Where did COVID-19 come from?

There is genetic evidence suggestive of human tinkering in the genome, and there are news stories suggesting the virus might have been developed either at the Wuhan Institute of Virology or at the American virology lab at Fort Detrick. There are even some suggestions that the American and Chinese bioweapons labs may be working together, sharing samples and exchanging funding.


Part 1: The Genetic Evidence

Preface

We rely on the scientific community as a context for almost every public policy decision. People who want to influence policy know this, and they don’t just lobby Congress, they also buy scientists, scientific reporting, and placement in prominent journals. Most scientists are honest, but they have to survive in a world where funding is tighter than it should be. It’s not surprising that some of them succumb and publish what powerful and corrupt institutions want them to.

The question of a laboratory origin for COVID is politically explosive, so we expect a heavy hand restraining the science establishment. Those of us seeking an honest answer, who have a little expertise, a little horse sense, and a lot of patience, are left to sift through information, misinformation, and disinformation in a politicized environment.

My personal opinion is that I don’t like having to wonder if global pandemics have been created, accidentally or otherwise, by my own government. Bioweapon research is extensive in several countries, but dominated by the US. The disclosed US budget is over $10 billion per year, and who knows what the black budget is. There is no legitimate purpose for this “research,” and it is illegal. No bioweapon can ever attack “enemies” without unacceptable risk of infecting “friends”. Over time, it is virtually certain that there will be leaks with horrific consequence. Lyme disease is a case in point.

Regardless of whether COVID19 came from a lab, we the people must demand disclosure of this secret “research”, and demand an end to the American bioweapons program in its entirety.

I know of no coalition organized to this end. We’ll have to start one.

Three useful books to get into this subject:

Bitten: The secret history of Lyme disease and biological weapons
Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control
Lab 257: The disturbing story of the government’s secret germ laboratory

Expert opinion

Here’s an interview by Dr Francis Boyle describing the big picture. Boyle is a professor of international law at University of Illinois with a history in both government and academia working on the limitation of biological weapons. In this interview he alleges:

  • The US program in biological weapons was jump started after WWII by giving a new home to Japanese and German scientists who had been doing horrific human experimentation.
  • These programs continue to this day, at Merck, U of NC, U of Texas, Harvard, NIH and elsewhere.
  • Anthony Fauci and NIAID have also been tied to sponsors of bioweapons research, specifically relating to making coronaviruses more lethal. Boyle sites this NYTimes article about the shift of NIAID money in 2001 to bioweapons applications.

    Wikipedia states: “Since the 2001 anthrax attacks, and the consequent expansion of federal bio-defense expenditures, USAMRIID has been joined at Fort Detrick by sister bio-defense agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (NIAID‘s Integrated Research Facility) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security…”
  • American bioweapons labs are sharing knowledge and specimens with foreign labs, including the high-security (BSL-4) Chinese installation at Wuhan.
  • Boyle believes that the origin of COVID was a Chinese-American research project, and that the proximate cause was an accidental release from the Wuhan facility.

Whoever knowingly develops, produces, stockpiles, transfers, acquires, retains, or possesses any biological agent, toxin, or delivery system for use as a weapon, or knowingly assists a foreign state or any organization to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both. 
The Bioweapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, authored and promoted by Prof Francis Boyle 

Since passage of this Act in 1989, offensive bioweapons research has been illegal in America. But Boyle claims that the research has continued under the guise of bioweapons defense or pandemic control. It is explicitly forbidden to genetically engineer pathogens for gain-of-function. That would mean deliberately making them more lethal or more contagious, or modifying an animal pathogen so that it is able to infect humans. Boyle charges that the most explicit violations have been outsourced to avoid technical violation of the Act, and some contracts have been with China.

This british news article claims NIAID gave a $3.7 million grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The Virology Institute is in the same city where COVID-19 was first reported and is reputed to be the largest center for bioweapons research in China.  Here is a 2017 article from PLOS that comes from the Wuhan Institute, describing genetic experiments with SARS virus extracted from bats. In acknowledgments of support, the authors list NIAID as a funder.

And here is an  article that appeared on the Web yesterday, titled Evidence SARS-CoV-2 Emerged From a Biological Laboratory in Wuhan, China. The article is unsigned, but contains only verifiable information in the public domain. It cites this article from 2007, in which Chinese researchers in collaboration with Australian researchers modify a bat coronavirus to enable it to infect humans. “A second paper, from 2015, not only reiterates the first paper’s findings, but outright claims they ‘synthetically re-derived an infectious full-length SHC014 recombinant virus and demonstrate robust viral replication both in vitro [human cell cultures] and in vivo [mouse models].”” Also in the anonymous article are recent job postings from the Wuhan lab, seeking researchers expert in bat virus and cross-species transmissions.

Not in this article, but also of interest, were a FEMA report from last summer that was eerily prescient. A job listing at CDC last November seemed to anticipate a coming need for emergency management. And a conference sponsored by Johns Hopkins University and the Gates foundation last October simulated a coronavirus outbreak that started in China and spread worldwide.

Where did COVID come from?

I don’t pretend to know the answer, and based on publicly-available information, I don’t think it is knowable. But there is genetic evidence suggestive of human tinkering in the genome, and there are news stories suggesting the virus might have been developed either at the Wuhan Institute of Virology or at the American virology lab at Fort Detrick. There are even some suggestions that the American and Chinese bioweapons labs may be working together, sharing samples and exchanging funding. I will defer these stories for Part 2 of this report.

