Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #originofcovid

Most recents (24)

1/I keep receiving over and over the same comments on EVALI. “The cases were too young to be COVID!” “It was caused by vitamin E acetate!” “It has nothing to do with COVID”! I demonstrated in my article that these arguments are not valid but it seems to be the time to make a 🧵
2/First of all, what is EVALI? The name (E-Cigarette, or Vaping Product, Use–Associated Lung Injury) was invented by the CDC to describe an epidemic of “severe lung disease” with most cases identified in the US.
3/Why was it associated to vaping? Because many patients reported the use of electronic cigarette, originating the speculation that vaping may be the causative agent for the acute lung injury.
Read 34 tweets
How can we determine whether scientific journals are opening their gates to #OriginOfCovid debate by publishing articles that aren't biased towards only a natural origin?

The public has embraced the debate, but I don't think our scientific journals have.…
There have been some notable exceptions in top scientific journals, e.g., @PNASnews Nov 2020, David Relman: To stop the next pandemic, we need to unravel the origins of COVID-19…
Bloom et al. @ScienceMagazine Investigate the origins of COVID-19…
Read 8 tweets
I did a mini thread in Feb on why I do not find the ENaC hypothesis compelling, particularly one that involves a UNC specialist telling a Wuhan scientist to use the furin cleavage site from ENaC in their SARS-like viruses.
It's possible a Wuhan scientist independently chanced upon the FCS in ENaC and thought it might be a good insertion for SARS-like viruses, but it's just as likely they saw other cleavage sites (RRAR) in novel viral sequences and used that as inspiration.
It would be more striking to me if the match including the entire FCS insertion "PRRA" or if the rest of the match "RSVAS" (5 out of 8 matching letters) didn't already exist in many of SARS2's close relatives.
Read 6 tweets
I have asked @Ayjchan to prove that pre-pandemic EVALI samples in the US were not caused by COVID as she is sure that SARS2 did not originate from a lab in the US. NIH concluded that EVALI may have been caused by a virus. Waiting for her answer.
And BTW I am not saying that the US created SARS2 alone and "unleashed" it to Wuhan, as she suggests. If SARS2 has a lab origin it is likely the product of a collaboration and the World Military Games in Wuhan could easily explain a cluster of cases there.
That was the answer
First, EVALI started only few months before the COVID pandemic, not years before. Second, she pretends to ignore the possible role of the World Military Games to create the cluster of cases in Wuhan.
Read 28 tweets
I'm noticing a recent uptick in people tweeting about Covid-19 having been created in the US by collaborators of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Please think through this carefully. You're saying the Chinese have proof the US created this virus and unleashed it on Wuhan...
... and though the Chinese gov has been desperate to shift the #OriginOfCovid outside of China - desperate enough to inculcate its people with the idea that the virus can spread through frozen 🐟 and the 📬 - they refuse to use the proof that the virus was made in the US.
Your hypothesis is, despite possessing proof that the virus originated in a US lab, the Chinese state media engaged in a disinformation campaign last year that went nowhere... even making up a Swiss scientist to complain about the #OriginOfcovid inquiry.…
Read 6 tweets
Not sure @PeterHotez read the @PNAS letter carefully.

"SARS-CoV-2 is, to date, the only identified member of the subgenus sarbecovirus that contains an FCS, although these are present in other coronaviruses"
@PeterHotez @pnas "We do know that the insertion of such FCS sequences into SARS-like viruses was a specific goal of work proposed by the EHA-WIV-UNC partnership within a 2018 grant proposal (“DEFUSE”)"
@PeterHotez @pnas "We do not assert that laboratory manipulation was involved in the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, although it is apparent that it could have been. However, we do assert that there has been no independent and transparent scientific scrutiny to date..."
Read 6 tweets
From the @TheLancet COVID-19 commission chair:

"EHA-WIV-UNC was involved in the collection of a large number of so-far undocumented SARS-like viruses.. manipulation within.. (BSL)-2.. raising concerns that an airborne virus might have infected a.. worker"…
@TheLancet Hey @shingheizhan our peer-reviewed @MolBioEvol figure is cited in the letter!
@TheLancet There are 2 components to the Harrison & Sachs letter.

1. There are parties in the US that have repeatedly resisted sharing information relevant to #OriginOfCovid and they should be compelled to cooperate in a formal, ideally bipartisan, US-based investigation.
Read 9 tweets
Wow! An unbiased article which asks transparency also about research activities in the US that may be involved in SARS2’s origin!
By Neil L. Harrison and Jeffrey D. Sachs 👏👏👏… Image
“Yet a US-based investigation need not wait—there is much to learn from the US institutions that were extensively involved in research that may have contributed to, or documented the emergence of, the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
“Participating US institutions include the EHA, the University of North Carolina (UNC), the University of California at Davis (UCD), the NIH, and the USAID.”
Read 6 tweets
I still read/listen to interviews of natural #OriginOfCovid proponents. However, it remains difficult to reconcile their public & private stance.

