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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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  • Pathfinder
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    NIH director confirms agency hid early COVID genes at request of Chinese scientists

    By Steven Nelson
    May 11, 2022 3:47pm Updated
    ...
    National Institutes of Health acting director Lawrence Tabak confirmed to lawmakers Wednesday that US health officials concealed early genomic sequences of COVID-19 at the request of Chinese scientists — but insisted the data remains on file.

    Tabak told a House Appropriations subcommittee that the NIH “eliminated from public view” the data from the pandemic epicenter in Wuhan, China, before adding that researchers can still access it via an archaic “tape drive.”
    ...
    “OK, so researchers can apply to the NIH and get the information from you?” Beutler asked.

    “In the way that it was originally eliminated from public view, it was withdrawn, and that’s the most difficult for people to access,” Tabak replied. “The error that was made, and we found this out after a review of all of our processes, was it should have been suppressed. The distinction being that if it’s withdrawn, it is kept archivally on a tape drive — old technology, but that’s how it’s done. But when it is withdrawn, it can still be accessed by accession number, and so researchers are able to access that information.”
    ...
    In a March 31 article, Vanity Fair reported that evolutionary biologist Jesse Bloom discovered last year that early COVID-19 sequences had disappeared from a federally run data repository.

    When Bloom raised the issue, he was reportedly ganged up on by a group of researchers assembled by then-NIH Director Francis Collins and infectious disease institute head Dr. Anthony Fauci.

    Bloom shared a draft academic paper with Collins and Fauci, who allegedly objected on a June 2021 Zoom video conference to Bloom’s description of Chinese scientists “surreptitiously” removing the sequences. Fauci said the word was “loaded” and implied a coverup, the report said.

    Evolutionary biologist Kristian Andersen, who was selected to participate on the call by Collins, allegedly told Bloom that the Wuhan team had a right to claw back early pandemic information and that it was unethical for Bloom to question it.

    Andersen allegedly went so far as to offer to delete Bloom’s article from a “preprint” server “in a way that would leave no record that this had been done.”
    ...
    https://nypost.com/2022/05/11/nih-di...s-per-chinese/

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  • Pathfinder
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    MAY 09, 2022|JUDICIAL WATCH

    Judicial Watch: Documents Show Texas Researcher Warned Wuhan Lab of COVID Investigation by Congress


    (Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained 412 pages of new records that show the director of the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Dr. James W. Le Duc warned Chinese researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology of potential investigations into the covid issue by Congress.

    Additionally, the documents show Le Duc praising the Wuhan researchers and Chinese officials for their transparency and handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, and, in April 2021, Le Duc accepting a request to be on the Biosafety Advisory Committee of Westlake University in Hangzhou, China. (James Le Duc, PhD, is the director of the Galveston National Laboratory, one of the largest active biocontainment facilities on a U.S. academic campus.)

    The records were obtained in response to Judicial Watch’s January 20, 2020, Texas Public Information Act (PIA) request to the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) that asked for:

    All emails, email chains, text messages, email attachments, calendar invitations, and calendar invitation attachments by James W. LeDuc, Director, Galveston National Laboratory, University of Texas Medical Branch, to and from domains ending in nih.gov or .cn (the Peoples Republic of China Government Domain) containing any of the following terms and parameters:
    • Wuhan within 10 words of coronavirus OR covid* OR SARS-CoV-2;
    • Wuhan within 10 words of mcl OR lab* OR institute;
    • Wuhan within 10 words of virology OR virus OR disease*;
    • Wuhan within 10 words of biocontainment;
    • Wuhan within 10 words of safety OR scien* OR breach;
    • Peter within 10 words of Daszak.

    The records include an email dated April 16, 2020, with the subject line “Rubio” from former Commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases David Franz who informs Le Duc, “I heard from someone in government this evening that Senator Rubio is starting to push for an investigation regarding Wuhan lab. Just found it on the web at Forbes by Kenneth Repoza. Title of article is ‘eight senators call for investigation into coronavirus origins.’” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapo...h=1ac354835049)

    Le Duc then forwards the email to Dr. Shi Zhengli, a top Chinese virologist known for her work with coronavirus at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, requesting a phone conversation “soon” about the email.

    On April 18, 2020, Zhengli rejects Dr. De Luc’s request: “Due to the complicated situation, I don’t think it’s a right time to communicate by the call. What I can tell you is that this virus is not a leaky [sic] from our lab or any other labs. It’s a shame to make this scientific question so complicated.”

