"[S]ilencing of scientists,..blanket denials,..careful guarding of..data and..samples—these elements have been emblematic of the approach by Chinese authorities at every stage of..outbreak. And they continue to obstruct..world’s ability to get answers."

"Tian and..team from...Wuhan CDC are filmed catching..bats and collecting..guano, in search of new bat-borne diseases..'It is while discovering new viruses that we are most at risk of infection,' he says, though he is shown handling..vials without wearing full protective gear."
"The video is perhaps even more notable for what it doesn’t reveal. Nothing is known outside China about the science gleaned from that expedition by the Wuhan CDC..The team has not disclosed what viruses, if any, it found in the cave, or even when the mission took place."
"According to the WHO report, the Wuhan CDC denied any storage or laboratory activities involving bat viruses before the coronavirus outbreak—a stance hard to reconcile with Tian’s boasts in..video about having visited dozens of bat caves and studied 300 types of virus[es]."
"Wuhan’s two rival teams of exotic bat disease specialists are now under renewed scrutiny. Tian’s team at the Wuhan CDC and Shi Zhengli’s at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) have both drawn criticism for a willingness to compromise safety, as they raced to make discoveries."
"The WHO report says Shi told the visiting team that all field work is done with full protective equipment..But in a June 2018 lecture, Shi said workers don’t do that in practice. 'In most cases, we’d wear simpler protection, and it’s okay,' she said on a Chinese TED Talk"
"To illustrate, she showed slides of her team spreading out nets in a cave to catch bats and sorting samples afterward. Some wear thin surgical masks and rubber gloves as they work, while others are unmasked with bare hands."
David Relman: "We can’t even begin to talk about a consensus other than a consensus that we don’t know..Any lab that handles a significant number of samples from bats..or performs engineering on coronaviruses..should be considered"

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More from @R_H_Ebright

4 Jun
"Biden’s call for an investigation and a report within 90 days into the possibility that the virus originated in a lab, if handled skillfully, may also prove to be an important step towards healing America’s democracy."

"Social and political polarisation, a fractured media environment, and rampant disinformation have created..barriers to establishing..facts. The space for elected officials..to challenge narratives that have gained hold among their own parties has been shrinking rapidly."
"In this context,..Biden’s..call for US intelligence agencies to investigate the Wuhan lab origins thesis sends a strong signal to Congress, the US public, and the expert community that science and facts will take precedence over partisanship."
Read 5 tweets
3 Jun
"[F]ormer FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb..says..burden should be on Beijing to 'provide evidence that would be exculpatory,' such as virus samples, blood samples from lab workers hospitalized with covid-like symptoms in November 2019, and..access to..lab"
"So long as the Chinese..fail..to provide that exculpatory evidence, and obstruct..an impartial international investigation, then the assumption should be that the Wuhan lab was the source of the pandemic"
A nation or institution seeking to its clear name immediately would open the books, open the databases, and open the freezers.

A nation or an institution seeking to obfuscate and obstruct would not.
Read 4 tweets
3 Jun
"[F]rom..first reports of..outbreak in Wuhan, it took..a nanosecond..to consider..link to..Wuhan Institute of Virology. Only two other labs in..world, in Galveston, TX, and Chapel Hill, NC, were doing similar research..It’s not a dozen cities..It’s three"

"A small group within the State Department..had..acquired classified intelligence suggesting that three WIV researchers conducting gain-of-function experiments on coronavirus samples had fallen ill in the autumn of 2019, before the COVID-19 outbreak was known to have started."
As officials at the meeting discussed what they could share with the public, they were advised by Christopher Park, the director of the State Department’s Biological Policy..not to say anything that would point to the US government’s own role in gain-of-function research"
Read 12 tweets
2 Jun
David Relman" "[L]aboratory accidents involving disease-causing viruses are an unfortunate and not so infrequent reality — as has been amply demonstrated here in the United States."

"From 2009 to 2013,..there were 800 cases in U.S. labs in which workers received medical attention because of incidents involving 'select agent pathogens.'"
"And China has its own experience with lab leaks:..outbreak of SARS in 2004 that killed one person was traced to the National Institute of Virology Laboratory in Beijing."
Read 5 tweets
1 Jun
"Lab leaks happen. They aren’t the result of conspiracies:..a lab accident is an accident..; they happen all the time, in this country and in others, and people die from them."

"There is evidence that the lab in question, which studies bat coronaviruses, [was] conducting what is called 'gain of function' research, a dangerous innovation in which diseases are deliberately made more virulent."
"There are strong hints that some of the bat-virus research at the Wuhan lab was funded in part by the American national-medical establishment — which is to say, the lab-leak hypothesis doesn’t implicate China alone."
Read 5 tweets
29 May
"Today, there are nearly 60 maximum containment facilities..planned, under construction, or in operation around the world..[H]alf have been established
in the last decade. This means potential risks are proliferating. "

BSL4 labs are booming
"Work with high-risk pathogens carries substantive safety risks to laboratory workers, the wider society, and the environment. A lab worker may be accidentally infected by a pathogen, causing disease in the individual, and potentially also in..the wider community."
"A pathogen may also be accidentally released directly into the environment through a lab containment breach, leading to potential spread of disease in the community."
Read 6 tweets

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