Proximal Origin authors knew from the start that w/o access to info in Wuhan, they couldn't pin the origin.…
Yet, in recent interviews, these authors continue to assert that all sequences/viruses being worked with in the Wuhan lab must have been in the public domain.

Sometimes, they invoke a bizarre generalization that virologists are gossipy and can't keep novel viruses to themselves.
They already surmised in early 2020 that a lab performing gain of function, eg cleavage site insertion, would NOT use an existing close relative of SARS or MERS.

They would've picked a virus in their collection that was less likely to be a human pathogen.…
Read 10 tweets
Looking forward to the case study on #OriginOfCovid - how a small group of scientists managed to create a mass illusion of scientific consensus via groupthink and connections with prominent science journalists/writers.
Agreed that the public needs to know that scientific uncertainty prevails for some period while data/evidence is collected.

Surprised during the pandemic that some of our top experts don't seem to know this and try to manufacture scientific certainty.
I'm not sure that #SciComm folks could've predicted that some of the worst misinformation during the pandemic would've come from experts instead of mis/disinformants.
Read 8 tweets
If you're a scientist or journalist promoting the benefits of virus hunting (in natural habitats, wildlife trade etc.) and manipulation in laboratories around the world, please practice some circumspection.

Millions might've died from precisely this type of research gone wrong.
A lab-based outbreak doesn't require any fancy bioweaponry or shenanigans (e.g. serial passaging to select for cross-species airborne transmissibility) in the lab.

It can be as simple as scientists chancing on a dangerous natural pathogen in the wild and bringing it into cities.
Top experts in virology and infectious diseases understand this. They know that viruses that have spent time in laboratories don't necessarily have to look different from what we see in nature.

Read 4 tweets
If the @USRightToKnow and others keep suing for virologist emails via the freedom of information act, we might finally get to see their honest reactions to the Defuse proposal or perhaps their transition to non-FOI’able channels of communication.
This 2020 email doesn’t make me feel particularly confident in the current membership of the NSABB advising federal policies on potential pandemic pathogen research.
Emails such as this make me wonder about science journalism. AFAIK this @nytimes journalist concerned about the risks of pathogen research did not eventually publish an article on #OriginOfCovid

Instead @nytimes kept publishing articles about how unfounded lab origin was.
Read 5 tweets
What are the sources that tell us what research was happening in Wuhan that could’ve plausibly led to the emergence of Covid-19?

Grants+reports submitted to US funders, FOI’ed emails from research collaborators, publications+academic theses from the Wuhan Institute of Virology..
.. interviews of the Wuhan Institute of Virology scientist, published in @ScienceMagazine and @techreview, telling us directly that their research on SARS-like viruses had been conducted at low biosafety levels (BL2/3) that cannot contain viruses like SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19)..
.. archived photos and interviews of the Wuhan scientists, their collaborators, and others showing they had not always worn appropriate protective equipment while hunting for potential pandemic pathogens..
Read 11 tweets
Two insightful articles from Jan 2020. 26th @sciencecohen : "The virus came into that marketplace before it came out of that marketplace," Daniel Lucey asserts.
Jan 31st "Ebright tells ScienceInsider that the 2019-nCoV data are "consistent with entry into the human population as either a natural accident or a laboratory accident."…
Shortly after, the Lancet letter, Zhou et al., Liu et al. and then the proximal origin paper were poblished and used to shut down objective discussion of origin
Read 21 tweets
This is possibly an example of experts explaining things poorly to their sponsors.

Saying it’s clear the pandemic virus came from animals is like saying it’s clear a forest fire came from wood catching on 🔥

The question is how did it happen?…
I have not read Bill Gate’s new book. There are likely lessons in it about pandemic preparedness that should be seriously considered.

But we also need to be careful that the virus hunting to predict & prepare for pandemics does not itself cause pandemics.…
I’d like to repurpose a quote from the director of the global virome project:

“What we’re doing today is the same thing we were doing a decade ago… If we keep pursuing that approach, we will ultimately have a global catastrophe.”
Read 7 tweets
Many virologists, even natural #OriginOfCovid proponents, agree it is unsafe to study new SARS-like viruses at BL2 - which was the case in Wuhan for several years.

Has new policy been put in place to restrict work on novel airborne mammal pathogens to higher biosafety levels?
The level of biosafety and containment of viruses was a key concern (privately) expressed by top experts on biosafety/virology. See email from James Le Duc, director of the Galveston National Laboratory, which collaborated with and trained WIV staff.…
“That’s screwed up... It shouldn’t have happened. People should not be looking at bat viruses in BSL-2 labs. My view has changed.”
- Ian Lipkin, Columbia Professor, expertise in diagnostics, microbial discovery and outbreak response.…
Read 6 tweets
"the deputy consular chief in the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan, wrote that by mid-October, the consulate team “knew that the city had been struck by what was thought to be an unusually vicious flu season. The disease worsened in November.”"…
Yet, some of the most outspoken virologists on #OriginOfCovid would have us believe that the Wuhan outbreak only started in late Nov/Dec 2019 in order to support a (multiple animal-to-human spillover) Huanan market origin hypothesis.
Actually, depending on whether the journalists carefully read the preprints they depicted as front-page breaking news, the @nytimes now also endorses the late Nov/Dec 2019 start date of the Covid-19 outbreak.…
Read 9 tweets
Point taken that many virologists do not like the BL2-to-dentist's office comparison.

