Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Breitbart; The Australian Daily Telegraph claims a leaked dossier suggests it is China’s fault that Covid-19 spread; China deliberately suppressed knowledge of the outbreak, instead of trying to stop the spread of the epidemic.
But dangerous Wuhan “Gain of Function” Studies, in which virologists deliberately created lethal human pathogens from bat viruses, to evaluate the risk of such pathogens evolving naturally, received funding from the USA and Australia, even after concerns were raised by US embassy scientists in 2018 about inadequate safety procedures.
Coronavirus NSW: Dossier lays out case against China bat virus program
Sharri Markson, The Daily TelegraphMay 2, 2020 3:15pm
China deliberately suppressed or destroyed evidence of the coronavirus outbreak in an “assault on international transparency’’ that cost tens of thousands of lives, according to a dossier prepared by concerned Western governments on the COVID-19 contagion.
The 15-page research document, obtained by The Saturday Telegraph, lays the foundation for the case of negligence being mounted against China.
It states that to the “endangerment of other countries” the Chinese government covered-up news of the virus by silencing or “disappearing” doctors who spoke out, destroying evidence of it in laboratories and refusing to provide live samples to international scientists who were working on a vaccine.
It can also be revealed the Australian government trained and funded a team of Chinese scientists who belong to a laboratory which went on to genetically modify deadly coronaviruses that could be transmitted from bats to humans and had no cure, and is not the subject of a probe into the origins of COVID-19.
Key figures of the Wuhan Institute of Virology team, who feature in the government dossier, were either trained or employed in the CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory where they conducted foundational research on deadly pathogens in live bats, including SARS, as part of an ongoing partnership between the CSIRO and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The study acknowledges the incredible danger of the work they were conducting.
“The potential to prepare for and mitigate future outbreaks must be weighed against the risk of creating more dangerous pathogens,” they wrote.
The US withdrew funding from controversial experiments that make pathogens more potent or likely to spread dangerous viruses in October 2014, concerned it could lead to a global pandemic.
The pause on funding for 21 “gain of function” studies was then lifted in December 2017.
Despite the concerns, the CSIRO continued to partner and fund research with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
A ‘‘Sensitive but Unclassified’’ cable, dated January 19, 2018, obtained by The Washington Post, revealed that US embassy scientists and diplomats in Beijing visited the laboratory and sent warnings back to Washington about inadequate safety practices and management weaknesses as it conducted research on coronaviruses from bats.
The following is the abstract of the 2015 study which includes Dr. Shi, head of the Wuhan Virology Institute. The main body of the study includes the quote “the potential to prepare for and mitigate future outbreaks must be weighed against the risk of creating more dangerous pathogens“.
The study describes the deliberate creation of chimeric bat viruses capable of infecting humans, to investigate the likelihood that such viruses could evolve naturally;
A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence.
The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV underscores the threat of cross-species transmission events leading to outbreaks in humans. Here we examine the disease potential of a SARS-like virus, SHC014-CoV, which is currently circulating in Chinese horseshoe bat populations. Using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone. 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. Additionally, in vivo experiments demonstrate replication of the chimeric virus in mouse lung with notable pathogenesis. Evaluation of available SARS-based immune-therapeutic and prophylactic modalities revealed poor efficacy; both monoclonal antibody and vaccine approaches failed to neutralize and protect from infection with CoVs using the novel spike protein. On the basis of these findings, we synthetically re-derived an infectious full-length SHC014 recombinant virus and demonstrate robust viral replication both in vitro and in vivo. Our work suggests a potential risk of SARS-CoV re-emergence from viruses currently circulating in bat populations.
What a mess. Here is my take on what I think happened.
The scientists in Wuhan have been playing with Chimeric bat viruses in their city centre laboratory since at least 2013 (the date of a previous study mentioned by the Daily Telegraph). Members of the team were trained by Australia. Links with Australia were apparently ongoing. The research was at least partly funded by the USA and Australia; although the USA withdrew funding in 2014, funding apparently resumed in 2017.
There is evidence the Wuhan laboratory was not well managed. Aside from the obvious idiocy of siting such a facility in the middle of a big crowded city, there are multiple allegations of serious shortcomings with Wuhan laboratory safety protocols (a Chinese study which was hastily withdrawn, and the 2018 US embassy warning cited by the Daily Telegraph).
Although the evidence is circumstantial, it seems a strong possibility that SARS-CoV-2 is one of the horrifying chimeric bat viruses Wuhan researchers deliberately created, which escaped thanks to poor safety practices.
Whatever the source, China appears to have responded in the worse possible way by arresting whistleblowers and attempting to conceal the outbreak, instead of going public and focussing all their efforts on trying to stop it.
via Watts Up With That?
May 3, 2020 at 08:11AM