Chinese Study: “The [Wuhan] coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory”

Corona Virus John Hopkins 20200216
Johns Hopkins Corona Virus Dashboard 2020-02-16

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A Chinese scientific paper has suggested careless biosecurity at a disease research laboratory just 280 yards from the market where the outbreak was originally detected was responsible for the Covid-19 Chinese Corona Virus.

Did coronavirus originate in Chinese government laboratory? Scientists believe killer disease may have begun in research facility 300 yards from Wuhan wet fish market

  • Beijing-sponsored South China University of Technology concludes that ‘the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan’
  • It points to research on bats and respiratory diseases carried by the animals at  the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and the Wuhan Institute of Virology
  • WCDC is just 300 yards from the seafood market and is adjacent to the hospital


PUBLISHED: 00:22 AEDT, 17 February 2020 | UPDATED: 03:00 AEDT, 17 February 2020

Chinese scientists believe the deadly coronavirus may have started life in a research facility just 300 yards from the Wuhan fish market.

A new bombshell paper from the Beijing-sponsored South China University of Technology says that the Wuhan Center for Disease Control (WHCDC) could have spawned the contagion in Hubei province.

‘The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus,’ penned by scholars Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao claims the WHCDC kept disease-ridden animals in laboratories, including 605 bats. 

It also mentions that bats – which are linked to coronavirus – once attacked a researcher and ‘blood of bat was on his skin.’

Read more:

The abstract of the paper.

The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus

Botao Xiao 21.93 South China University of Technology
Lei Xiao

The 2019-nCoV has caused an epidemic of 28,060 laboratory-confirmed infections in human including 564 deaths in China by February 6, 2020. Two descriptions of the virus published on Nature this week indicated that the genome sequences from patients were almost identical to the Bat CoV ZC45 coronavirus. It was critical to study where the pathogen came from and how it passed onto human. An article published on The Lancet reported that 27 of 41 infected patients were found to have contact with the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan. We noted two laboratories conducting research on bat coronavirus in Wuhan, one of which was only 280 meters from the seafood market. We briefly examined the histories of the laboratories and proposed that the coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory. Our proposal provided an alternative origin of the coronavirus in addition to natural recombination and intermediate host.

Original link (deleted):
Web Archive:
PDF Backup Copy: Click here

There have been suggestions that Wuhan was performing biological warfare research, a claim China strenuously denies.

The paper cited above does not go into detail about exactly what the Wuhan laboratory was doing with their infected animals, but careless biosecurity is a plausible explanation for what happened; researchers in constant close contact with infected mammals, obviously not wearing proper protective clothing to prevent injury or contamination, getting scratched and urinated on, not taking proper precautions, would have created plenty of opportunities for cross over and hybridisation between bat and human Corona viruses, and whatever else they were keeping in their cages.

If the claim of careless biosecurity is correct, the emergence of a dangerous hybrid virus capable of infecting humans was always a possibility. Through their carelessness, the virus researchers may have been inadvertently creating and incubating a stream of increasingly dangerous hybrid pathogens, until finally a potential pandemic escaped their laboratory.

Map showing the South China University Disease Research Laboratory and the Wet Market where Covid-19 was First Detected. Source Daily Mail
Map showing the South China University Disease Research Laboratory and the Wet Market where Covid-19 was First Detected. Source Daily Mail

Update (EW): h/t Danny Davis – Corrected the name John Hopkins -> Johns Hopkins and fixed the link to the Corona Virus dashboard in the top caption.

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February 17, 2020 6:16 pm

“careless biosecurity is a plausible explanation for what happened”

Check out the book “Lab 257” about the Plumb Island bioweapons research facility. Crazy stuff goes on in those facilities all the time. They are filled with humans who do really dumb stuff a lot.

“Only 2 things are infinite. The universe and human stupidity and I’m not sure about the former.” – Albert Einstein

1) Most likely is it escaped confinement. Happens ALL the time at these places.
2) Knowing the Chinese had stolen it from Canada and were working on it a foreign power released it in the market with plausible deniability.
3) Natural cross species migration in a crowded unsanitary market. Could happen but way more obstacles than most people realize.

#1 is my choice at this time by a large margin but you can’t discount the other 2.

Reply to  TRM
February 17, 2020 7:44 pm

Stolen from Canada eh.

We have some fairly reliable information. CBC A Chinese couple were removed from a government lab in Winnipeg.