    Le Duc responds:

    I understand completely and I certainly do not wish to compromise you personally or your research activities. Given our long history of collaborations between the GNL 9Galveston National Laboratory0 and the WIV (Wuhan Institute of Virology0, I have been approached repeatedly for details on our work. Attached is a draft summary that I will be providing to the leadership of our University of Texas system and likely to Congressional committees that are being formed now

    The draft attachment was not included in the PIA production.

    In an email dated April 20, 2020, Le Duc informs Zhengli and the Director of the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Dr. Yuan Zhiming that he is concerned that the Wuhan lab would continue to be the focus of investigaton:

    I’m afraid that this discussion will continue for some time regarding where early coronavirus work was being done, the role, if any, of the Wuhan CDC in research on bat-associated coronaviruses, and exactly when scientists at WIV [Wuhan Institute of Virology] first became aware of the new coronavirus and had possession of specimens in the WIV and where was that work done (level of biocontainment).

    A February 9, 2020, email from Le Duc prepares Zhiming with questions that may arise in an investigation of the origins of the COVID-19 virus. Le Duc warns that questions about the virus originating from the Wuhan Institute of Virology initially came only from social media, but had recently expanded to “alternate information sources,” “senior officials” and “reputable newspapers” all linking the opening of the ABSL 4 facility at the as the source of the virus outbreak.

    I just think that we need to aggressively address these rumors and presumably false accusations quickly and provide definitive, honest information to counter misinformation. If there are weaknesses in your program, now is the time to admit them and get them corrected.

    I trust that you will take my suggestions in the spirit of one friend trying to help another during a very difficult time.

    Questions Le Duc attached for Zhiming to help prepare include:

    Where is coronavirus research conducted?
      • What level of biocontainment?
      • How many different laboratories actually handle live virus?
      • Where are coronavirus stocks stored?
      • Is there an inventory record of each isolate of each coronavirus kept? If so, are there any discrepancies between the record and actual current inventory number (i.e., is there evidence to suggest that virus stocks may have been stolen or used without proper record?)

    Virus Stocks
      • What are the coronaviruses in your possession that are most closely related to nCoV [novel coronaviruses] based on genetic sequences and are able to replicate in culture?
      • Is anyone on your team conducting gain of function studies, recombination studies or any other studies that may have resulted in the creation of the nCoV?

    Personnel
      • How many people have access to the coronavirus stocks and laboratory?
      • Senior investigators? Junior investigators? Technical support staff? Post-docs? Students? Animal handlers? Janitors and other cleaning staff? Building support personnel? Others?
      • Does the Institute have an occupational health clinic where employees and students can go to seek medical care? If so, was there any indication of unusual illness similar to that seen for nCoV among Institute staff?
      • Does a serum bank exist for staff and students working on infectious agents? If yes, could a current serum and the most recent banked sera be serologically tested for antibody to nCoV in an effort to document seroconversion?

    Geography
      • Where and when were the first Wuhan (or Hubei Province) residents infected with the nCoV first identified (hospital or clinic name/date of earliest cases)?
      • Do staff members of the Institute reside in the district serviced by this (these) hospital/clinic(s)?
      • Do staff members of the Wuhan Institute of Virology frequent the sea food/live market first associated with the nCoV outbreak?
      • Did any staff member visit the market in the weeks prior to it being closed? If so, how many staff frequent the market? How often would they visit the market during the period of interest?

    In an April 26, 2021, email Ting Yuan from the Center for Infectious Disease Research at Westlake University in China writes to Le Duc regarding an official appointment as “a member of Biosafety Advisory Committee” and asks for his input “while we are building our BSL-3 labs.” Later that day, Le Duc accepts the offer.

    In an email dated May 6, 2019, Le Duc thanks the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) regional program officer for Global Research for East/South Asia and Pacific Gale Bernabe for taking his call to discuss “possible funding sources for collaborative work with China.”

    Le Duc informs Bernabe about a proposal to begin work in Wuhan later in the year.

    We have already submitted a proposal and if successful we would begin work in Wuhan later this year. My goal is to Identify a similar funding mechanism that would allow the US side partners to receive similar support for these collaborations. Our vision is that the work will be conducted in true collaboration with some undertaken in the US and some in Wuhan by investigators that are in frequent contact and visiting each other frequently

    Le Duc attaches two documents titled: “Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, Chinese Academy of Sciences Advanced Customer Cultivation Project Call Announcement” and “Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, Chinese Academy of Sciences Advanced Customer Cultivation Project Application Form.”

    On November 25, 2019, Le Duc emails Zhiming, commenting on a draft manuscript titled, “China’s First Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) Laboratory for Fighting Infectious Disease.”

    Le Duc informs Zhiming that his paper was “nicely written” concerning biocontainment labs in China, however, the paper should be expanded “to let readers know that security is an important aspect of your program.”

