoonotic people say just happens somehow and we dont need to worry about how.

Any additional potential wild pandemic SARS coronaviruses would mean that the chances of Wuhan being the center of a zoonotic pandemic would decline even more from the current 17,000 - 1 odds.

With 50 potential wild pandemic SARS viruses found
the odds of the zoonotic pandemic starting in Wuhan would be

World pop / Wuhan pop

7billion / 11million = 630

630 x 50 potential wild pandemic viruses

=

31,500 - 1 against Wuhan being the zoonotic center of the outbreak

I am not sure how to calculate the probability of a pandemic starting from a Lab leak from Wuhan compared to the other 60+ BSL-4 labs in world.

In 2017 the WHO said were about 54 and in 2019 reports indicate more than 60 BSL-4 Labs and 1000s



Thanks for pointing out my misread. I slapped together a crude "guesstament" and speculative probability calculation(s) based upon hearsay for a Wuhan Lab leak of the Sars-Cov-2 virus; it ranged between 20% to 90%. But lacking any definitive data, that's just "smoke in the wind".
 
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You can read it that if it is so unlikely that Wuhan would be the starting place for a natural zoonotic SARS coronavirus pandemic then the only other explanation short of finding a wild origin is a lab leak or some other man made event.

Prof Shi at the Wuhan Institue of Virology received $10 million in US and Chinese grants directly to herself to study bat coronaviruses including how they can be combined in the lab. She also predicted in writing in a published paper in 2019 that China would be the place the next SARS pandemic would most likely start.
 
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Folks: If and when the covid-19 vaccine is available for you, consult your physician, and if appropriate get vaccinated. There are many variants to the covid-19 virus, and there are some variants that are directly related to a nasty morbidity and stressful mortality. There will be ample opportunities for "Finger Pointing and Gnashing of Teeth" when this pandemic is over.
 
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Its funny everything comes back to Wuhan and Prof. Zhengli who appears to have worked with recombinant Coronavirus derivations involving viral spike proteins for over a decade at Wuhan Institute of Virology, all the way back to 2006 and up to as recently as December, 2019

On December 12, 2019, Prof. Zhengli and her team published the study entitled Molecular mechanism for antibody-dependent enhancement of coronavirus entry on December 11, 2019. The abstractreads,

Coronavirus spike protein mediates viral entry into cells by first binding to a receptor on host cell surface and then fusing viral and host membranes. Our study reveals a novel molecular mechanism for antibody-enhanced viral entry and can guide future vaccination and antiviral strategies. This study reveals complex roles of antibodies in viral entry and can guide future vaccine design and antibody-based drug therapy.”
If you look back at Prof Shi Zhengli's comments from the 2005 onwards she says outright a SARS pandemic will come

1. from bat SARS coronaviruses and it

2. will start in China and that

3. she knows such bat coronaviruses are recombined in the labs to make them gain the ability infect humans.

In a 2008 report Professor Zhengli Shi and others said

“Knowing the capability of different CoVs to recombine ....... in the laboratory [and] gain the ability to infect human cells by acquiring spike protein sequences competent for binding to ACE2 "

Professor Zhengli Shi and her co-authors published a study early last year on March 2, 2019 entitled Bat Coronaviruses in China which said

"Thus, it is highly likely that future SARS- or MERS-like coronavirus outbreaks will originate from bats, and there is an increased probability that this will occur in China."

In just the past five years alone, Prof. Zhengli Shi has almost US$10 million in grants to study coronaviruses from the USA and China.

In 2017 the Guardian reported on Prof Shi finding the source of the 2002 SARS outbreak

"In their study – published in the journal Public Library of Science Pathogens – the Wuhan team reveals that by sequencing the genomes of the different strains of the virus found in horseshoe bats in the cave they found these contained all the genetic pieces that make up the version of Sars virus that caused the 2002 outbreak."


The "outbreak ended in 2004 and the disease has never resurfaced.

But scientists have always feared that Sars could reappear. Hence the efforts of Chinese scientists – led by Shi Zheng-Li and Cui Jie of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, China – to trace the source of the outbreak."

