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Discussion: Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Wuhan has been working with bats and coronavirus for many years - DNA manipulations, cloning....

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    Possible Early Covid-19 Cases in China Emerge During WHO Mission
    WHO team scrutinizing cases of 90 patients with coronavirus-like symptoms in October 2019, two months before Beijing acknowledged first infections
    Updated Feb. 10, 2021 7:00 pm ET

    BEIJING—About 90 people were hospitalized with Covid-19-like symptoms in central China in the two months before the disease was first identified in Wuhan in late 2019, according to World Health Organization investigators, who said they pressed Beijing to allow further testing to determine whether the new virus was spreading earlier than previously known.

    Chinese authorities performed antibody tests on about two-thirds of those patients in the past few months, according to the investigators, and said they found no trace of infection by the virus. But members of the WHO team probing the pandemic’s origins said any antibodies could have subsided to undetectable levels during the delay.

    “Further studies are needed,” said Peter Ben Embarek, the food-safety scientist who led the WHO team, which wrapped up a four-week visit to China on Wednesday.

    Team members said they urged China to conduct wider tests on blood samples collected in autumn 2019 around Hubei, the province that is home to Wuhan, to look for evidence about when the virus was first circulating. Chinese authorities said they hadn’t yet obtained necessary permissions to test samples, many of which are held in blood banks, WHO investigators said...


    • Merci, si j'ai un immense respect pour les C.D.C , dont le chinois, qui a fait des travaux magnifiques, pour ?viter cela , il faut une vraie expertise ...


      • Frozen food?:


        • Can frozen food spread the coronavirus?

          February 12, 2021 4:43 p.m.
          Michaeleen Doucleff

          At a news conference this week, the World Health Organization made a surprising statement: The coronavirus could possibly transmit on frozen packages of food.

          "We know that the virus can persist and survive in conditions that are found in these cold and frozen environments," says Peter Ben Embarek, the food scientist who led the World Health Organization team that traveled to China to investigate the origin of the pandemic. "But we don't really understand if the virus can then transmit to humans."

          Embarek went on to say that scientists need to investigate further this possible route of transmission – and that frozen meat, perhaps frozen wild meat, could have sparked an early outbreak of COVID-19 last year at the Huanan Seafood market in Wuhan.

          ... These results – and the statements from WHO — were a bit surprising, because they go against what scientists have been telling us for a few months now. That you catch COVID-19 primarily through the air, not surfaces. And you don't need to wipe down food packages.

          ... First off, this Xinfadi Market is not your local Trader Joe's, says microbiologist Emanuel Goldman at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Xinfadi is enormous. It's 12 million square feet — larger than 200 football fields. Inside, workers receive international shipments of large pallets of frozen meat and seafood which they ship to stores across Beijing. The fish isn't in in individually-packaged boxes, like you find in a frozen food section of the grocery store. A giant frozen slab is a very different surface and has very different conditions than a small package of fish sticks. The slab will stay colder for longer, and the virus could survive on it – or in it — longer.

          In other words, Goldman says, the environment inside this warehouse is very different from one that a regular consumer would ever find themselves in. So far, only warehouse workers and dock workers, receiving international packages, have been possibly infected through these frozen packages.

          "China hasn't had any reports of consumers, of even suspicion, of consumers being infected by this route," Goldman says.

          Second, Goldman says, even under these very specific conditions — with industrial-scale shipping — transmission through this route is incredibly rare.

          ( also available to listen to the story, 4.02)
          At a news conference this week, the World Health Organization made a surprising statement: The coronavirus could possibly transmit on frozen packages of food.


          • U.S. Expresses ‘Deep Concerns’ Over China Withholding Data From Pandemic Investigators

            National security adviser says it is imperative World Health Organization report be free of China’s intervention

            Alex Leary
            Feb. 13, 2021 11:53 am ET

            WASHINGTON—The Biden administration issued a formal statement criticizing China over refusing to provide World Health Organization pandemic investigators with data on early Covid-19 cases that could help explain how the virus spread.

            “We have deep concerns about the way in which the early findings of the Covid-19 investigation were communicated and questions about the process used to reach them,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement issued on Saturday. “It is imperative that this report be independent, with expert findings free from intervention or alteration by the Chinese government.”

            “To better understand this pandemic and prepare for the next one, China must make available its data from the earliest days of the outbreak,” Mr. Sullivan said.




            • Source:

              China mission a success, says WHO team leader
              China Daily, February 13, 2021

              The head of an independent international expert team, which has just completed its trip to China to study the origins of the COVID-19 virus, described the mission as a success on Friday.