    In an email dated January 16, 2020, Le Duc congratulates Dr. George F. Gao, director-general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), on his leadership and China’s response to COVID-19. Le Duc includes two articles of interest and further states:

    As you might expect, we are following the evolving story on nCoV from Wuhan very closely and we are eager to get an isolate for antiviral testing. Dr Tseng’s [https://microbiology.utmb.edu/facult...ent)-tseng-phd] lab here in the GNL [Galveston National Laboratory] has developed a transgenic mouse model for SARS that is very useful and we are anxious to see if it can be used for the nCoV [novel coronavirus] as well.

    In an email dated January 21, 2020, Le Duc attached a draft of his Houston Chronicle op-ed, advising the following people that it had been “slightly modified:”
      • Benjamin Rusek, National Academy of Sciences
      • Dave Franz, Commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (Retired)
      • Dr. Yuan Zhiming
      • Dr. George F. Gao
      • Mifang F Liang, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention
      • Dr. Pei-Yong Shi, Associate Chief Research Officer, Galveston National Laboratory, UTMB

    In an email dated March 20, 2020, Le Duc thanks Zhiming for his, “heroic efforts to control the epidemic in Wuhan. Your success is an inspiration to all of us as we work to halt transmission here in the USA and in other countries.”

    Le Duc informs Zhiming that the U.S. was at the start of the “explosion of cases in our region and over the next few weeks we would see very high numbers of cases requiring hospitalizations and ICU support,” and suggests that “it would be excellent if we could identify areas for collaborations.”

    In an April 29, 2020, email, NIAID Associate Director for International Research Affairs Gray Handley informs Le Duc of an inquiry from U.S. Embassy in Beijing, “asking what was the official name of your DoD supported training program and some other background information.,,, Also, can you assure these responses to their questions are accurate?”

    To the question: “Did this training take place in the U.S., China, or in both countries?” Handley writes that since 2013, the Galveston National Laboratory, UTMB, was “part of the NIH Biodefense Laboratory Network [and] provided laboratory safety and security training for high-level biocontainment facilities in China, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

    To the question: “Is this relationship still ongoing?” Handley writes: “This relationship has been facilitated since 2015 through an ongoing dialogue and regular collaboration meetings cosponsored by the Chinese Academies of Science and the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine with cooperation from the Chinese CDC and others.”

    Le Duc responds to Handley: “The title for both projects was National Biocontainment Training Center.

    The Center was supported by two separate awards: W81XWH-09-2-0053 covering the period [May 22, 2009, to December 21, 2014], and W81XWH-11-2-0148 covering the period [July 2011 to July 2016].”

    In an email dated February 20, 2021, Zhiming responds to a “Happy New Year” note from Le Duc:

    During the last year, we all experienced the hardest time, fighting against the virus, fighting against the rumors. The lab operated smoothly [and] efficiently, providing a crucial platform for pathogen identification, animal modeling, antiviral drug screening and vaccine development, and we are very proud of the role and achievements of the laboratory. Here, I would like to express my sincere thanks to you and your colleagues for your assistance for the safety and secure operation of the lab.

    I really hope you could come back here after the epidemic, and we could share our understanding on lab management and infectious disease control.

    “These startling documents show that China had partners here in the United States willing to go to bat for them on the Wuhan lab controversy,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

    Through FOIA requests and lawsuits, Judicial Watch has uncovered a substantial amount of information surrounding COVID-19, to include the communications of Anthony Fauci and other U.S. officials, as well as biosafety issues here in the United States. The findings include:
    • April 2022: Records from the Federal Select Agent Program (FSAP) reveal safety lapses and violations at U.S. biosafety laboratories that conduct research on dangerous agents and toxins.
    • May 2022: HHS records regarding biodistribution studies and related data for the COVID-19 vaccines show a key component of the vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, lipid nanoparticles (LNPs), were found outside the injection site, mainly the liver, adrenal glands, spleen and ovaries of test animals, eight to 48 hours after injection.
    • March 2022: HHS records include emails between National Institutes of Health (NIH) then-Director Francis Collins and Anthony Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), about hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19.
    • March 2022: HHS records show the State Department and NIAID knew immediately in January 2020 that China was withholding COVID data, which was hindering risk assessment and response by public health officials.
    • December 2021: HHS records include a grant application for research involving the coronavirus that appears to describe “gain of function” research involving RNA extractions from bats, experiments on viruses, attempts to develop a chimeric virus and efforts to genetically manipulate the full-length bat SARSr-CoV WIV1 strain molecular clone.
    • August 2021: HHS records include an “urgent for Dr. Fauci ” email chain, citing ties between the Wuhan lab and the taxpayer-funded EcoHealth Alliance. The government emails also report that the foundation of U.S. billionaire Bill Gates worked closely with the Chinese government to pave the way for Chinese-produced medications to be sold outside China and help “raise China’s voice of governance by placing representatives from China on important international counsels as high level commitment from China.”
    • July 2021: NIAID records reveal that it gave nine China-related grants to EcoHealth Alliance to research coronavirus emergence in bats and was the NIH’s top issuer of grants to the Wuhan lab itself. The records also include an email from the vice director of the Wuhan Lab asking an NIH official for help finding disinfectants for decontamination of airtight suits and indoor surfaces.
    • June 2021: HHS records reveal that from 2014 to 2019, $826,277 was given to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for bat coronavirus research by the NIAID.
    • March 2021: HHS records show that NIH officials tailored confidentiality forms to China’s terms and that the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted an unreleased, “strictly confidential” COVID-19 epidemiological analysis in January 2020.
    • October 2020: Fauci emails include his approval of a press release supportive of China’s response to the 2019 novel coronavirus.

