Investigating the origin of SARS-CoV-2: Interview with Professor Richard Ebright/Independent Science News

This interview is from late March, but has not gotten the attention it deserves.  Professor Ebright is extremely knowledgeable about the issue of biosafety in high containment labs and about high risk (aka Gain of Function aka biological warfare research).

Here is a taste of the interview:

… The Open Letter explains in detail the structural and functional limitations of the WHO-China Wuhan collaborative team: exclusive Chinese field work, lack of complete access to lab installations or databases, consensus process in report making…

A credible investigation would have had Terms of Reference that: 1) Acknowledged the possibility of laboratory origin, 2) Ensured access of investigators to records, samples, personnel, and facilities at the Wuhan laboratories that handle bat SARS-related coronaviruses, 3) Enabled collection of evidence, not mere meet-and-greet photo-ops, 4) Authorized an investigation of months, not mere days. And 5) A credible investigation also would have had conflict-of-interest-free investigators, not persons who were subjects of the research and/or closely associated with subjects of the investigation.

You have said several times that this WHO mission was literally “a charade”.

Yes, its members were willing –and, in at least one case, enthusiastic– participants in disinformation.

The pre-negotiated “Terms of Reference” for the WHO study did not even acknowledge the possibility of a laboratory origin of the virus and did not even mention the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), the Wuhan Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products….

——————

The reason the origin story has gotten so much attention lately is due to the indefatigable work of about a dozen people originally.  The group has slowly expanded to 28, some of whom are identified only by their Twitter handles.

These people, who openly and collaboratively solved many pieces of the Covid origin puzzle, are the DRASTIC group of armchair researchers (and some are academics) from around the world.  Here is an easy read about these heroes of mine.

Alina J Chan, a well-spoken post-doc at the Broad Institute of MIT, has been invaluable at conveying information about what is being learned to the public.

While the well-paid academic virologists buttoned their lips to avoid the risk of future reductions in grant monies to their field, the above heroes often risked their careers to bring the truth to light.  Careers have been lost. The heroes knew they were working on something that is bigger than themselves. 

Let’s not take all the gains from this year of investigation and settle on the most likely narrative, which seems to be a lab leak from Wuhan.  We need to continue to struggle for every nugget of truth and keep travelling down this rabbit hole to its very source, wherever it leads, in order that something like this pandemic never happens again.

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yvette
yvette
1 year ago

This whole side of it is fascinating. I recently learned about the DRASTIC team who have been looking into this for a year + now:

https://www.cnet.com/features/how-the-coronavirus-origin-story-is-being-rewritten-by-a-guerrilla-twitter-group/

https://drasticresearch.org/

Dr Chris King
Dr Chris King
1 year ago

I just ran across this rather creepy abstract on PubMed:

We should be prepared to smallpox re-emergence [Article in Russian]

Vopr Virusol. 2019;64(5):206-214. doi: 10.36233/0507-4088-2019-64-5-206-214.

S N Shchelkunov 1 , G A Shchelkunova 1
1 State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR, Koltsovo, Novosibirsk region, 630559, Russia.
PMID: 32167685 DOI: 10.36233/0507-4088-2019-64-5-206-214

Abstract

The review contains a brief analysis of the results of investigations conducted during 40 years after smallpox eradication and directed to study genomic organization and evolution of variola virus (VARV) and development of modern diagnostics, vaccines and chemotherapies of smallpox and other zoonotic orthopoxviral infections of humans. Taking into account that smallpox vaccination in several cases had adverse side effects, WHO recommended ceasing this vaccination after 1980 in all countries of the world. The result of this decision is that the mankind lost the collective immunity not only to smallpox, but also to other zoonotic orthopoxvirus infections. The ever more frequently recorded human cases of zoonotic orthopoxvirus infections force to renew consideration of the problem of possible smallpox reemergence resulting from natural evolution of these viruses. Analysis of the available archive data on smallpox epidemics, the history of ancient civilizations, and the newest data on the evolutionary relationship of orthopoxviruses has allowed us to hypothesize that VARV could have repeatedly reemerged via evolutionary changes in a zoonotic ancestor virus and then disappeared because of insufficient population size of isolated ancient civilizations. Only the historically last smallpox pandemic continued for a long time and was contained and stopped in the 20th century thanks to the joint efforts of medics and scientists from many countries under the aegis of WHO. Thus, there is no fundamental prohibition on potential reemergence of smallpox or a similar human disease in future in the course of natural evolution of the currently existing zoonotic orthopoxviruses. Correspondingly, it is of the utmost importance to develop and widely adopt state-of-the-art methods for efficient and rapid species-specific diagnosis of all orthopoxvirus species pathogenic for humans, VARV included. It is also most important to develop new safe methods for prevention and therapy of human orthopoxvirus infections.

***

What next?!

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