The official story is that the origin of the epidemic was the “wet market” where meat and some wild livestock is sold to consumers in Wuhan. This hypothesis was challenged by an article in Lancet, summarized here in Science Magazine. The authors interviewed the first 41 known patients in Wuhan, who were assumed to have contracted COVID concurrently from “patient zero”. For 28 of them, there were links to the Market, either personal or through a family member, but for 13 of them, no links to the Market could be identified. In this neighborhood of Wuhan, most people did shop at the Market, so the authors were more impressed with the 13 who had no link, and suggested that 28 out of 41 could have been consistent with a random sample of people from that neighborhood.

Other sources claim that all 41 had links to the nearby Oriental Hotel, a short walk from the Market, and that Patient Zero was an American soldier/cyclist. I will have more to say in Part 2.

Is it plausible that the SARS-CoV2 mutated directly from a virus that infected local bats? For this question, I am dependent on evolutionary geneticists for an opinion, and there is a divergence of opinion on the scientific literature. Geneticists who say evidence points to a laboratory origin are typically cautious, but they make these points:

  • Wuhan is in central-eastern China. The bats that carry SARS come from Yunnan province in the southwest, about 1,000 miles away. It is known that the bats were collected for research on the SARS virus conducted at the Wuhan laboratory.
  • The genome has at least 4 gain-of-function mutations (if they are mutations) compared to the ancestor bat virus. Gain-of-function mutations are rare compared to loss-of-function, and usually the virus makes its leap when there is one gain-of-function. 
  • About a fourth of the genome looks nothing like a coronavirus, and must have arrived via genetic recombination. The recombined part bears a resemblance to HIV. Viral genome recombinations do occur in nature, but this one is particularly hard to explain, since HIV is a fragile virus that can’t survive outside human blood. How would it get into a bat virus? 

  • COVID has some pathological effects never before seen in a coronavirus, including attack on the GI tract and on artery walls. There are some reports that the virus’s lethality comes from its attack on hemoglobin, the red blood molecule that carries oxygen around the body. 

The claim that the four insertions look suspiciously like HIV was considered shaky, but it is supported just today by a testimonial from a French Nobel laureate. In 2008, Dr Luc Montagnier was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for having discovered (much earlier) the HIV virus that causes AIDS. In this radio interview (in French) with Dr Jean-François Lemoine, Montagnier expresses his conviction that the SARS-CoV2 genome points to a laboratory origin. 

“Indian researchers have already tried to publish the results of the analyses that showed that this coronavirus genome contained sequences of another virus, … the HIV virus, but they were forced to withdraw their findings as the pressure from the mainstream was too great.”

Against these analyses, there is one prominent article in Nature Medicine that claims to “irrefutably” rule out a laboratory origin. Their basis for saying this is

  1. That computations suggest that the virus’s surface proteins are not ideal for binding to a human enzyme called ACE2, and that if the virus were designed in a lab, the designers would certainly have found the ideal solution, and used that instead.
  2. That the backbone of the virus contains a piece that looks like a pangolin virus, and the pangolin virus genome wasn’t published until very recently, so lab scientists could not have used it. 

(The pangolin is a rare, endangered species of armored anteater. It looks a bit like an armadillo.)

I’m always suspicious when scientists use words like “irrefutably” and “definitive”. But, more objectively, I would point out that none of the four bullet points above were refuted or even considered in the Nature Medicine paper.

There is also a statement in Lancet signed by 27 researchers which was prominently echoed in Science Magazine that “strongly condemns rumors and conspiracy theories”, without refuting any of the geneticists’ claims. They cite dozens of papers that they say support a natural origin, but, reviewing these papers, I find that they rather assume a natural origin. In fact several of the papers note difficulties with this hypothesis. One of the papers concludes on the basis of evolutionary models that, if SARS-CoV2 evolved naturally from a bat ancestor, it must have diverged at least 40 years ago. This is difficult to reconcile with the story that SARS-CoV2 jumped from bats to humans just last year.

My personal perspective inclines me to think the Lancet statement is politically motivated. I find it suspicious that prominent scientific publications have seen fit to deny claims that COVID had a laboratory origin, but none have refuted the considered details of those claims.

The US Military has been studying Coronaviruses as bioweapons 

It is undisputed that the US has an extensive bioweapons “research” program, and that modifying Coronaviruses to make them more dangerous is part of their program of work.

Here is the first person account of Judy Mikovits, who claims she worked in the 1990s at Fort Detrick, an Army biology lab in Maryland. Part of her job was to weaponize coronaviruses. This work was ongoing and controversial as late as 2015. President Obama approved and extended the programs. Three years ago, Nature reported that “the SARS virus has escaped from high level containment facilities in Beijing multiple times”. Only in China? Also in 2017, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce requested from CDC information about leaks from similar research facilities in the US, and they got back a 503-page document with all specifics redacted.

Conclusions

I find it suspicious that the debate over whether COVID came from a laboratory is being avoided with ad hominem attacks, blanket denials, and straw man arguments. I’m impressed that the people who are supporting a laboratory origin have promptly corrected their misstatements, while I see no such willingness on the other side.

The totality of evidence for the hypothesis is not conclusive. The most compelling evidence I see is 

    • Bats that are reputed to be source of the virus are found naturally more than 1,000 miles from Wuhan, but we know that the Wuhan Laboratory was studying just these bats and just this virus, and further that they were experimenting with modifying the spike protein that the virus uses for entry, to make it compatible with human ACE2. 
    • The virus gained several new abilities on emerging from bats. Usually, we would expect just one.
    • Closely related to this, the genome shows four RNA segments that differ substantially from the bat ancestor where, again, we would expect just one.
    • Genetic analysis indicates that the divergence from bats happened decades ago, and yet the disease only appeared in humans recently.