    ###
    https://www.judicialwatch.org/wuhan-...investigation/

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  • Emily
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    https://www.researchgate.net/publica...ind_Watchmaker
    Rixey, Charles. (2022). The Myth of the Blind Watchmaker. 10.13140/RG.2.2.33964.13449.

    Abstract

    Fusion Inhibitors and the origin of SARS-CoV-2 This was adapted from my explanation of these findings to a group of fellow scientists & researchers investigating the origins of the current pandemic. My Origin Research Reference Project, also on ResearchGate, will soon be updated with a tab specifically listing ~150 references related to the elements discussed in this document.

    An Abstract in 4 Key Points:
    -Dr. Fauci and a few other senior scientists knew instantly that the discovery of HIV spike inserts within
    the SAR-CoV-2 viral genome made it almost impossible for the virus to be natural.
    -They knew about the Furin cleavage site [FCS], the single biggest genomic contributor to SARS-CoV-
    2’s ability to become a pandemic virus.
    - They suppressed treatments that were already available – including the very fusion inhibitors implicated
    by the existence of the HIV inserts.
    -Much of what has been done to combat the pandemic – especially here in the United States – has been
    the opposite of what would’ve been recommended, had all of the information been publicly known in
    early 2020.

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  • Pathfinder
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    Translation Google
    On the trail of the origin of Covid-19


    Published: May 2, 2022 3.05pm EDT Updated: May 2, 2022 3.39pm EDT

    Veronique Knight
    Veterinarian epidemiologist, CIRAD

    Francois Roger
    Regional Director Southeast Asia, veterinarian and epidemiologist, CIRAD

    Julia Guillebaud
    Research Engineer, Institut Pasteur


    While the Covid-19 virus (coronavirus SARS-CoV-2) continues to circulate and claim victims around the world, its origin remains unknown. Each scientific community advances its hypothesis . Some suggest the possibility of escape of the virus from a laboratory .

    Another hypothesis, which is based on recent studies in connection with the Chinese market of Wuhan
    and others carried out in Cambodia , Laos, Japan, China and Thailand , is that of an evolution from an ancestral virus present in bats, of the Horseshoe Bat family in particular, in domestic or wild animals, then the passage of the virus from these animals to humans. Indeed, during these various studies, several viruses with genetic sequences very close to SARS-CoV-2 were isolated in these bats.


    A missing link

    While it has now been proven that certain species of bats naturally harbor these coronaviruses, the identity of the domestic or wild animal(s) that would have acted as a relay between them and humans – missing links – remains a mystery. The Pangolin, initially suspected, now appears more as a "collateral victim" than as one of these famous missing links. Indeed, a sequence of the coronavirus genome that was detected in Pangolins was indeed related to that of SARS-CoV-2, but the rest of the genome was genetically too far from it .

    On the other hand, the pangolins on which viruses genetically close to SARS-CoV-2 were isolated had most of the time been confiscated from live animal markets, at the end of the commercial chain, and had therefore been in prolonged contact. with other animal species. It is very likely that they were contaminated along this pathway and not in their natural environment. Mink farms have also been suspected in China.

    Finally, pangolins and horseshoe bats do not share the same habitats, which makes possible contact between the two species very unlikely, during which the virus would have passed from a bat to a pangolin. Civets and/or raccoon dogs could constitute an intermediate reservoir for SARS-CoV-1 ). Rodents or primates can also carry pathogens with zoonotic potential, such as Hantaviruses which can in particular cause hemorrhagic fever with severe renal syndrome or Filoviruses, including the Ebola disease virus.. The latter is transmitted to humans by wild animals, in particular fruit bats, porcupines and primates such as chimpanzees or gorillas, and then spreads in the human population mainly by direct contact with blood, secretions and other bodily fluids of infected people. The average case fatality rate is around 50%.