              Team lead Peter Ben Embarek told a World Health Organization, or WHO, virtual press conference that he thinks the mission has been "successful in many ways."

              Ben Embarek, a Danish food scientist, said the team has gained a better understanding of the start of the event, about what happened in December of 2019, and where it is believed to have originated.

              "We have also much better understanding that there was no widespread, no large clusters of the disease in Wuhan, or in elsewhere around Wuhan, in the months prior to December 2019," he said.

              He called the trip a good start. "But we have made a lot of progress," he said.

              Ben Embarek dismissed the suggestion that the team going to Wuhan earlier would have made a big difference.

              He explained it was not possible to go in February 2020, during Wuhan's lockdown, which lasted two-and-a-half months. In the summer, planning started on assembling international experts and Chinese experts, as well as making working plans.

              Ben Embarek praised the thousands of Chinese researchers working on the subject over the past year.

              "If we had come much, much earlier, we wouldn't have had the same material to look at," he said.

              The lead of the international team, comprising experts from 10 different countries and several international organizations, explained that when an emerging disease outbreak happens, the natural first reaction is to treat patients, understand the disease and find cases, instead of trying to figure out what happened.

              Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO's Health Emergencies Program, agreed, saying "your first job is to put out the flames (and) get the epidemic under control, and when you can, you go back and look at the trail. "

              Ryan cited the study of the origins of the Ebola outbreak. "It took us years and years to even begin to understand the origin of Ebola", he said, adding that even today, many unknowns still remain on how the Ebola outbreak started.

              "The point at which you see the flame is never usually the point where the fire starts," he said, reiterating that the first job is to put out the flame of an outbreak...


              • Source:

                CNN Exclusive: WHO Wuhan mission finds possible signs of wider original outbreak in 2019
                By Nick Paton Walsh, CNN
                Updated 12:59 PM ET, Sun February 14, 2021

                (CNN)Investigators from the World Health Organization (WHO) looking into the origins of coronavirus in China have discovered signs the outbreak was much wider in Wuhan in December 2019 than previously thought, and are urgently seeking access to hundreds of thousands of blood samples from the city that China has not so far let them examine.
                The lead investigator for the WHO mission, Peter Ben Embarek, told CNN in a wide-ranging interview that the mission had found several signs of the more wide-ranging 2019 spread, including establishing for the first time there were over a dozen strains of the virus in Wuhan already in December. The team also had a chance to speak to the first patient Chinese officials said had been infected, an office worker in his 40s, with no travel history of note, reported infected on December 8.
                The slow emergence of more detailed data gathered on the WHO's long-awaited trip into China may add to concerns voiced by other scientists studying the origins of the disease that it may have been spreading in China long before its first official emergence in mid-December.
                Embarek, who has just returned to Switzerland from Wuhan, told CNN: "The virus was circulating widely in Wuhan in December, which is a new finding."
                The WHO food safety specialist added the team had been presented by Chinese scientists with 174 cases of coronavirus in and around Wuhan in December 2019. Of these 100 had been confirmed by laboratory tests, he said, and another 74 through the clinical diagnosis of the patient's symptoms.
                Embarek said it was possible this larger number -- of likely severe cases that had been noticed by Chinese doctors early on -- meant the disease could have hit an estimated 1,000-plus people in Wuhan that December.
                "We haven't done any modeling of that since," he said. "But we know big ballpark figures... out of the infected population, about 15% end up severe cases, and the vast majority are mild cases."
                Embarek said the mission -- which comprised 17 WHO scientists and 17 Chinese -- had broadened the type of virus genetic material they examined from early coronavirus cases that first December. This allowed them to look at partial genetic samples, rather than just complete ones, he said. As a result, they were able to gather for the first time 13 different genetic sequences of the SARS-COV-2 virus from December 2019. The sequences, if examined with wider patient data in China across 2019, could provide valuable clues about the geography and timing of the outbreak before December.
                Embarek said: "Some of them are from the markets... Some of them are not linked to the markets," which includes the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, thought to have played a role in the virus' first spread. "This is something we found as part of our mission... part of the interaction we had all together."...


                • Scott Gottlieb, (former FDA commissioner and current Pfizer board member), was on 'Face the Nation' Sunday and supported President Biden's criticism of China. His interview is the last one. He specifically said that China had antibody samples from the Wuhan lab workers they would not share and also samples from COVID-like illnesses in Wuhan citizens taken months prior to the official outbreak were not shared.

                  This week on "Face the Nation": The Senate impeachment trial of former President Trump charged with inciting insurrection ended exactly as predicted.