We have some possibly wild speculation. link

Chinese economic spying has been rampant. I find the possibility that China stole virus material to be at least somewhat credible. I really do not understand the web sites that say it couldn’t have happened.

Rhoda R
Reply to  commieBob
February 17, 2020 8:47 pm

China has a lot of apologists out there.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Rhoda R
February 18, 2020 3:05 am

Rhoda: Agree. A possibility is the embarassment to the government that these atrocious “wet” markets are a backbone of food distribution in much of China and that the rest of the world has a rinkside seat.

My doctor tells me these animals are commonly raised in the homes of the producers and this is why this country is the incubator of the best known wonderful cross-over flu and other viruses in the world. It’s like living in an infectious disease laboratory without masks and containment protocols.

He also said in Vietnam they passed a law prohibiting raising animals for food in the same building where humans live, precisely because of this problem.

The research lab is a reasonable source to consider (it’s location, however, seems ridiculous). I can see that blaming the lab is the best policy because the authorities can deflect and of course, puting a researcher and his boss to death closes the file neatly.

I recommend the “hot pot” for dinner on your next visit.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
February 18, 2020 6:55 am

It’s already been established that market is not ground zero according to Senator Cotton.

David A
Reply to  Gary Pearse
February 18, 2020 9:13 pm

While I lean towards an accidental release of research, not a bio-weapon, it is not established that thus was not a natural mishap. Why? Because we have no guarantee that patient naught one was found.

George LoBuono
Reply to  Gary Pearse
February 20, 2020 3:23 pm

Easy for accidental release to happen, but at level 4? Why the bat research, anyway? Such has happened before. HIV, however, and Kaprowski in the Congo, Merck’s NYC contamination w. HIV, weren’t quite so random.

Reply to  commieBob
February 17, 2020 9:18 pm


Police are investigating “possible policy breaches” at the National Microbiology Laboratory.
Jul 16, 2019
Canada’s national police force is investigating “possible policy breaches” after researchers were escorted from a lab at Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, CBC News reported earlier this week (July 14). Prominent virologist Xiangguo Qiu, her colleague and husband Keding Cheng, and an unknown number of her students from China were removed from the lab on July 5.

Reply to  TRM
February 18, 2020 4:19 am

Good ol’ Plum Island, birthplace of Lime disease?

Reply to  MPennery
February 18, 2020 11:52 am

Lyme disease.
It was found in Ötsi, the 5500 year-old Ice Mummy.
I guess Ötsi visited America in 3000 BC?

Reply to  bubbagyro
February 18, 2020 7:05 pm

Their are lots of Borrelia, bubbagyro, and several are endemic in Europe. So the US Lyme Disease pathogen is likely not the same one in Ötsi.

john harmsworth
Reply to  TRM
February 18, 2020 7:12 am

Within just a few days of the outbreak’s first cases, an Indian paper came out that indicated there were 4 separate inclusions of protein sequences from HIV-1 in the new coronavirus. If this is correct there is almost no chance that this was a natural mutation. It would have to be manmade.
The purpose in splicing these proteins into a SARS-like virus are open to imformed guesses by experts in that field. Bio-warfare appears the most likely to me but I ma not an expert.

Reply to  john harmsworth
February 18, 2020 7:58 am

That paper was not peer reviewed and was almost immediately withdrawn.

john harmsworth
Reply to  MarkW
February 18, 2020 11:58 am

The withdrawal appears to be because it was hastily done and some critics implied that the similarities could be coincidental. This seems doubtful to me at best. Haste is certainly forgiveable in the context of the threat. The possibility needs to be examined at least, Especially since China cannot be trusted. They certainly knew early on that 13 of the initial 41 cases had no connection to the seafood market. An unexplainable fact unless it didn’t originate in the seafood market. Nor did they mention that the level 4 lab is less than 300 meters away and that it performed research on SARS and other bat viruses.
You can trust the Chinese news dissemination/ propaganda organs if you want.

Reply to  john harmsworth
February 18, 2020 3:44 pm

Hastily and poorly done.
And yes, he hasn’t demonstrated that the alleged similarities aren’t coincidental.

I disagree that haste is excusable. If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, don’t do it at all. This goes double for the medical profession. I don’t see any advantage to getting that paper out a week earlier.

Why should I trust your gut instinct on this issue. You seem to be under the impression that a city 1000 miles from the coast has an open air seafood market.

You also seem to be another person who can’t fathom the fact that just because something is a biological research facility is not proof that it was doing bio-weapons work.