    In 2013, the first cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) were detected in West Africa . This emergence will cause more than 10,000 deaths mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

    Bushmeat consumption: a risky practice

    The risks of transmission from animals to humans, a phenomenon known as spillover , whether during hunting, animal handling or the consumption of wild meat are therefore real and potentially devastating.

    It is the characterization and quantification of this risk, in Cambodia, that the ZooCov project has explored through a "One Health" approach , for almost 2 years and since the start of the pandemic, if so, and how, pathogens such as coronaviruses could be transmitted from wild animals, hunted and eaten, to humans.

    Indeed, in Southeast Asia, the trade in wild animals and the consumption of bushmeat are a common practice. Often opportunistic, this consumption comes in certain communities to supplement a low-protein diet. It can also be regular and targeted. In Cambodia, out of 107 families interviewed during ZooCov, 77% said they had consumed bushmeat in the previous month .

    Medicinal use is also widespread. In Vietnam, the analysis of reports of confiscations of pangolins and derived products carried out between 2016 and 2020 by the Vietnamese authorities show 1,342 live pangolins (6,330 kg), 759 dead pangolins or carcasses (3,305 kg), and of 43,902 kg of scales.

    But this consumption also has a cultural and social aspect that is still poorly understood. For wealthy classes, and often in large cities, this consumption can be motivated by a need for social recognition, beliefs that the consumer of this meat appropriates the physical or physiological virtues of the animal consumed, or by a desire to take issue with the consumption of industrial meat that is harmful to health. Wildlife farming to meet this demand, and/or fur production is also widespread.

    In Cambodia, in the provinces of Stung Treng and Mondolkiri where forest protected areas still exist, more than 900 people who live on the outskirts of these forests were interviewed in an attempt to analyze the structures and functioning of commercial, illegal, meat of bush. Statistical analyzes are underway to identify the people most at risk of being in contact with such pathogens. We already know that the people exposed are mainly young, middle-class men. Some communities are also more exposed than others. Sociological surveys have also made it possible to better understand the current context – the legal framework, the profiles of the players in this trade, their obstacles and their motivations,

    Which populations may be at risk?

    These successive crises seem to have little impact on the practices of these communities. Beyond regular consumption, a quarter of the families interviewed still reported hunting or trapping, and 11% said they sold bushmeat and/or wild animals. In addition, and in the same study sites, more than 2000 samples of wild animals subject to trafficking or subsistence consumption - bats, rodents, turtles, monkeys, birds, wild pigs, etc have been analyzed. Some of the samples tested positive for coronaviruses in particular, and are being analyzed at the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC) to sequence the genome and learn more about its origin, evolution and zoonotic potential. At last, blood samples were taken from more than 900 people surveyed in the same area to find out if they had been in contact with one or more coronaviruses. The analyzes are still in progress, but we already know that these people had not, at the time of the investigation, been exposed to SARS-CoV-2.

    The Covid crisis has clearly demonstrated this: it is essential to detect these emergences early in order to put in place measures as quickly as possible to prevent the spread of pathogens. And if many questions remain about the mechanisms of emergence, the same logically goes for the surveillance systems to be put in place to monitor them. The results of the ZooCov project will be used to develop a system for the early detection of spill-over events of zoonotic viruses, in particular by strengthening the wildlife health surveillance system already existing in Cambodia and set up by the Wildlife Conservation. Society WCS. Other important research and development projects will contribute to the understanding of these emergence phenomena, to their prevention and to their early detection.
    The authors thank the Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Livestock, and Environment of Cambodia, as well as all the project partners: Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Flora and Fauna International (FFI), Research Institute for Development (IRD), Hongkong University (HKU), GREASE Network, International Development Enterprise (iDE), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Elephant Livelihood Initiative Environment (ELIE), BirdLife International , Jahoo, World Hope International.

    https://theconversation.com/sur-la-p...ovid-19-181757

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  • Pathfinder
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    WHO chief Tedros: No dispositive evidence yet on COVID’s origin

    Posted on April 8, 2022 by Emily Kopp
    ...
    In an interview in Washington on Thursday, Tedros was asked about recent preprint publications claiming “dispositive” evidence that COVID-19 originated from animals sold at a wet market. Tedros replied that all hypotheses are still in play.

    “All options are open. We have not found any evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to drop any of the hypotheses that we have,” he said. “All of the hypotheses are still in [WHO’s investigation].”
    ...
    “We continue to push. Of course we should know the origins. One, for the science. If we know the origin, we can prevent the next [pandemic]. So it’s a must,” Tedros said. “Second, morally, we owe it to the millions who have died and the hundreds of millions whose lives have been affected.”