I take Francis Boyle’s testimony quite seriously. He’s a career expert in biological warfare. Luc Montagnier is as credible a source as they come, but I don’t know what to make of how certain he seems about genetic evidence that others have said is inconclusive.

In Part 2, I hope to tie in American bioweapons research. Linking the American and Chinese bioweapons programs seems stranger than science. Teaser: Evidence suggests that SARS-CoV2 has been in America longer than it has been in China.

57 thoughts on “Where did COVID-19 come from?

  1. Thank you for daring to share your perspectives, Josh. I look forward to a spirited debate that will lead to the truth.

    • Absolute truth will never be revealed for much of the concerns expressed in the essay, and the best we can hope for is a preponderance of evidence. For example, can you imagine in your wildest dreams that either the Chinese or American government would admit to experimenting with new bioweapons, or to accidentally setting them free? Assuming it is true, even if an unpatriotic rogue truth-teller were to reveal the entire sociopathy with documented evidence, denial would prevail and that person would go down as a ridiculous conspiracy theorist, with no prosecution of the guilty. The entire legislature would fall in line, and anyone who dared bring it up would be excluded from that honorable cabal.

  2. Bravo, Dr. Mitteldorf! You “enjoy” a rare combination of bravery, objectivity, education, compassion and skepticism.

    Looking at the March 17 Nature correspondence, we see a very conclusive dismissal of any remote possibility of engineered origin in the introductory summary. …But if one simply takes the time to read through, we see serious hedging that calls into question validity of the entire piece, when it says: “It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of a related SARS-CoV-like coronavirus.” If there were no political motivation, why didn’t the introduction phrase it this way, instead of falsely dismissing the possibility forever and always. Propaganda wearing a lab coat!

    • It came to me at midnight that I must disclose my work with Josh on his DataBETA Research Study. I have been paid for about 200 hours of consulting over the last right months by the associated nonprofit. I hope you will trust that my admiration for this man far pre-dated this association by many years

  3. Hi Josh!
    I share your opinion to generally distrust „absolutes“ – especially in science. I think people should always be open-minded enough to consider alternative possibilities. Just yesterday I found an interesting documentary about this topic which discusses the possibilty that the virus might have escaped the Wuhan lab. I‘ll share you its link here in case you are interested.

    https://youtu.be/Le_rfTdayLs

    Another (but quite extensive) article I found is this one here- I talks about the corona virus research in China

    https://archive.fo/QIBmE#selection-477.106-477.113

    Best regards and stay healthy!

    Cynthia

  4. HAHA I am always skeptical of claims that are labeled “undisputed”.

    “It is undisputed that the US has an extensive bioweapons “research” program, and that modifying Coronaviruses to make them more dangerous is part of their program of work.”

  5. Interesting. I wonder if it’s possible to find out for sure where the virus came from. My guess is no. If it came from a lab in Wuhuan that would explain why the Chinese authorities put in so severe lock-downs. You can speculate but we need hard evidence or we turn into conspiracy nutcases.

  6. Thank you Josh for this courageous post.
    I found interesting these parts of the paper in Nature Medicine which to me look like smoothing its reportedly “irrefutable” character:
    “…It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of a related SARS-CoV-like coronavirus….”
    “…However, the genetic data irrefutably show that SARS-CoV-2 is not derived from any previously used virus backbone20…”
    “…Although the evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 is not a purposefully manipulated virus, it is currently impossible to prove or disprove the other theories of its origin described here. However, since we observed all notable SARS-CoV-2 features, including the optimized RBD and polybasic cleavage site, in related coronaviruses in nature, we do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible.
    More scientific data could swing the balance of evidence to favor one hypothesis over another….”

  7. “Life is not an opportunistic happenstance that took advantage of a set of arbitrary rules of physics to construct a self-reproducing hypercycle of chemical catalysts, primed to transform itself by the laws of chance and competition for resources into a diverse community of “forms most beautiful and wonderful”.”

    https://joshmitteldorf.scienceblog.com/2019/12/31/the-scientific-world-view-needs-an-update/

    No, Apparently it was engineered in a lab n Wuhan.

        • Josh,

          If you look at older posts on my own blog, you could find speculations very similar to yours that you presented in the Scientific World-view post. Maybe I’m changing as I get older but I’m getting more and more skeptical about a lot of those things but especially about paranormal claims.

          I’m still willing to entertain some offbeat notions – see my consciousness as electromagnetic field posts – but there just seems to me to be far too much bad science in much of what gets cited by proponents of the paranormal and supernatural. Also, too much wishful thinking and finding facts to fit a preconceived worldview.

          I’ve had quite a number of altered reality experiences. If you go back to Leary, he said the main determinants of the experience were set and setting. So it seems to be much of life. We tend to see what we want to see in the context we’re seeing it. Whether we can move beyond that I don’t know, but I would like too.

  8. The paper, which was posted on the preprint website bioRxiv (pronounced “bio-archive”) on Jan. 31, claimed to have identified very short “insertions” in the virus’ protein sequence that had an “uncanny similarity” to HIV. Numerous scientists, however, almost immediately pointed out flaws in the analysis, noting that the sequences are so short, they match a bevy of other organisms — and there’s no reason to conclude they derive from HIV. The paper was voluntarily withdrawn by its authors just two days later, with one saying, “It was not our intention to feed into the conspiracy theories and no such claims are made here.”