BTW, even if I assumed that every word out of China was a lie, that doesn’t provide any support for a poorly done and rushed paper that had to be withdrawn.

PS: You seem to be so eager to declare that everything out of China is a lie, but you are quite willing to believe that 13 of the original 41 cases is a true claim.

Michelle Z.
Reply to  john harmsworth
February 18, 2020 8:35 pm

Haste is not how science can be done, if done well. Truly, they wasted their time getting the paper out there and quickly having it disappear. Conspiracy or bad science made to go away? I think bad science.

Philip Nash
Reply to  john harmsworth
February 19, 2020 4:13 pm

I would not trust the Indian paper, where was that published? On the other hand many prominent Western scientists hav said the virus is natural not manmade.

Reply to  TRM
February 18, 2020 7:38 am

Thank you, could only remember Plumb Island not the name, Lab 257. Reagan thought the security was too expensive when he came into office and eventually no precautions were taken. I lived north or Dirty Dietrich and no one who worked there really takes precautions as they really have no idea how dangerous some of the work could be. Just a little freshman year high school science, please.

Alan Robertson
February 17, 2020 6:22 pm

Believe, may, possible; all words which indicate more speculation than hard evidence.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 17, 2020 8:23 pm

Eric: the University is Johns Hopkins.
Here is a better link to their Graphic Summary “Dashboard”

For me, following the link in the post results in a Login Page

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 17, 2020 10:27 pm

While it is a bat virus, it is assumed at the moment that it came to humans through a pangolin. The pangolin version is much closer to the human version than the bat version.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
February 18, 2020 12:05 pm

Another interesting factoid. Not sure where you got tat but you are generally very credible and informed so I will accept that as most likely correct until I hear differently. My main interest is in the Indian paper which as withdrawn, showing 4 inclusions of HIV-1 protein sequences. Withdrawn, but apparently for reasons other than the likely accuracy of their man conclusions.
In a situation like this, governments are rarely to be relied on for accurate information. In democracies, the politicians who talk to us know next to nothing about the science. IN authoritarian regimes they delay saying anything and then deliberately misinform because maintaining control is their first and only real concern.
I believe they have lied and continue to lie.

john harmsworth
Reply to  john harmsworth
February 18, 2020 12:06 pm

Apologies for the typos.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  john harmsworth
February 18, 2020 11:27 pm

“My main interest is in the Indian paper which as withdrawn, showing 4 inclusions of HIV-1 protein sequences. Withdrawn, but apparently for reasons other than the likely accuracy of their man conclusions.”

you are completely oblivious to the conflict between India and China

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
February 20, 2020 8:45 am

Yes, the pangolin version shows a 99% match compared with the 88% match with the bat version. Also since the pangolin is a protected species in China the trade in it is illegal so if it was being traded in the market it will have been undercover and non-traceable.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 18, 2020 5:28 am
David A
Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 18, 2020 11:29 am

… additionally at this time of year bats native to the Wuhan area have either migrated to warmer regions, or gone into hibernation.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  David A
February 18, 2020 9:43 pm

The event where the virus passed to the first person was not at this time of year.
And if it was from the market it was a wild caught bat, from who knows where.
And the best evidence is there was an intermediate.
So none of the doubts stand up to scrutiny as making the obvious correlation to the market nonviable.
13 of the original 41 could have been 2nd generation infectees.
Or maybe no known connection to market just means no one knows what the connection was.
On top of that there is scant reason to think exhaustive investigation has been done in the midst of the outbreak.
Typically details are only worked out months and years later in such outbreaks.
People do not recall every detail of movements and contacts in a big city months later…even if they knew every contact they had.
You walk down the street and someone coughs.
You walk in a store and the clerk hands you contaminated folding money. You put It in your pocket and touch your nose or brush hair from eyes.
It took many years for the sequence of events of SARS to be elucidated, and many details are still not known.
It is illogical to expect every source of every infection to be discovered or discoverable.
When people know a person shot or stabbed another person, does that mean asking some questions will reveal all the details of who did what, every time?
And viruses do not talk and are invisible, and latency and incubation periods obscure details.
And since when are people, sick or healthy, having 100% recall of small daily details?
Not logical to assume everything should be known.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 18, 2020 7:17 pm

Eric – the most likely hypothesis that I’ve seen in the literature is infection from a pangolin and they were sold in the market. The other Corona-virus crossovers have not been directly from bats: SARS was from an infected civet cat and MERS from camels. Both viruses originated in bats, but crossed over via other animals. In Queensland we have a similar problem – Hendra virus is in fruit bats, but it usually gets into people via horses who have picked up the virus from grazing and resting under bat roosts. Then pity the poor veterinarian.