    “So we will not stop pushing,” he continued.
    ...
    https://usrtk.org/biohazards-blog/wh...covids-origin/

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  • sharon sanders
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    Originally posted by Pathfinder View Post
    INVESTIGATION

    “This Shouldn’t Happen”: Inside the Virus-Hunting Nonprofit at the Center of the Lab-Leak Controversy

    Chasing scientific renown, grant dollars, and approval from Dr. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak transformed the environmental nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance into a government-funded sponsor of risky, cutting-edge virus research in both the U.S. and Wuhan, China. Drawing on more than 100,000 leaked documents, a V.F. investigation shows how an organization dedicated to preventing the next pandemic found itself suspected of helping start one.

    BY KATHERINE EBAN

    MARCH 31, 2022
    ...

    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022...ak-controversy


    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    I’d like to provide additional context to
    @KatherineEban
    ’s article (https://vanityfair.com/news/2022/03/the-virus-hunting-nonprofit-at-the-center-of-the-lab-leak-controversy…), which reports on meeting w NIH prior to posting of my pre-print on Wuhan #SARSCoV2 sequences deleted from NIH’s SRA. Meeting also in recent FOIAs: https://justthenews.com/sites/default/files/2022-03/nih-foia-request-56712_redacted.pdf… (1/n)

    vanityfair.com
    “This Shouldn’t Happen”: Inside the Virus-Hunting Nonprofit at the Center of the Lab-Leak Controv...
    Chasing scientific renown, grant dollars, and approval from Dr. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak transformed the environmental nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance into a government-funded sponsor of risky,...
    2:29 PM · Mar 31, 2022




    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    Replying to
    @jbloom_lab
    For reference, final version of my paper is at https://academic.oup.com/mbe/article/38/12/5211/6353034… Paper makes no specific claims about virus’s origins, but provides evidence data from China may be incomplete & so suggests caution in using it to make strong claims about virus’s early spread (2/n)

    academic.oup.com
    Recovery of Deleted Deep Sequencing Data Sheds More Light on the Early Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 Epidemic
    Abstract. The origin and early spread of SARS-CoV-2 remains shrouded in mystery. Here, I identify a data set containing SARS-CoV-2 sequences from early in the W
    5
    14
    82
    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    Article by
    @KatherineEban
    includes summary I wrote of meeting w NIH leadership about pre-print (https://downloads.vanityfair.com/ecohealth-alliance/notes-on-meeting.pdf…). Since this is now public, I want clarify a few aspects. I assembled summary ~6 months after meeting, when I began to get inquiries (3/n)
    1
    9
    56
    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    But I documented aspect that has generated the most questions about ~1 wk after meeting in written reply to first inquiry (from Science reporter
    @sciencecohen
    ) about whether Dr. Fauci & Dr. Collins asked me not to publish preprint (4/n).

    1
    7
    42
    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    As my summary explains, meeting w NIH occurred Sunday, June-20-2021. This was after I submitted pre-print to
    @biorxivpreprint
    , but before it posted publicly. I initiated contact w NIH by e-mailing copy of pre-print to Collins, Fauci & NCBI director Steve Sherry (5/n)




    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    I felt it was appropriate to send advance copy to NIH because deleted #SARSCoV2 data from China is controversial topic, & I thought advance discussion might sort out circumstances of deletion and initiate investigation of other possible deletions. (6/n)
    2
    7
    56
    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    In response, Francis Collins scheduled a Sunday Zoom meeting w NIH leadership, and 4 outside scientists, two invited by NIH and two suggested by me. Several of those outside scientists are quoted in
    @KatherineEban
    ’s article. (7/n)
    1
    7
    51
    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    The meeting became contentious. One NIH-invited outside scientist explicitly suggested that I withdraw or revise pre-print. He said he could implement this via his capacity as
    @biorxivpreprint
    screener if I just sent him e-mail giving thumbs up to do so (8/n)
    2
    25
    80
    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    However, to be clear, contrary to account someone provided to
    @sciencecohen
    , I do *not* recall Fauci or Collins requesting withdrawal of pre-print. In fact, near end of meeting, both stated for record they wanted to emphasize they had *not* asked me to do this. (9/n)