    “The HIV study, he said, was a “misunderstanding of how to perform these types of analyses” that also cherry-picked its findings. The short proteins the Indian scientists found to be similar to HIV are not from HIV at all, Andersen said, but are the result of the natural evolution of coronaviruses. “Had the authors compared nCoV to related bat viruses (and not just SARS as they did),” he wrote, “they would have realized that the peptides are also present in the bat viruses — and most certainly don’t come from HIV.”

    As for the general notion that the virus has been bioengineered, there’s no evidence that’s true. On the contrary, as we’ve explained before, all lines of evidence point to the virus coming from an animal. That’s consistent with what scientists have learned about the ecology of coronaviruses in the last 20 years, Sheahan said, including SARS and MERS — and it fits with the fact that the virus shares 96% of its genome with a bat virus.

    https://www.factcheck.org/2020/02/baseless-conspiracy-theories-claim-new-coronavirus-was-bioengineered/

    • Yes – that’s what I cited when I said this charge was “shaky”. The connection to HIV was reiterated yesterday by a Nobel laureate, credited with discovering HIV in the 1980s. That doesn’t mean that it is correct.

      • In response to James Cross that the viral sequence insertions are too short and that everything points to natural origin…

        Nobody said it had to be actively „engineered“. If you have bats , which are the natural reservoir,, at the research lab and infect/transfect animal and human cells with it, the virus will mutate and adapt to them. Then you just choose by „artificial selection“ the mutant that best serves your „needs“ and voilá! You could also infect a bat or cultured cells with the original bat virus and the SARS-cov-1 virus to create a recombination event.

        To peolpe from the outside who try to analyze it, it would still look completely natural because you could still trace the phylogenetic origins and the newly acquired mutations when you made it jump from species to species in the Lab.

  9. From somebody who works with the Wuhan Lab.

    PETER DASZAK: Look, first, the idea that this virus escaped from a lab is just pure baloney. It’s simply not true. I’ve been working with that lab for 15 years. And the samples collected were collected by me and others in collaboration with our Chinese colleagues. They’re some of the best scientists in the world. There was no viral isolate in the lab. There was no cultured virus that’s anything related to SARS coronavirus 2. So it’s just not possible.

    And like you say, it’s really a politicization of the origins of a pandemic, and it’s really unfortunate. The stories, as President Trump said he’s been hearing, have been around since day one of the outbreak, and they’re around in every outbreak. Every single outbreak of a novel virus, somebody somewhere says, “Well, this has been manufactured in a lab.” In fact, a few weeks ago, when this started circulating, I googled ”HIV is man-made.” Do it yourself and see. There are people out there who still believe this is a bioengineered virus that spread around the world. It’s just really unfortunate. And I don’t really know why these conspiracy theories get such traction. I think the people just have trouble understanding what’s going on on the planet.

    https://www.alternet.org/2020/04/pure-baloney-zoologist-debunks-trumps-covid-19-origin-theory-explains-how-animal-human-transmission-works-2/

    • How is this credible, James, given that such work, if it exists, is most certainly highly classified? If you had such clearance, you would be forbidden from speaking about it, and if you do not, you would not be privy to it. …And it seems that everyone outside the insiders acknowledges that it does exist, and that “defense” research has significantly included corona virus. Notably, you do not refute the Plum Island “conspiracy theory.”

      • I just found an interesting article that SARS-cov-2 is able to infect T-Cells:

        “Surprisingly, over several replicates, we saw that the T-cell lines were significantly more sensitive to SARS-CoV-2 infection when compared with SARS-CoV (Fig. 1c). In other words, these results tell us that T lymphocytes may be more permissive to SARS-CoV-2 infection and less permissive for SARS-CoV infection, similar to the findings in a previous study.6 Therefore, it is plausible that the S protein of SARS-CoV-2 might mediate potent infectivity, even on cells expressing low hACE2, which would, in turn, explain why the transmission rate of SARS-CoV-2 is so high. It is also possible that other receptors mediate the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into T cells, such as CD147, present on the surface of T lymohocytes,8 which was recently reported to be a novel invasive route for SARS-CoV-2”

        … I wonder if the Insertions similar to HIV conferred it this new ability as the SARS-cov-1 was shown to not be quite successful in infecting T-Cells.

        https://www.nature.com/articles/s41423-020-0424-9

  10. @James,

    but there is a statistics issue here. What are the chances that the origin of the first global pandemia occurs just on the side of one bio manipulation lab?.

    There are animals across the whole word. However, on the side of one of the few facilities in the world able to engineering monster virus occurs the jump from animals to humans. Very strange.

    • yes, this is one of the strongest points to believe in a natural origin. It’s something that happens from time to time.

      The main difference now, not related to the origin of the virus, is that for the first time in history, the whole of humanity is being affected. Of course, I’m not considering events that could have happened when there were a bunch of humans in Africa.

  11. ‘In 2004, researchers…discovered yet another property of nitric oxide: It killed coronaviruses…that leapt from bats to humans and sparked the 2003 epidemic…better known as SARS…The story ended there…The SARS epidemic was quashed in eight months, and nobody tested anymore.’ https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-04-05/viagra-discovery-could-treat-coronavirus-patients. I wonder if ventilators have been killing people with healthy lungs. What if COVID-19 causes mountain climber’s sickness, called high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE)? Hyperbolic chamber therapy works but ventilators injure lungs and can kill when treating HAPE. HAPE causes severe complications and death to people with diabetes, which explains younger people with obesity and diabetes having a high mortality rate when exposed to COVID-19.