                  Ask Congress to Investigate COVID Origins and Government Response to Pandemic.

                  i love myself. the quietest. simplest. most powerful. revolution ever. ---- nayyirah waheed

                  "...there’s an obvious contest that’s happening between different sectors of the colonial ruling class in this country. And they would, if they could, lump us into their beef, their struggle." ---- Omali Yeshitela, African People’s Socialist Party

                  (My posts are not intended as advice or professional assessments of any kind.)
                  Never forget Excalibur.


                  • Virologist On Wuhan Trip: Seafood Market 'Not The Whole Story' In Early Outbreak

                    February 16, 20213:25 PM ET
                    STEVE INSKEEP

                    Marion Koopmans was part of a WHO team that traveled to Wuhan to investigate the start of the coronavirus pandemic. She tells NPR that the Wuhan seafood market was "not the whole story."

                    ... Dutch virologist Marion Koopmans was part of that team that "reconstructed every step in that initial outbreak" in two weeks of investigation.

                    The team said the pandemic did not start at the city's Huanan Seafood Market, which was a location of an early coronavirus outbreak, because the virus was already circulating beforehand.

                    Koopmans talked with Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition about what her team found in Wuhan. Here are excerpts:



                    • Why China and the WHO Will Never Find a Zoonotic Origin For the COVID-19 Pandemic Virus

                      For the present moment, notwithstanding the claim of the WHO investigation and the censorship of Facebook, all of these accidental lab origin theories appear plausible to us, but all remain uninvestigated.

                      Our prediction, however, simply based on assessing the probabilities, is that no convincing natural zoonotic origin for the pandemic will ever be found by China or the WHO or anyone else––for the simple reason that one does not exist.
                      ?Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights ? that must be our call to arms"
                      Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

                      ~~~~ Twitter:@GertvanderHoek ~~~ ~~~


                      • bertrand789
                        bertrand789 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Maintenant, si vous transportez un humain porteur , dans un lieu qui d?tient x animaux sensible et vivant , le risque n'est plus nul non plus .

                        Je souhaiterai le regard de consoeurs chinoises, notamment de celles qui travaillent sur les influenzas ...

                      • bertrand789
                        bertrand789 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Un tr?s beau texte , qui ne prend pas en compte certaines variables. Qu'il existe des zones en Chine ou cohabitent des humains et des populations animales sensibles est un fait. Si un variant plus efficient ?merge, il est g?r? en local , mais il peut ?tre transport? en dehors de cette zone de deux mani?res :

                        - envoi de pr?l?vement

                        - transport par des humains et ou animaux sensibles .

                        En chine on aime le transport des animaux vivant jusqu'au lieu de vente , ce qui amplifie les risques . Cela est connu pour les influenzas , cela peut donc aussi se faire pour d'autres virus ... C'est bien pour cela que le march? a ?t? ferm? de suite . Ils ont fait car c'est une proc?dure habituelle . On transporte des animaux vivants dans des lieux ou d'autres sensibles sont d?tenus ...

                        Maintenant , ce qui me semble important c'est le moment, donc le moment des repas de f?tes du printemps et donc de la valorisation pour certains du travail de l'ann?e. C'est aussi cela le march? de Wuhan , et pour cette occasion on peut se d?placer pour encaisser le produit de cette vente ...

                        Donc le risque qu'un producteur de n'importe quel endroit de Chine, pour valoriser et encaisser son travail se d?place ? Wuhan pour sa vente de l'ann?e en ?tant porteur , ne sera jamais nulle, de mon point de vue ...

                    • Hmm, I am reminded of a classic literary quote .... Now what was it?? Oh yes, I remember:

                      "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, stated by Sherlock Holmes


                      • Source:

                        In Hunt for Covid-19 Origin, WHO Team Focuses on Two Animal Types in China
                        Investigators say ferret badgers and rabbits sold at Wuhan market could have played a role in the spread to humans
                        Updated Feb. 18, 2021 12:19 pm ET

                        World Health Organization investigators are honing their search for animals that could have spread the new coronavirus to humans, identifying two—ferret badgers and rabbits—that can carry the virus and were sold at a Chinese market where many early cases emerged.

                        Members of a WHO team probing the pandemic’s origins say further investigation is needed into suppliers of those and other animals at the market, some of which came from a region of China near its Southeast Asian borders where the closest known relatives of the virus have been found in bats.

                        Team members say they have yet to establish all the creatures sold, legally or illegally, live or dead, at the market in the Chinese city of Wuhan that was tied to the first known cluster of cases in December 2019...