But does this mean they still think working with 100s of new airborne viruses in BL2 is wise?

This research is still ongoing with SARS, MERS, ebola, nipah-like viruses.
For years, some scientists studied pathogens that they described as poised to cause a pandemic at low biosafety BL2.

My guess is that they didn't believe their own hype and assumed that novel viruses found in nature were not actually pandemic-level.
But post-pandemic, many scientists, especially those who think a natural #OriginOfCovid near certain, now say that these novel viruses found in nature are primed to cause human outbreaks.

So how can it be rational to be studying all these pandemic pathogens at BL2?
Read 4 tweets
One of the deeply under appreciated aspects of #OriginofCovid is that, according to EcoHealth docs, in 2018, WIV had over 180 viral strains that could bridge the gap between SARS2 and RaTG13/BANAL. Over 125 viral strains in the spike range of SARS2 (and could evade mAb/vaccines).
And thousands of samples from where the nearest relatives were found.

Add to this, the extensive US and Chinese state-funded projects in the 2018-19 timeframe, with the same kind of work (with live viruses in BSL-2 & -3) that could’ve led to SARS2.
Having some elementary knowledge of statistical probability, I would go so far as to say that while not impossible that some wild host brought it to Wuhan, the odds are like hitting a cosmic lottery.
Read 5 tweets
Circumstantial evidence #OriginOfCovid

Lab: Outbreak started next to low biosafety lab studying & engineering diverse SARS-like viruses from caves & markets across China & SE Asia.

Market: Early Covid-19 cluster was at market that sold animals that can carry SARS-like viruses.
Circ. evidence that moved the 🪡 for me was 2021 revelation that the Wuhan-US scientists had a 2018 roadmap for inserting novel cleavage sites in unspecified SARS-like viruses👩‍🔬

SARS2 is the only known SARS-like virus with such a cleavage site insertion.…
For me, it would be a colossal coincidence (but not implausible) for a virus like SARS2 to naturally emerge in the only city in the world where scientists had years of access to SARS2-like viruses and the plans+ability to insert novel cleavage sites (a feature unique to SARS2).
Read 4 tweets
Scientists can't tell us what the #OriginOfCovid is. Neither can intelligence agencies in the US and other countries.

I don't understand why people are rushing to bet their party or "science" on a particular origin.…
I'm curious what the plan is for those scientists (& non-scientists) who are telling everyone that the science points solidly at a natural #OriginOfCovid

It's not going to be easy to recover trust in science (or you) if evidence for a lab origin surfaces in the years to come.
We know that a lot of key evidence and info is being suppressed. We just don't know what that evidence points to - a natural or lab #OriginOfCovid

If you put truth 1st (and not "winning" for your tribe), then the only rational position is science/intelligence doesn't know yet.
Read 5 tweets
After Ian Lipkin sent this email to a co-author on Proximal Origin, their manuscript was posted on Virological 5 days later - arguing against an adaptation through culture #OriginOfCovid scenario.

Archived Proximal Origin here:
The Proximal Origin arguments have not aged well.

We now know the Wuhan Institute of Virology had access to SARS2-like viruses (+ we don't know what 180 unique SARS-like viruses they had found by 2018). They also had the intent to engineer novel cleavage sites into SARSrCoVs.
The Proximal Origin authors wrote: "Identifying the immediate non-human animal source and obtaining virus sequences from it would be the most definitive way of revealing virus origins."

Well, it's now 2 years later and no original animal source or SARS2 variant has been found.
Read 5 tweets
An unexpected & welcome piece by @KelseyTuoc @voxdotcom on media failures in 2020:
"But lab origins weren’t a conspiracy theory — they were a credible scientific hypothesis, at a moment when we knew very little, for how Covid-19 could have originated"…
Disturbingly, 2+ years into the pandemic, some top journalists at influential media outlets have yet to learn lessons and hone their craft for reporting on developing Covid-19 stories.
It would be so refreshing if some scientists would just apologize for suppressing the lab #OriginOfCovid hypothesis for non-scientific reasons. Instead we're getting treated to Proximal Origin 2.0 preprints about "dispositive evidence" of a natural origin.…
Read 8 tweets
Start with the title: “The Huanan market was the epicenter of SARS-CoV-2 emergence”. This reads more like a newspaper headline than the title of a scientific article. Perhaps unintentionally.
Read 25 tweets

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