    • Good observation, Sal.

      Hyperbaric oxygen is being used as an adjunct therapy to treat severe and fragile Covid 19 patients, who have been evaluated for comorbities

      Regarding intubation causing issues: There was an EMT on television stating that Covid was causing PTSD among the EMTs because they would bring a patient in with low oxygen who appeared to be able to survive if treated quickly.

      However, in the emergency room the doctors would intubate them, and then the patient would suddenly die, right before their eyes.

      Perhaps the patient’s lungs were too friable and the intubation caused massive bleeding or inflammation.

      I think the doctors have already realized this because they are now using BPAP on many of the patients, a.k.a.( bilevel positive airway pressure machines,) on patients who can not breathe on their own.

      There is presently a trial to use inhaled nitric oxide on covid 19 patients.

      https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200409/nitric-oxide-investigated-as-covid19-treatment

      For those whom can breathe on their own, they are using a nasal canula to supply oxygen for them to breathe because some people simply have low oxygen levels while maintaining the ability to inhale and exhale somewhat normally.

      Also elevating nitric oxide levels makes sense as a possible Covid 19 prophylaxis because it protects the endothelium of the blood vessels and other tissues and keeps them supple. Stiff vessels contribute to hypertension among other things.

      “Nitric oxide has antii-inflammatory properties by inhibiting the synthesis and expression of cytokines and cell adhesion molecules that attract inflammatory cells to the surface of the endotheiliel and facilitate their entrance into the vessel wall”

      L-arginine and L-citrulline can be used to produce nitric oxide in your body.

      But, the L Arginine enzymatically degrades, because of an arginase enzyme, quickly, and therefore only a small amount of nitric oxide is made from those two precursors, unless large doses are taken throughout the day.

      Also, older people have an increase in the arginase anzyme that degrades Arginine. Less L Arginine available decreases formation of nitric oxide levels.

      Perhaps this is one reason why Covid 19 hits the elderly harder.

      Apparently coupling a longer lasting form of L-Arginine, known as, Inositol-stabilized Arginine Silicate [as Nitrosigine,] with Aronia berries stablizes the arginine and degreases the arginase enzyme, and enables a person to take a lower dose of L Arginine that will also enable nitric oxide to last longer in the body.

      Also polyphenols from Aronia berries have been shown to increase activation of an enzyme called endothelial nitric oxide synthase that is responsible for producing nitric oxide from arginine.

      So coupling the Stabilized Arginine and the Aronia berry may be worth a try to increase nitric oxide levels, as a PREVENTIVE to acquiring Covid.

      In addition: Endothelial dysfunction can be caused by several conditions, including diabetes or metabolic syndrome, hypertension, smoking, and physical inactivity.

      Healthy endothelium not only facilitates endothelium-dependent vasodilation, but also actively suppresses thrombosis, vascular inflammation, and hypertrophy.

      So it is also interesting that those with diabetes and hypertension seem to succumb faster to Covid. And Covid patients have more blood clotting issues.

      Just some things to think about.

  12. You should read the Daszak interview if you want to think about statistics.

    “And we estimate there are 1.7 million unknown viruses in wildlife, so there’s a lot of diversity out there that could emerge in the future.”

    Most of the recent pandemic threatening viruses have come from bats and most likely this one did too. Read the explanation.

  13. I’m not going to censor comments by “James Cross” or take away his permission to post here, but I do want to refer my readers to the fact that the largest single contributor to editing Wikipedia is named “James Cross”, and that there are so many such entries that I have to imagine a team of James Crosses working full-time. The theme of the James Cross Wikipedia entries is overwhelmingly to support established political and scientific narratives, and to discredit those who doubt them.

    I believe that information management in America is serious business, not just at mainstream print and broadcast media, where CIA has admitted having placed its own people as “reporters” and “analysts”, but also in social media and in spaces like this one.
    https://www.wired.com/2007/08/wiki-tracker/
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-security-wikipedia-idUSN1642896020070816

    At the moment, I can’t find articles that specifically talk about “James Cross” at Wikipedia, but perhaps there are readers who can help me.

    • I find the “James Cross” posts an important part of the discussion. If conversations get too one sided, they invite dismissal. The “bioweapons origin of SAR-2” is an extraordinary claim and requires extraordinary evidence. Hopefully the continued debate will keep digging until it reveals something concrete.

      • If “James Cross” is indeed seeking truth, and not deliberately obfuscating it, that’s fine, but given previously expressed concern about inconsistencies in “his” post, then discovery of “his” brow-furrowing history, who can think of “him” as an an honest participant in our debate?

        BTW, I applaud Josh for exposing, not banning or censoring this suspicious post. We have here a pathogen that is best purged by bright light.

        • Walter,

          Josh apparently has discovered nothing about my history.

          What he has done is take his preconceived idea that somebody who disagrees with his conspiracy theory must work for the CIA and then tried to find evidence to match it. The only match he found was a name, but I’m not even clear where he found that since he admits he can’t find articles at Wikipedia referencing my name. That there may be some referencing a “James Cross” would not be surprising, but I am unaware of any references to me at all.

          If he did any serious research on me, he would find that I am retired software developer who lives in Atlanta, GA, and has recently worked as contractor for Cox Media, SunTrust Bank, Nexidia, and, as an employee, T-Mobile.