                        • Source:

                          WHO inspector's denial of bats in Wuhan lab contradicted by facts
                          Chinese scientists describe capturing dangerous live bats to be transported back to Wuhan lab
                          By Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
                          2021/02/18 18:29

                          TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Researchers have uncovered accounts from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) scientists and applications for patents for bat breeding that refute World Health Organization (WHO) inspector Peter Daszak's claims that the lab does not house live bats captured in the wild.

                          An international network of researchers and scientists investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic who call themselves DRASTIC (Decentralized Radical Autonomous Search Team Investigating COVID-19) have found evidence from Chinese media reports that in fact the WIV scientists captured bats alive and kept them inside the lab. The lab has also filed two patents for cages to be used in bat breeding and one for lab accidents just before the start of the pandemic.

                          British zoologist and the president of EcoHealth Alliance Peter Daszak is the only individual to be part of both the WHO and The Lancet teams investigating the origins of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. However, he has long-term professional and financial ties with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) spanning two decades and valued in the millions of dollars, which represents a conflict of interest...


                          • In hunt for Covid-19 origin, WHO team focuses on two animal types in China

                            Updated: 18 Feb 2021, 11:40 PM IST
                            Betsy McKay,Jeremy Page,Drew Hinshaw

                            World Health Organization investigators are honing their search for animals that could have spread the new coronavirus to humans, identifying two—ferret badgers and rabbits—that can carry the virus and were sold at a Chinese market where many early cases emerged.

                            ... Ferret badgers, which live mainly in southern China, are from the same family of mammals as weasels and otters, and they are often hunted and traded for food or fur, despite being a protected species.

                            Dr. Daszak said rabbits were also present in the market, and they “turn out to be quite susceptible to SARS-CoV-2."

                            Marion Koopmans, a Dutch virologist on the WHO team, also identified ferret badgers and rabbits as the animals there that are thought to be capable of carrying and spreading the virus.

                            ... He and other team members also said that China needed to conduct widespread testing of its mink farms, even though they are mostly in its north. “China hasn’t reported any mink outbreaks, and I think that’s an area they need to do some work over," Dr. Dwyer said.


                            • Source:

                              WHO COVID-19 Investigation Is Tainted by Conflict of Interest, Says AHF
                              Friday, February 19, 2021 10:05AM IST (4:35AM GMT)

                              AHF calls for the current WHO COVID-19 investigative team to be disbanded and reassembled by a completely independent panel.

                              Los Angeles, United States:

                              AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) calls for the team that is currently investigating the origins of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China to be disbanded and reassembled by a completely independent panel with unfettered access and diplomatic immunity for all members. A conflict of interest of one of the current WHO-sanctioned team members and the tightly choreographed format of the field research cast doubt on the investigation’s credibility and the validity of the eventual findings.

                              The alleged conflict of interest stems from the connection one of the investigators, a British zoologist and EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak has with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). According to The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Daszak has worked closely with a leading virologist at WIV, Dr. Shi Zhengli on the study of bat viruses, which from 2014, was in part funded by US government grants. The institute is located just a few miles away from the wet market where Chinese authorities say SARS-CoV-2 first emerged.

                              “For the WHO [World Health Organization] investigation in Wuhan to stand up to scientific scrutiny, neutrality is a must,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “Dr. Daszak has a clear-cut conflict of interest that should’ve disqualified him from participation on the WHO team. The fact the WHO sanctioned it in the first place is completely out of line. Now, any conclusions of the investigation will be tainted by one more fragment of uncertainty. Regrettably, the only plausible way out of this situation is to start over – to disband the WHO team, and charge a neutral, non-political body with reconstituting it. To ensure the highest degree of independence, all members of the new team should have the full protection of diplomatic immunity.”

                              Dr. Daszak has repeatedly denied speculations that SARS-CoV-2 may have emerged from WIV following a lab accident, including in a letter to The Lancet in February 2020. Despite the ongoing investigation, Dr. Daszak recently spoke about its progress to CNN from Wuhan, again refuting the possibility of the virus escaping from the institute.

                              “WHO investigators should be taking utmost care to avoid any appearance of bias – speaking to the media at this time is counterproductive and may be perceived as an attempt to sway the narrative,” added Weinstein. “To put conspiracy theories to rest, such as that the virus was manufactured, or that it arrived in Wuhan in frozen food as has been bizarrely proposed by the Chinese media – all possibilities about the origin of this outbreak should be thoroughly investigated by completely neutral parties. Transparency is the best weapon against deception and ignorance.”...