Of SARS it was written in the same article

“There is no effective treatment and no vaccine. It was only contained the last time because it was possible to quarantine people while they were still infectious. Now we have a chance to create vaccines and treatments.”

"In their paper, the Chinese team warn that another deadly outbreak of Sars could emerge at any time."

These were caves in the same area as Prof Shi found in 2013 the virus RaTG13 the closest virus to Covid-19 and also other viruses some of which she had not disclosed.

We are told Prof Shi did no work herself on these new pandemic potential deadly viruses until 2020, they just stayed in a lab fridge, though we know she gene sequenced in part RaTG13 in 2013 and then again fully in 2017/2018. RaTG13 now no longer exists so some have suggested it is possible RaTG13 could have been a recombined lab created viruse using in full or in part samples obtained from the Mojiang Miners who died in 2012 or from other viruses not publically disclosed by Prof Shi. She has confirmed that some viruses she has found have not been disclosed.

Plus this happened at the same Mojiang Mine location where 50% of the miners infected died of an unknown SARS coronavirus in 2012

Professor Zhengli Shi

2008 Prof. Zhengli published the findings of the facts in her report, Difference in Receptor Usage between Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Coronavirus and SARS-Like Coronavirus of Bat Origin.

which concluded, “Knowing the capability of different CoVs to recombine both in the laboratory and in nature, the possibility that SL-CoVs may gain the ability to infect human cells by acquiring spike protein sequences competent for binding to ACE2 or other surface proteins of human cells can be readily envisaged.”


Professor Zhengli Shi quotes

In 2006, one of China’s preeminent virologists, Professor Zhengli Shi, co-authored the study, Review of Bats and SARS, concluding that “a SARS epidemic may recur in the future and that SARS-like coronaviruses (SL-CoVs) that originate from different reservoir host populations may lead to epidemics at different times or in different regions…. The recent discovery of a group of diverse SL-CoVs in bats support the possibility of these events….”

Prof. Zhengli and her co-authors published a study early last year on March 2, 2019 entitled Bat Coronaviruses in China which explicitly warned,

“During the past two decades, three zoonotic coronaviruses have been identified as the cause of large-scale disease outbreaks⁻Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and Swine Acute Diarrhea Syndrome (SADS). SARS and MERS emerged in 2003 and 2012, respectively, and caused a worldwide pandemic that claimed thousands of human lives, while SADS struck the swine industry in 2017. They have common characteristics, such as they are all highly pathogenic to humans or livestock, their agents originated from bats, and two of them originated in China. Thus, it is highly likely that future SARS- or MERS-like coronavirus outbreaks will originate from bats, and there is an increased probability that this will occur in China. Therefore, the investigation of bat coronaviruses becomes an urgent issue for the detection of early warning signs, which in turn minimizes the impact of such future outbreaks in China”
Prof Zhengli’s incredibly pertinent report published ten years ago in July, 2010, Identification of key amino acid residues required for horseshoe bat angiotensin-I converting enzyme 2 to function as a receptor for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. The study’s abstract can’t be clearer on the immunological risks associated with protein ACE2, with its obvious liability for usurpation by viral agents with a little modified genome sequencing:

“Angiotensin-I converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the receptor for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (SARS-CoV). A previous study indicated that ACE2 from a horseshoe bat, the host of a highly related SARS-like coronavirus, could not function as a receptor for SARS-CoV. Here, we demonstrate that a 3 aa change from SHE (aa 40–42) to FYQ was sufficient to convert the bat ACE2 into a fully functional receptor for SARS-CoV. We further demonstrate that an ACE2 molecule from a fruit bat, which contains the FYQ motif, was able to support SARS-CoV infection, indicating a potentially much wider host range for SARS-CoV-related viruses among different bat populations.”
Wuhan Institute of Virology - despite completing the decade-long construction and having the official inauguration of this P4 laboratory on January 31, 2015 — announced by the General Office of Hubei Provincial People’s Government, it wasn’t until 2 and 1/2 years later in January 2018, that the Chinese government announced that the lab was actually in operation. And ahead of the lab’s second opening in January 2018, biosafety experts and scientists from the United States expressly warned “that a SARS-like virus could escape,”

One thing we know they worked on is the Origin and evolution of pathogenic coronaviruses, pioneered by none other than the enormously qualified, highly-decorated, and widely-respected Professor Zhengli Shi, Senior Scientist and Principal Investigator.