    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    In any case, I did *not* revise pre-print after meeting & initial version that posted to
    @biorxivpreprint
    is same version I sent NIH. Of course scientific feedback is important, and my original goal in sharing pre-print was to solicit such feedback (10/n)
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    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    However, as scientist I’m often asked to attest to statements like “the funder had no role in study design, interpretation of data, preparation of manuscript, or decision to publish.” (11/n)
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    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    It’s unusual to have contentious weekend meetings about not-yet-posted preprints involving NIH, NIAID & NCBI directors. Given how meeting unfolded, if I revised/withdrew, would have created question if funder exerted influence, even if request from outside scientist (12/n)
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    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    For further transparency, when pre-print posted I made public a GitHub repo with time-stamped versions of all revisions of paper & analysis code, thereby documenting entire study from initiation to publication: https://twitter.com/jbloom_lab/status/1407445645502259201… (13/n)
    Quote Tweet

    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    · Jun 22, 2021
    Finally, my analysis is on GitHub at https://github.com/jbloom/SARS-CoV-2_PRJNA612766… where you can access all code, data, & paper drafts. All updates are via time-stamped commits. This ensures transparency/reproducibility of this study are not in doubt, regardless of your views on interpretation. (25/n)
    Show this thread




    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    After initial pre-print posted I solicited critiques from another scientist,
    @stgoldst
    , who posted his comments publicly. I responded w revisions, documented here https://twitter.com/jbloom_lab/status/1409945528612184065… (14/n)
    Quote Tweet

    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    · Jun 29, 2021
    I have posted an updated version of my pre-print describing #SARSCoV2 sequences from the early Wuhan epidemic that were deleted from the Sequence Read Archive. This revision should clarify some key questions people asked about the original version: https://biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/...18.449051v2… (1/n)
    Show this thread
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    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    I believe above steps made study public along with Stephen's reasonable scientific critiques while ensuring that meeting with NIH leadership does not raise questions about outside influence on its content (15/n)
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    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    Also useful to review developments over ~9 months since I wrote paper. A month after pre-print posted, State Council Information Office of China provided their account of deletion. It’s here https://youtu.be/UA2P8hlurlQ?t=4606… at 1:16:45 (where video starts) (16/n)

    youtube.com
    Live: News briefing on origin-tracing of COVID-19
    China's State Council Information Office holds a news conference on origin-tracing of #COVID19. Xu Nanping, vice minister of Science and Technology, Zeng Yix...
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    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    Briefly, vice-minister of China National Health Commission, Dr. Zeng Yixin, said my paper “fabricated a conspiracy theory” that created a negative image & “such actions violate science’s spirit and law; such a conspiracy has been criticized by experts in other countries” (17/n)




    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    Dr. Zeng Yixin also said earliest collection time for deleted sequences was Jan-30-2020 & so they were “not early-stage samples.” In contrast, Chinese authors originally said samples were from “early in the epidemic.” I lack data to reconcile these differing descriptions (18/n)
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    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    Further, Dr. Zeng Yixin said sequences were uploaded to NIH’s SRA at request of journal Small, but journal then accidentally deleted data availability statement during copy-editing, and this copy-editing error led authors to think they should delete their data too. (19/n)
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    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    The journal Small subsequently posted correction corroborating this account: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/smll.202104078…. Small is Wiley journal based in Germany, & its editor-in-chief is Wiley’s vice-president & director for China (http://wileyeditorsymposium.com/speakers/jose-oliveira/…) (20/n)

    wileyeditorsymposium.com
    José Oliveira - Wiley Editor Symposium
    José Oliveira studied chemistry at the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa). He obtained his PhD in 2000 in organic synthesis. He worked for a year as a post-doctoral resear...
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    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    However, some facts associated w deletion are inconsistent w State Council of China’s account. First, sequences uploaded to SRA on March 16 but paper not received by Small until April 3, so unclear how data could have initially been uploaded at journal’s request (21/n)
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    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    Second, actual e-mail request (below) for deletion from SRA mentions a variety of reasons, none of which are related to the journal deleting the data availability statement during copy editing. (22/n)

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    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    Finally, e-mails show Wuhan University deleted *two* projects, only one of which (SUB7147304=PRJNA612766) was published in journal Small & described in my paper. Initial email focused on deleting another previously unknown project (SUB7554642=PRJNA637497). (23/n)




    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    For long time no info for this other deleted project was available, but it recently became available via NCBI: https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bioproject/?term=PRJNA637497… This project categorized Wuhan #SARSCoV2 into two lineages that predominated early in outbreak (24/n)
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    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    Analyses of these two lineages is a component of phylogenetic studies of early #SARSCoV2 in Wuhan. Unfortunately, Wuhan University initiated request to delete their project related to these two lineages <24 hrs after creating it & only limited data ever uploaded. (25/n)
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    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    I contacted Dr. Tiangang Liu of Wuhan University to ask if samples available for full sequencing. He replied that they “carefully autoclave the nucleotide samples after we done the experiments”—a procedure that unfortunately destroys samples & precludes further analysis (26/n)
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    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    In my mind, above facts reinforce a conclusion of my paper: we need to worry about data completeness as much as phylogenetic methodology. No analysis method can be confidently correct if Chinese govt isn’t allowing sharing of complete data (27/n)

