Best Evidence Yet that Coronavirus Came from Wuhan BSL-4 Lab

This is from a credible journalist. Not sure what to make of it.

An excellent investigative report by Jim Geraghty for the center-right National Review extensively documents the evidence. The highlights of his report include:

  • Job postings at the Wuhan facility for scientists to study coronaviruses and bats.
  • An announcement that new viruses had been discovered.
  • When she learned of the outbreak, a Chinese virologist known as “Bat Woman” (because of her hunt for viruses in bat caves) wondered if the virus came from her lab.
  • The virology institute denied the existence of the person rumored to be “patient zero”, a grad student named Huang Yanling. Information about her has been removed from the institute’s website, and her whereabouts are unknown. The institute now claims she is in good health.

Now, CNN reports that China is censoring any research related to the origin of the virus. According to the article, an online announcement said that “[s]tudies on the origin of the virus will receive extra scrutiny and must be approved by central government officials.”

That announcement, as it so happens, was later removed, providing the best evidence yet that China is once again covering something up.

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This is what I’m wondering, I hope someone here could perhaps provide some insight.

The Wuhan lab revealed that they had discovered new coronaviruses on 12/24. China first reported the new pneumonia to the WHO on 12/31 and announced that it was a new coronavirus on 1/7. They then seriously downplayed the significance of the virus throughout January which contributed to a much wider outbreak.

If the lab had discovered COVID-19 before 12/24, would they tend to understand its potential danger? I’m trying to understand why China would possibly downplay the significance of a known quantity. Or might they have held out reasonable hope that this virus would prove controllable, and that they could deal with it without disrupting normal social activity? I’m not saying that they might have been correct to do that. I’m just wondering how much the researchers could have known about the hypothetical/potential danger of this virus before it was actually spreading widely among people.

Sorry, completely missed this thread!

@John_Dalton, I think you have a good point. It seems unreasonable to think that researchers understood the potential outcome right away.

I believe it is pretty safe to assume that China is covering up a lot of information about those affected by the virus (particularly the morbidity and mortality numbers) and possibly even the virus itself. While China (and other countries) would have obvious reasons to have official numbers much lower than actual numbers, the rest of the world can only make educated guesses about how much they are covering up about the virus and why.

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I kind of thought so, but I don’t know. I’ve seen articles that explain how it has some features of pangolin and bat-hosted viruses that make it particularly deadly. But could they have looked at it in advance and made some kind of determination that this virus was likely to be especially dangerous for those reasons? Or was that only really possible to assess in hindsight after it was clear that the virus was dangerous? If the latter is true, I would be more likely to believe the accidental release scenario, considering the Chinese didn’t seem to respond as if they had good knowledge that they were facing a serious threat. They could have known about the release, but believed it would just be “another virus” which they could contain without too much disruption. Anyway, just trying to think through it a bit.

As the resident virologist, let’s see what @Mercer thinks…

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I would agree with @John_Dalton’s take. If it did escape from a lab, negligence is the more likely story.

I also would suggest that no one would have guessed at or predicted the incredible contagiousness of this virus.

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Can you clarify the biochemical mechanisms that contribute to variation of contagiousness within a single virus class, such as Coronavirus?

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Not really, except that this one seems to be remarkably stable:
https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S2666-5247(20)30003-3
https://www.thelancet.com/cms/10.1016/S2666-5247(20)30003-3/attachment/34ed069e-7268-42ae-8627-df3aa869d81b/mmc1.pdf

IMO, it also would depend a lot on the infectious dose (which we quantify as an ID50), something that AFAIK hasn’t been checked (and really can’t be) carefully. That being said, the absence of discussion of dosages is disappointing, because it seems to leave laypeople with the incorrect idea that a single virion could be lethal.

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image

The expert scientists at Fox News have spoken…

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