On changing my name.

I’m proud of the work I’ve done on #OriginOfCovid someone had to do it

I’ve been warned by friends & family that I’ve ended my career or can’t travel safely under my real name any more.

I’m just going to put it out here that I don’t have a plan for myself.
I know this really fascinates journalists. And it’s going to be a main feature of profiles about me regardless of how much I ask journalists to just report about #OriginOfCovid instead of my personal story.
I wish more scientists could ask whether this pandemic began because of research activities, without fearing for their careers and whether they could ever go home and see their families.
If anyone else has been in this super extraordinary situation, I’d be happy to hear your advice on what I’m supposed to do here.
Honestly, sometimes the question posed to me is “how do you plan to protect yourself from the Chinese government?”

And I’m like… I’ll change my name.
Ok, unsurprisingly, some have suggested that I get a gun permit.

I’m not about to become Neo.

Just asking for an investigation of a possible lab #OriginOfCovid shouldn’t require me to learn kungfu.

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More from @Ayjchan

12 Nov
People are asking what is going on with the #PangolinPapers

tldr multiple groups of scientists published non-reproducible papers on a pangolin virus that caused a media frenzy over pangolins as an intermediate host of SARS2 in 2020.

Instead of retracting the papers...
... the journals gave each team of scientists a year or more to gather data that actually supported their findings, which were meanwhile cited and incorporated across hundreds of studies.

The resulting massive corrections reveal at best highly negligent scientific conduct.
If authors are not penalized for this type of behavior, does it mean that our top journals are now permitting scientists to submit papers with whatever results they like, and only if they get called out by other scientists, then they are given a year to gather actual data?
Read 8 tweets
12 Nov
Our first peer-reviewed #OriginOfCovid manuscript is up! @shingheizhan

We review what is known about the SARS-CoV-2 FCS in the context of its pathogenesis, origin, and how future wildlife coronavirus sampling may alter the interpretation of existing data. academic.oup.com/mbe/advance-ar…
@shingheizhan One interesting part of our journey through peer review with this manuscript is that one of two reviewers at our first journal told us to take out all criticisms of other papers. At the 2nd journal, the reviewers told us to put all the criticisms back in and to cite @theintercept
I do feel that there is starting to be a shift within the scientific community.

I've also felt very validated to have received several emails from distinguished virologists, infectious diseases experts, zoologists, and other scientists telling @shingheizhan and I not to give up.
Read 5 tweets
12 Nov
One year later, the @Nature pangolin paper has finally been corrected, acknowledging (but refusing to publish) our analysis @shingheizhan

Their correction involves 1 figure, 2 tables, 1 new metagenomic dataset, 1 new PCR sequencing dataset & 6 sequences.
@Nature @shingheizhan I'm not sure this saga has done anything to

(1) Deter misattribution/mislabeling of samples, incorrectly described composite figures, missing key data etc. in papers at top journals

(2) Incentivize independent analysis aimed at reproducing studies published in top journals
@Nature @shingheizhan The next time a mysterious outbreak occurs, will we see a repeat performance of inaccurately written papers published in top journals and the dismissal of independent analyses demonstrating that these studies are not reproducible/accurate based on the available data?
Read 5 tweets
12 Nov
A series of needlessly suspicious miscues by Peter Daszak.
“None of these miscues say anything substantive about the science and the conclusion that the virus is almost certainly of zoonotic origin”

“When the rejected proposal was “leaked,” it looked like the scientists were hiding something. This misstep has nothing to do with SARS-CoV-2’s origin, but it nevertheless looked suspicious.”
Read 8 tweets
12 Nov
On “experiments to introduce proteolytic cleavage sites into SARSlike coronaviruses. Such a site in SARS-CoV-2 (cleaved by furin) enables the virus to efficiently infect human cells…” science.org/doi/10.1126/sc…
“the experiments, which hardly posed a threat..”

Is there anyone left post-pandemic who thinks it’s ok to be inserting novel cleavage sites into novel SARS-like viruses?
“… were not conducted and were proposed by UNC scientists.”

Did Peter Daszak or the EcoHealth tell @ScienceMagazine this? Would be good to see the actual communications leading up to the 2018 proposal to back up this statement.
Read 5 tweets
11 Nov
True story of a novel virus causing outbreaks across three different laboratories when animals or their tissues were shipped internationally and handled by lab personnel who were unaware of the virus’ presence in the animals.

It was 1967. Zero gain of function research of concern was being conducted. The researchers had not even been specifically looking for viruses. They were using the animals for vaccine production. The virus, Marburg, couldn’t even spread through the air.
Fast forward to 2019, scientists were sampling 10,000s of animals and humans, specifically targeting those at high risk of infection with novel viruses, bringing these back to labs, growing/synthesizing & recombining viruses, inserting novel features - much of this work at BSL2.
Read 13 tweets

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