          Even a brief perusal of my blog would show I mainly write recently mainly on electromagnetic theories of consciousness (hardly established position) and various theories relating to human origins.

          https://broadspeculations.com/

          The fact that he would jump to such unfounded conclusions with so little research and so little makes me wonder what is going on in his own head.

          • James, I most certainly don’t want to demean you unjustly, but you have still not addressed my original concern.

            You stated “…the idea that this virus escaped from a lab is just pure baloney. It’s simply not true. I’ve been working with that lab for 15 years. And the samples collected were collected by me and others in collaboration with our Chinese colleagues.” I responded that if you indeed had such inside knowledge, it would be classified and you would not be allowed to frankly speak about it, and that if you do not have such clearances, you would not know about what is going on, and not in a position to call such claims “pure baloney.”

          • Walter,

            Did you click the link?

            I am quoting Dr. Peter Daszak.

            “Dr. Peter Daszak is with us. He’s a disease ecologist, the president of EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit that works globally to identify and study our vulnerabilities to emerging infectious disease. EcoHealth Alliance has been studying coronaviruses in China since the end of the SARS outbreak in 2004.”

          • BTW, I think it is dubious that bioweapons work would be going on at a publicly known facility that has been in existence for over 50 years and with strong associations with American and Canadian universities. If China is doing bioweapons work (and it may be), it would not likely be doing it in such a known facility but would be doing it in a secret facility.

            Also, corona virus would not seem to a likely path for a bioweapon since it leaves too many people alive. Anthrax types of contagions are more lethal. Or, weapons attacking crops or livestock would be better choices.

            For that matter, bioweapons are difficult to deploy and once deployed difficult to control and there probably is little likelihood that their full effects along with blowback from their usage could be predicted. Cyber sabotage makes a lot more sense and, as we know, has been used extensively by the Russians as well as the US.

            Interestingly, the Russians, the Iranians, and the Chinese are all claiming the US created it as a bioweapon but that isn’t likely either in my view.

            Every major outbreak of new disease has conspiracy theorists claiming it is the bioweapon.

          • James – Thanks for the biographical information. I did look up jimcross.com, and found only a shell of a blog from the past. I just now looked for you at broadspeculations.com, and found a link to a proprietary web site where the biography was supposed to be. If you’d like to link to a CV, I’d be interested to see. I’m ready to be convinced it’s just a coincidence that your name was used by a team of paid trolls who are censoring Wikipedia.
            – Josh

          • Josh,

            I was getting ready to post the link to jimcross.com too but then I realized I had never fully added back the content I had when I used a previous provider after I moved the site to WordPress. That’s some I’ve been meaning to do. Maybe in a day or two I’ll throw some stuff on the site and post a link back to do.

            You’re going to find my career since about 1980 has all been in IT in Atlanta, GA. I go back to the time when we were excited to upgrade from 8 MB to 12 MB (not misprints) RAM on the mainframe that filled a huge room with raised floors and disk drives the size of washing machines.

          • James, it appears that I misjudged you, and it is noble of you to persist in straightening things out. It is always open season on dubious ideas and activities, but attacks against persons are forbidden in my code of conduct. If that line was crossed, it was because of doubt about your true identity.

            There is still reason to suspect bioweapon shenanigans behind today’s plague, but a little less so thanks to your contribution herein. I look forward to learning from you in the future, and apologize for casting inappropriate aspersions your way.

    • Josh,

      For the record, I have never edited a single Wikipedia entry.

      Actually I am hardly a supporter of established political and scientific narratives. You can click on the link to my blog to see that.

      My politics is very much to the left. I am very skeptical of anything that comes out of the CIA.

      On the other hand, we really should ask where the conspiracy theories that are this post originate?

      The blame shifting White House who completely botched this response and is desperate for some one else to blame – the WHO, the governors, the Chinese, anybody but them.

      The Russians who want this President reelected and want to sow more chaos in the West.

      The right wing nuts at Breitbart and Fox News who want this mess of an Administration to continue to serve the rich.

      • I’m happy to see your calm and reasoned responses to the idea that there is a conspiracy at work.

        Today, I saw a Judy Mikovits link in Josh’s blog used as supporting evidence.

        It affirms a growing discomfort I’ve felt about this blog.

        • After seeing JC’s post, I reread the blog post, to see if perhaps I missed some hair-brained conspiracy theories presented by Josh, and there were none. Everything speculative was backed by evidence, and much of the uncontested evidence (e.g., that the bats blamed are not naturally found anywhere near Wuhan) is indeed alarming and suggests dangerous behavior at the expense of a society that does not approve of it.

          Perhaps the heart of the problem is America’s secret classification of so much important information. Expressed suspicions, claims and counterclaims here would wash away immediately if we felt secure in being kept abreast of critical information. Instead, through leaks by people who are typically hounded and prosecuted, and skeptical analysis by credible polymaths like Josh, we know for certain that unacceptable behavior has repeatedly been secretly funded and that our tax dollars have been repeatedly used to misinform us.

  14. I am glad to see you back after a long pause, Josh!

    More evidence that pulsed Yamanaka factors can regenerate aged human cells from Rando lab:

    Transient non-integrative expression of nuclear reprogramming factors promotes multifaceted amelioration of aging in human cells

    • Thanks a lot for sharing this article. It seems very promising!
      I wonder if it is possible to use this technique in vivo, on normal being, and not genetically modified ones.
      I am not an expert on the field, but of all the different approaches to fight aging (CR, senescent cells clearing, drugs, stem cells transplant) it seems to me the most ambitious and efficient.

