Scientific Advisor at Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard 🧬 Co-author of VIRAL: the search for the origin of Covid-19 📖 A dangerous young investigator 🕵🏻♀
Jul 31 • 4 tweets • 1 min read
I have not once, in the past 3.5 years, worried that there might be direct evidence of a wildlife market #OriginOfCovid and that a whistleblower might come out with that evidence.
I can't say the same for the 4 Proximal Origin authors with regards to evidence of a lab origin.
I have maintained continuously that both natural & lab #OriginOfCovid hypotheses are plausible even if I shifted toward lab origin in 2021.
It is also reasonable for others to deduce that both are plausible but lean toward a natural origin.
No direct evidence has been reported.
Jul 23 • 7 tweets • 2 min read
Many experts initially expected the 2019 outbreak to follow the same trajectory as the 2003 SARS epidemic.
If it had been made public that the virus plausibly came from a lab, I believe this would've made decisionmakers rethink their assumptions about transmissibility in humans.
By the time significant differences were noticed between the 2019 pandemic virus and the 2003 SARS virus, it was too late.
No infected animals were reportedly found at the market, other markets, any farms, or anywhere along the supply chain.
Jul 20 • 19 tweets • 7 min read
The Proximal Origin authors have lost the moral high ground. In their private discussions of a lab #OriginOfCovid they mocked virus hunters for not being able to predict outbreaks of their own making and steered journalists away from asking hard questions about a lab leak.
Kristian Andersen said that performing gain of function experiments in BSL3 or less is completely nuts and that he wasn’t sure that the knowledge gained from these types of exceptionally dangerous experiments is at all actionable.
“It only takes one mistake.”
Jul 12 • 11 tweets • 4 min read
Longer email and slack conversations can be extracted from the select subcommittee's report on Proximal Origin.
Feb 2, KA: "[RF & CD] are much too conflicted to think about this issue straight - to them, the hypothesis of accidental lab escape is so unlikely and not something hey want to consider. The main issue is that accidental escape is in fact highly likely."
Jul 7 • 12 tweets • 3 min read
Chinese CDC director confirmed that early covid cases had been identified with a bias toward the market.
In contrast, people seeking help via social media in Wuhan, Dec 20-Jan 18, were predominantly in the district of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
I'm not saying that you can tell from the early case home addresses or from the location of help seekers how the virus first got into people.
But if someone believes you can do this, then they should acknowledge the spatial data pointing to the Wuhan lab.
Jun 30 • 4 tweets • 2 min read
I would also like to know if @WHO @mvankerkhove can shed some light on this engagement with NIAID senior scientific advisor and Proximal Origin authors bashing scientists like myself who are asking for an investigation of plausible lab #OriginOfCovid
Daszak wrote that the rules were "meant for pathogens that occur in humans and might be made more dangerous" so it didn't apply to bat viruses. His belief seemed to be that creating chimera in the lab was less risky than isolating new viruses. Debatable. documentcloud.org/documents/2386…
Jun 20 • 6 tweets • 3 min read
Because the SARS-like virus research was a US-China collaboration, not only do we know scientists had a precise plan in 2018 to create viruses matching the pandemic virus but we also know researchers on these projects might've been among the 1st Covid-19 cases. #OriginOfCovid
What's missing now is a public confirmation of alleged evidence in the US that the 2018 research plan had begun in 2019.
More details on the sick Wuhan scientists' symptoms and date of onset, if declassified, would be immensely helpful to understanding #OriginOfCovid
Jun 18 • 5 tweets • 2 min read
US and Chinese scientists hunting for SARS-like viruses in China did not always wear proper protective gear.
"... it's my judgment that the danger here is low enough that I'm not wearing a mask and I'm not recommending that anybody else wear one either." npr.org/transcripts/80…
Some virologists were flabbergasted when they heard the Wuhan scientists were working with live SARS-like viruses at BSL2. But before the pandemic, no one at journals or funding agencies seemed to flag this as a question or concern.
Regarding intel on the sick WIV workers, there are many questions.
Why is this still classified 3+ years after the pandemic started?
Were these details shared across all IC agencies that assessed #OriginOfCovid in 2021? What about in 2023? If so, which experts were consulted?
Much of the info and data on #OriginOfCovid - early cases, market animals, lab viruses - is incomplete and sometimes clearly biased or suppressed in some way.
Even if the intel is incomplete, it would help if as much detail as possible is declassified.