In 2014, Prof. Zhengli began to win particularly large sums of grant funding for the express purpose of researching and experimenting with coronaviruses — often receiving numerous, overlapping grants for the same time period. What’s just as interesting is where a lot of this funding originated — the US government. On January 6, 2014, Prof. Zhengli received a US$665,000 grant from the National Institute of Health for a study named The Ecology of Bat Coronaviruses and the Risk of Future Coronavirus Emergence (NIAID R01 AI1 10964) and then four days later on January 10, 2014, an additional US$559,500 grant from the United States Agency of International Development for research studied entitled Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT 2_China(Project No. AID-OAA-A-14–00102).

She concurrently received similarly significant grants from the National Basic Research program of China, the Chinese Academy of Science, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and from the Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences totaling over US$2,500,000 for researching interspecies transmission of zoonotic viruses, the identification, genetic evolution and pathogenesis of bat viruses, the genetic variation of pathogens in Africa, the evolution mechanism of the adaptation of bat SARS-related coronaviruses to host receptor molecules, the risk of interspecies infection, genetic evolution and transmission mechanism of important bat-borne viruses, and pathogen biology studies on novel swine coronaviruses.


 
Mar 19, 2020
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Here is a summary based on some broad assumptions and a limited number of known SARS coronaviruses. If there were more SARS unknown coronaviruses then the odds become even less likely than 17,640-1

knowing that (1) bats and other animals which harbour coronaviruses are found practically all over the world, and (2) that the population of Wuhan is 11 million, and that (3) the global population is 7 billion, we can calculate the likelihood of Wuhan being the epicentre of a natural zoonotic coronavirus pandemic:

The chance of a person from Wuhan being patient zero is approximately 1 in 630.

Zheng-li Shi’s laboratory had, of the 28 relevant coronavirus species, singled out just one of them as their special focus.

And it is a member of this species (called the “SARS-related coronaviruses“) that broke out in Wuhan in 2019.

As of February 2020, when Li et al. created this figure, there were 28 species of Alpha- and Betacoronaviruses

The probability of a virus from the SARS-related coronavirus species starting a zoonotic pandemic is 1 in 28.

(And if there are undiscovered coronavirus species––pretty much a certainty––the number will be greater still).

The probability of Wuhan being the site of a natural SARS-related coronavirus outbreak is obtained by multiplying 1 in 630 by 1 in 28.

The chance of Wuhan hosting a SARS-related coronavirus outbreak is thus 17,640–1.


In the mideval era, we had densly packed cites and lots of animals. We got many diseases from them. While 1 zoonotic transmission is rare, you have to take into account that there are 687 cities in china alone. And there is little reason to belive that it is engineered. It could have certainly have been in a lab and a human came into contact with the sick animal.
I AM NOT DENYING THAT CHINA WOULD COVER UP A DISEASE, I AM JUST SAYING ZOONOTIC ORIGIN IS LIKELY
 
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It seems likely that Covid-19 had some type of zoonotic origin, it is however unclear what part if any a Lab played in creating or accidentally releasing Covid-19.

At this stage what China is covering up is the question. That info could help create a treatment.

A Zoonotic or Lab cover up is also part of the info needed when working on treatments.

China is withholding normal information such as access to 2019 and 2020 blood samples

The purpose of Dr Latham's paper was to look at how likely Covid-19


in the first case would start in an 11 million population area like Wuhan - not how likely a zoonotic outbreak would be which follows on as a secondary consideration.