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    Bloom Lab
    @jbloom_lab
    ·
    19h
    Indeed, last 9 months have provided more reasons for wariness about data completeness. The earliest case now acknowledged by Chinese govt had symptom onset of Dec-8 (or maybe later, there is some question: https://twitter.com/MichaelWorobey/status/1461829914634571779…) (28/n)
    Quote Tweet

    Michael Worobey
    @MichaelWorobey
    · Nov 19, 2021
    First, I have learned that @franciscodeasis had earlier concluded that Mr. Chen, the so-called "Dec 8" patient, actually became ill on Dec 16: https://twitter.com/franciscodeasis/...38764990469…
    Show this thread

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    replied
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  • Pathfinder
    replied
    INVESTIGATION

    “This Shouldn’t Happen”: Inside the Virus-Hunting Nonprofit at the Center of the Lab-Leak Controversy

    Chasing scientific renown, grant dollars, and approval from Dr. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak transformed the environmental nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance into a government-funded sponsor of risky, cutting-edge virus research in both the U.S. and Wuhan, China. Drawing on more than 100,000 leaked documents, a V.F. investigation shows how an organization dedicated to preventing the next pandemic found itself suspected of helping start one.

    BY KATHERINE EBAN

    MARCH 31, 2022
    ...

    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022...ak-controversy

    Leave a comment:


  • Shiloh
    replied
    Peter Daszak Answers Critics and Defends Coronavirus Research: https://theintercept.com/2022/03/11/...zak-interview/

    Leave a comment:


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    replied
    bump this

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  • Pathfinder
    replied
    The origins of SARS-CoV-2: still to be determined


    By Laura H. Kahn | March 10, 2022

    ...
    COVID-19. In contrast to SARS and MERS, there is no direct evidence for a natural spillover of COVID-19. Neither the virus nor antibodies to the virus have been identified in animals sampled in Wuhan in 2019 or early 2020. In an article currently undergoing peer review, Gao et al. found that zero out of 457 samples taken from 18 species of animals sampled in Wuhan in early 2020 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. In addition, no correlation has been observed between human occupational exposures to animals and higher rates of infection or seropositivity to the virus.

    By early 2020, Chinese physicians had conducted many serological surveys of thousands of people to assess prevalence rates of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, but none included data on occupation. Had occupations been included, these might have revealed whether animal workers in the Huanan market had higher rates of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies than in the general population, thereby supporting the natural spillover hypothesis.

    Two recent papers, Worobey et al. and Pekar et al., present geospacial analysis of animal stalls in the Huanan market and viral phylogenetic analysis but do not provide convincing evidence of natural spillover. The data and analyses discussed by Worobey are equally consistent with both hypotheses: (1) that SARS-CoV-2 first entered humans at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, and (2) that SARS-CoV-2 first entered humans at another location and was subsequently brought to the market and then amplified in the market by humans. The authors’ assertion that the data and analyses support only the natural spillover hypothesis is false.

    Gao et al. reached a conclusion opposite to the claims of Worobey et al. and Peckar et al. Gao et al. reported that there were no positive animal samples at the Huanan market. They further reported that there was no correlation between the locations of the animal sellers in the market or the locations with the highest densities of humans and the locations of the positive environmental samples in the market. Based on these findings, Gao et al suggested that the market “acted as an amplifier,” with infections being brought into the market by humans infected elsewhere.

    The hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 originated from a laboratory-related spillover—for example, from a laboratory-acquired infection—remains a viable possibility. Laboratory accidents, including laboratory-acquired infections, occur frequently. In the most recent year for which data are available, the CDC/USDA Select Agent Program received 205 select agent theft/loss/release reports, which equates to an average of four select-agent incidents per week. Of the 205 select-agent theft/loss/release reports, fully 196 were reports of releases and 177 were “determined to represent potential occupational exposure to laboratory workers.”

    In determining the origin of SARS-CoV-2, what is needed, at a minimum, is: (1) data from serological sampling in 2019 and early 2020 that includes information on occupation and location and that encompasses both Wuhan animal market employees and Wuhan laboratory research employees, and (2) information—including samples, sequences, records, and results—on the research on SARS-related coronaviruses conducted by Wuhan researchers and their collaborators in 2015-2019.

    Science is the objective pursuit of truth. Preventing future COVID-19 pandemics requires finding the truth. Premature, false declarations of “dispositive evidence” or “proof” does not generate public trust in science and does not protect public health.

    ...

    https://thebulletin.org/2022/03/the-...be-determined/

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