      • Hi Patricio,

        this is so fantastic about this research that they used primary human cells that were not genetically modified. They only transfected them with RNA which is rather similar to a viral infection.
        The only thing making this experiment non natural is that they used cells cultured in a dish with bovine serum. Cell culturing makes a cell behave rather diffrenently than in a living tissue, especially with regards to ageing.

        All in all I believe the technology is there to deliver these factors to a living human body, but of course the efficency would be very small and the approach could be extremely risky.

        I always like to say that I see the way forward as culturing some cells from our body, rejuvenating them in a dish then reintegrating them into our body as adult stem cells.
        I think the last point is where we have the weakest results.

  15. The following suggests based on statistical analysis alone that COVID-19 most certainly came out of that Wuhan lab.

    https://medium.com/handwaving-freakoutery/the-covid-19-boogaloo-opus-51b1c1b860cd

    However, this does not mean it was developed as a bio-weapon. Instead, it is most certainly was developed as part of a larger effort to develop vaccines against all kinds of SARS-like emerging zoonotic viruses. I think it got due to to nothing more than a lab accident.

    Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to screwing up.

    • That is what I was thinking,too. They might have been studying different types of bat coronaviruses in their Lab, creating recombination events as I pointed out in a previous comment:

      If you have the natural reservoir, at the research lab and infect/transfect animal and human cells with the original virus, the virus will mutate and adapt to the new host cells. You could also infect a bat or cultured cells with the original bat virus and the SARS-cov-1 virus at once to create a recombination event.

      Personally, I don’t think it was really purposefully engineered and much less as a Bioweapon per se – a virus with a death rate of about 3,4% wouldn‘t be the best choice. On the other hand you could still use it as a weapon to destroy a country‘s economy. To me, it is more likely that it was a giant screw up, as it would not be the first time that a SARS-virus escaped a chinese lab – they had incidents before, but could be contained in time.

  16. I watched another interview of Prof. Montagner’s video (in French):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=qSWCLHIOiMo&app=desktop
    I am not a geneticist and I am not sure I understand it correctly but a couple of points retained my attention:
    – The RNA sequences of HIV in the COV genome cannot be purely random. They bring genetic information which can be used if the scope of the manipulation is for example to build up a vaccine against HIV and target specific cell receptors.
    – Are there HIV antibodies in the patients affected by the Codid-19?
    – The HIV sequence region is mutating much faster than the other regions as reportedly after tests made on patients which were sequenced in Seattle. This can be driven by a natural elimination processes, sort of genetic harmonization. Those regions might be disappearing by genetic deletion processes.
    – Assuming the pathogenicity of SARS-Cov-2 is linked to those on-purpose manipulations, the trend should be toward a fast decrease in severe pathogenicity. This should be tested by continuing virus isolation and testing.
    – Hugely important to respect ethics rules.
    Maybe Josh’s post brought back what maybe too fast we dismissed as hardly credible. What if this is just an accident of huge consequences to be kept in secrecy for obvious reasons? “Only the small secrets need to be protected. The big ones are kept secret by public incredulity.” (Marshall McLuhan)

    • See this rebuttal of Montagner.

      https://www.europeanscientist.com/en/big-data/no-sars-cov-2-does-not-contain-hiv-genetic-code/

      “Per BLAST, “no significant similarity was found”. In plain English, SARS-CoV-2 is not made of the bat coronavirus and small bits of the HIV virus”.

      “Now, are there any sequences of HIV-1 that would be “vaguely” similar to some other sequences of SARS-CoV-2 if we changed the criterion?

      The answer is obviously yes as both viruses have a glycoprotein envelope. Even though if they belong to two completely different families – HIV is a lentivirus while SARS is a coronavirus – the two viruses are bound to have “something” in common.

      In fact, this is what we can prove using BLAST”

      “Through two radically different kinds of reasoning, the authors of Nature’s article and the BLAST software lead us to the same inescapable conclusion that the SARS-CoV-2 is likely a product of nature, born out of Darwinian selection”.

      • Yes, have seen that link. Actually I posted it before seeing your but my latest post is maybe still being accepted by moderator.

  17. It will be interesting to see if the paper from the researchers from India will be resubmitted again after withdraw and they will answer critics.
    On the other side, there is a Feb 4 published article in Emerging Microbes & Infections: “Our results demonstrated no evidence that the sequences of these four inserts are HIV-1 specific or the 2019-nCoV viruses obtain these insertions from HIV-1”
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/22221751.2020.1727299
    and an interesting article on April 18:
    “So professor Montagnier is right? While no proteinic sequence of HIV-1 is present in SARS-CoV-2, a tiny bit of the SARS-CoV-2 genome is in fact about 85% similar to a bit of the HIV-1 genome? Does this not prove his point? No.
    In fact, the genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 that encodes its lipidic envelope, while it looks a bit like that of HIV-1, is also part of many other viruses. In particular, it is also present in the Human Coronavirus 229E (which gives the common cold) or in the Human Coronavirus OC43 (also a variant of the common cold). This is interesting because both viruses were discovered well before the HIV. A molecular clock analysis using spike and nucleocapsid genes dates the most recent common ancestor of all genotypes of these viruses to the 1950s.”
    https://www.europeanscientist.com/en/big-data/no-sars-cov-2-does-not-contain-hiv-genetic-code/
    Hard trying to build up an opinion…

  18. WHO IS DYING FROM CORONA?

    50% of those dying from Corona are aged over 85, and 92% of those dying from Corona are aged over 65. Therefore, it seems that age is a major factor.