Dr Latham considered Wuhan as one of a number of

A. population centers of 11 million people (so there should be approx 630 of these population centers in a world of 7 billion people) and also
B. a population center not close to a routine/known coronavirus area
C. that Wuhan Lab held 28 declared bat coronaviruses so we assume that is these are the total number of world sources (likely to be more)

That means 630 x 28 =

17,640–1 chance of Wuhan or any 11 million population center being the starting point of a Covid-19 pandemic

The chance

1. of Covid-19 starting in any single 11 million population center is remote and
2. even more remote when the city of Wuhan or other population center is not in a region known for having local coronavirus bat populations -

This is something WIV specifically stated as a fact and went so far as to use Wuhan as a human population control reference for areas where exposure to coronavirus was "remote" in papers published in 2018 and 2019 ie prior to Covid-19

However the chances of Wuhan being a Lab based coronavirus starting point for regions with a Level 4 lab leak would seem to be

1. much higher
2. certainly something to look at given the many known serious lab leaks that have occurred in previous years

Factors

1. there are only around 60 such Level 4 Labs in the world according to the WHO

2. that few of these Level 4 labs are specializing in bat coronaviruses gain of function research linked to human SARS as was being done at Wuhan/WIV - WIV was doing the only publicly acknowledged gain of function Lab work on bat coronaviruses (sponsored by the FDA through different US grants) after the USA banned this gain of function work between 2014 and 2017

3. WIV held about 28 known / declared bat coronaviruses including the only sample that ever existed of RTaG13 the closest virus to date to Covid-19

All that adds up to Wuhan being a high probabilty place for a non zoonotic outbreak to start and a low probability place for a zoonotic Covid-19 outbreak to start

The fact that people will not even discuss this information is not scientific

(if there are undiscovered / undisclosed coronavirus species––pretty much a certainty as Prof Shi has admitted in 2020 to not registering some 6? bat derived coronaviruses -- then it is even less likely that Wuhan was a zoonotic starting point).

The chance of Wuhan hosting a SARS-related coronavirus outbreak is thus 17,640–1.

Its very simple Wuhan is either

1. an amazingly unlucky city for it to be the zoonotic origin or
2. a high contender for a lab origin of a bat coronavirus escaping from one of the 60 possible labs (some of which may not even have had bat coronaviruses)

The Chinese will not release even the local area blood tests samples from 2019 or 2020 let alone allow access to the WIV data of the unknown SARS virus that killed people in 2012 amd which Prof Shi said was retested in 2020 - but did not disclose having done so till late 2020

As Prof Zheng-li Shi, head of coronavirus research at the WIV told Scientific American, in March 2020: “I had never expected this kind of thing to happen in Wuhan, in central China”.

Further when WIV researchers needed to study a Chinese population that was not routinely exposed to bat coronaviruses (as a control group), they chose Wuhan residents (Wang et al. 2018; Li et al. 2019).

However what is also pointed out is that Wuhan is fairly far north, bats are not abundant in Wuhan and Hubei province has few bat coronaviruses compared to hotspots like Yunnan and Guangdong (Yu et al., 2019). Unlike Canton, Wuhan is not famous for exotic fare. Nor is Wuhan near animal smuggling and trading origins (Li et al. 2019). It was for this reason that researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (the WIV), which is the prime suspect in the various lab leak theories, mostly had to travel a thousand miles to find bats with coronaviruses (Yu et al., 2019).

It is consequently a mystery, if SARS-CoV-2 does have a zoonotic origin, why COVID-19 should have emerged where it did.
 
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Here is a link to a 60 Minutes Australia documentary in which Dr Latham, Prof Petrovsky and others including Chinese Prof Chen Hong Director of the Australian studies centre at East China Normal University in Shanghai discuss the different origins of Covid-19 and present their opinions and evidence on the origins and the reactions of scientists and governments to Covid-19.

Prof Hong strongly agrees with opinions of the Chinese government on the origins of Covid-19 and the Chinese response to Covid-19.

Dr Latham works for an NGO and has written extensively on a range of matters including biology, virology and genetically modified organisms having worked on related research and creating GMOs while at University.

View: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zgTeNFIY-b0

Understanding the origins of Covid-19 and how it was allowed to spread is a vital part of ensuring measures are taken to prevent the future impact of viruses spreading from a lab leak or from zoonotic pools

Prof Petrovsky has been working on developing a government funded Covid-19 vaccine having previously developed animal coronavirus vaccines for SARS and MERS and received millions of dollars from the US government funding to develop human coronavirus vaccines and vaccine related research

Further info in the links below

 
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