Jun 11 • 11 tweets • 4 min read
I hope the impending declassification of intel regarding sick WIV workers is as detailed as possible.
Whistleblower: "We were rock-solid confident that this was likely Covid-19 because they were working on advanced coronavirus research in the laboratory." thetimes.co.uk/article/inside…
The #OriginOfCovid bill passed the House of Representatives unanimously this year 419:0.
The 2018 Defuse proposal not only pitched creating SARS-like viruses with furin cleavage sites.
These scientists said they would build an app for warfighters to assess the risk of spillover of dangerous pathogens in Asia. Seriously. documentcloud.org/documents/2106…
I'd like them to walk us through exactly what these warfighters wandering around in Asia are going to do if the app tells them that the bats around them have SARS-like viruses.
May 29 • 5 tweets • 2 min read
A page from VIRAL. This is how seriously the Chinese authorities are taking the risks of pandemic viruses circulating in pangolins and other wildlife including raccoon dogs which are bred and sold for fur.
If there was any perception at all that pangolins and other wildlife pose a national (bio)security risk - the type that can lead to city-wide lockdowns and protests - it does not appear to be reflected in the pandemic response by Chinese authorities.
May 6 • 6 tweets • 2 min read
Listened to a podcast where a disease ecologist said the words "jump" & "spillover" don't accurately describe the way animal pathogens emerge in humans.
I agree. To me, it's like a shots on goal scenario where a pathogen has to take numerous opportunities to cause an outbreak.
This is why I was perturbed by the abrupt appearance of a pandemic-ready SARS-like virus in a city with no history of SARS-like viruses in its people or markets.
Instead it had a unique lab studying how SARS-like viruses jump between species & infect humanized mice & civets.
May 5 • 6 tweets • 4 min read
One thing I learnt from the raccoon dog saga is how easy it is for this group of scientists to schedule meetings with the @WHO SAGO to present analysis based on unavailable/incomplete data which cannot be checked or reproduced by other scientists.
From @TheAtlantic article: @WHO@TheAtlantic The single sample that caused so much hype in the media is indistinguishable from a sample that was cross-contaminated during processing, ie it doesn't tell us if that market surface had both raccoon dog and virus.
"Débarre.. who co-authored the first report on the animal sequences says that the latest analysis could never have answered the question of which animal hosts shed the viral material" nature.com/articles/d4158…
Huanan market map from the Chinese CDC paper.
Most Covid cases were on the west side of the market, which had total retail space >9 NFL fields. But cases did not correlate with sale of wildlife and do not even cluster around the wildlife stalls.
Apr 27 • 7 tweets • 4 min read
Most interesting part of the @nytimes interview is when @dwallacewells asks Dr Anthony Fauci if it weighs on him at all that the pandemic possibly started in a lab doing the type of research he promoted for years. #OriginOfCovid
There are so many parties sitting on unique fragments of info relevant to #OriginOfCovid
There should have been a systematic investigation in 2020 to collect these fragments and piece them together to form a better picture of how the pandemic began. nytimes.com/2023/04/23/wor…
Part of the problem is censorship from the Chinese gov, which caused evidence & samples relating to early cases to be hidden or destroyed.
But another part of the problem is the journals & databases that didn't come forward with these manuscripts - whether retracted or rejected.
Apr 4 • 7 tweets • 3 min read
@SherylNYT the genetic evidence of close relatives to the pandemic virus found in nature does not discern between the market and the lab, because both were drawing viruses from the same areas in South China and SE Asia and bringing these up into Wuhan.
If we're going to spend an inordinate amount of time talking about raccoon dogs, I believe an equal amount of time and energy should be devoted to tracking down all info outside of China related to the 2018 Wuhan-US defuse proposal.
In this proposal that scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology & US collaborators sent to DARPA in early 2018, they said they were looking for rare furin cleavage sites to put in live SARS-like viruses in the lab. They were synthesizing entire genomes & producing viruses.
Apr 4 • 6 tweets • 3 min read
You can choose whether or not to believe that the Chinese CDC is sharing their full data from the Huanan market.
Regardless, the data they provided, due to bias, sparsity & lateness of sampling, does not indicate a non-human animal source of the virus at Huanan.
Comparing the Chinese CDC paper and Worobey/Proximal Origin et al. papers in Science that used the same data, the former makes few assertions while the latter went on @nytimes breaking news with claims of "dispositive" and "incontrovertible" evidence for a market #OriginOfCovid