    WHY ARE THE OLD DYING FROM CORONA?

    The Thymus is the gland in your body responsible for supplying T cells for your immune system. As we age, our Thymus is progressively converted into useless fat tissue (a process called thymic involution). Typically, by the time a person is 80 years old only 2% of the thymus remains, so their immune system is massively diminished. This would explain why aged people have much less defence against Covid, and why most of the fatalities are of people over 65.

    WILL VACCINES BE EFFECTIVE IN THE OLD?

    If a person has no immune system, or an immune system that is diminished, then exposure to the antigens in a vaccine will not result in the development of antibodies. Obviously, having an immune system is a necessary condition for any vaccine to work.

    Consequently, a Corona Vaccine will be unlikely to protect those amongst the aged who already have diminished immunity due to thymic involution.

    THERE IS A SOLUTION

    The ONLY POSSIBLE SOLUTION is to regenerate the Thymus. Dr Greg Fahy discovered that there is a simple way of reversing Thymic Involution, restoring the Thymus to a more youthful state. He discovered that human growth hormone is able to restore the thymus.

    In a second experiment, he used Arginine in place of human growth hormone. Arginine is a single amino acid that is able to stimulate the production of human growth hormone in the body. Arginine is available in most health shops, and is taken orally.

    Here is a link to his work – https://antiaginghacks.net/blogs/podcast/scientist-reversed-aging-humans​

    Billions have been spent on finding a Corona Vaccine – but here is a solution that is readily available NOW and costs only a few pounds.

    WORRIES ABOUT GOVERNMENT INTENTIONS

    What is odd is why the vast body of government scientists are overlooking the above, and instead are intent on spending billions on a novel RNA vaccine, that will not work unless the Thymus is regenerated anyway. I suppose that there is simply no money in Thymus regeneration, whilst there are billions in developing something that is new (and therefore patentable), regardless of its effectiveness.

    A SCARY STRATEGY

    Vaccines are only effective in those with good immune systems – i.e. in the young and healthy – vaccines will not work in the old. So, Mr Gates argues that the young and healthy must be vaccinated in order to prevent the virus spreading to the old. Unfortunately, this strategy exposes the entire population of young, healthy people to antigens, regardless of the fact that they are in perfectly good health. Worse still, the vaccine proposed is an RNA vaccine that could possibly have auto-immune effects in the long-term.

    The healthy young should not be exposed to vaccines when they are in no danger. Such a strategy would expose them to unnecessary risk and complications. Rather than aiming to infect the youth with antigens, we should aim to boost the immunity of the old.

    I have started a WhatsApp group, to help scientists share information. We are currently 50 scientists in training – comprising chemists, pharmacological scientists, biologists, geneticists and computer scientists.

    To join, you can use this link – ​https://chat.whatsapp.com/Jan5iY7jRSY8LwgEJPGO6y​

  19. Pingback: Three pieces on the likelihood that the new coronavirus WAS concocted in a lab (3) – NEWS FROM UNDERGROUND

  20. One of the problems in attempting to determine the origin of the pandemic, in my opinion, are preconceive ideas. The number one preconceived idea is that the world just started with the first reported case of COVID-19. Few, in my experience, have taken stock of the history of the US biological warfare development and use-naively believing the Government’s statements whenever it gets caught, “We no longer do that!” The various prohibitions against the development and storage of biological weapons have always been opposed by the US establishment and the research and testing of agents has continued unabated. As a result of the latest prohibition, the solution was to move the work offshore with the creation of numerous weapons labs in other countries that either thought such research might benefit them of who accepted the bribes.
    So, if the history of the issue is researched, we find that following WWII, the US took over the knowledge and work of the infamous Japanese General whose staff conducted and carried out biological weapons testing and use on the Chinese population and on prisoners of war. He was granted immunity from prosecution for war crimes in exchange. The US Government immediately began developing that knowledge and used it on the people of Korea during the US war of aggression against them (the findings of an international group of experts who travelled there to investigate was just recently published. The US added to its stable by squirrelling Nazi scientists who were experts in biological and chemical weapons to the US (known as Operation Paperclip).
    Since then the US military and CIA have been developing, testing and using biological weapons when they find it useful, on both citizens of the US and other countries.
    Initially, the weapons program involved collecting candidate agents and selecting prodigy that passed between humans easier and that was more lethal.
    But with the development of the knowledge of proteins and DNA/RNA sequencing and splicing, viruses can now be created from scratch.
    Based on the scientific principle of Occam’s Razor the it should be assumed that this was the work of the US. The issue of intentional or accidental is a different issue, but history also sheds light on what is most likely.
    The view of many that, “The US would not do such a thing?” also is the result of a lack of knowledge of the history, coupled with the childish acceptance of, “Yes, we used to do that but we no longer do!”, an excuse long ago worn threadbare by facts.
    There is also another issue, it was early on reported that there had been more than one strain of the virus released and that was seemingly verified by the State of Washington sequencing the first cases and finding that one came from China while another came from Europe. Additionally, the French reported that there were multiple patient zeros who were not connected in time or place. Since neither was addressing the issue of responsibility for the virus they seem to be relevant facts in the puzzle.
    As someone above noted, no government would admit such a deed. However, we also know that despite all the attempts to the contrary, the truth often eventually sees the light of day.

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