I don’t think much of this paper. It is possible that the virus escaped from the lab, but the only real reason to suspect so is the prevalence of human stupidity and the over-reaction of the Chinese government. Jumping from bush meat markets, though, is a simpler hypothesis and one with a proven history. So I prefer it unless and until contradictory data emerges.

holly elizabeth Birtwistle
Reply to  DaveW
February 19, 2020 3:59 pm

Thank you DaveW. You are the only voice of reason on this thread. Almost everyone else has chosen the science-fiction direction. ” It’s escaped from the LAb!!!!! It’s finally happened!!!!!!”
Normally sane, common sense, knowledgable and articulate commentors have abandoned reason, evidence, and history for fake news. It is baffling.

Reply to  holly elizabeth Birtwistle
February 23, 2020 8:06 pm

Yeah dummy, except it is proven that in 2002-03 two strains of the SARS virus that the Chinese were working on at this EXACT lab leaked the virus! Duh…..Now is the idea of another leak so impossible to contemplate?

Reply to  Alan Robertson
February 17, 2020 9:14 pm

Previous posts from early February:

Published on February 4, 2020
I am forwarding this link to several medical doctors for their comments.

At this point it is an interesting hypothesis. It is notable that the primary biological weapons lab in China is located at Wuhan. It is also notable that many of the earliest patients infected with the coronavirus were never close to the animal market.

Stephen wrote:
“So the ones who didn’t get it from the market got it from those who did ? Doesn’t prove anything either way. ”

That is one possibility – there are others. “Patient Zero” was reportedly not at the animal market.

“So, please, no more panicky posts…”

Seriously Stephen? The panic is already here – the avalanche of government-mandated quarantines has made travel to SE Asia high-risk – the risk of catching the corona virus is still low, but the risk of getting stuck in Asia by a quarantine is probably greater than 90%. That is why one week ago I cancelled my trip there, scheduled to leave Tuesday Feb 4.

The interview with Dr Francis Boyle, who drafted the USA’s 1989 Bioweapons Act, seems a bit over-the-top, but he is an intelligent professional who has devoted his life to this subject, so he knows a lot more than you or I do.

Examining the balance of probabilities based on the above limited evidence, I’d conclude that it is more probable that the corona virus originated from the Wuhan bioweapons lab, not from the animal market.

Stay tuned…

David A
February 18, 2020 11:38 am

Allan, please consider that it may well be an accidental release of a defensive attempt to develope a virus and vaccine for what was expected and warned about.

David A
Reply to  David A
February 18, 2020 11:43 am

I don’t see how this is a logical bio-weapon.

john harmsworth
Reply to  David A
February 18, 2020 12:47 pm

If we compare the rate of recovered patients to deaths we get about a 20% rate of fatality. It’s not definitive because there are so many recent infections but it gives a death rate of about 20% for an airborne virus with a pretty high rate of contagiousness. If the outbreak gets worse it will devastate the Chines economy.
When SARS hit Canada they had nurses refusing to show up for work. There are almost 2000 health workers in China who are infected so far. At what point does the system stop working? Reports say that 61% of deaths are occurring at home and are not included in the coronavirus total.
People have to go to a community clinic for an assessment before being referred for actual coronavirus examination and testing. The community clinics are choked and lined up with sick people. Gross under-reporting of the number of cases.
What more could you ask of a bio-weapon?

Reply to  David A
February 18, 2020 3:47 pm

Rate of recovery has a lot to do with medical condition of the patients and the type of medical care provided.
Cases outside of China don’t seem to be suffering from anywhere near as high a rate of death.

BTW, where did you get your claim of 20%? Nobody else is giving out a number even close to that.

David A
Reply to  David A
February 18, 2020 9:22 pm

What more could you ask?
That it not easily mutate.
That it not kill your own people.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  David A
February 18, 2020 9:58 pm

More like 2% and only that when mild cases not reported are not included.
20% is a ridiculous intentional exaggeration.
Farnsworth cannot be bothered to read the details of the retracted paper and the reason it was retracted, but puffs up his opinion based on nothing that the retraction does not mean the conclusion was wrong.
Still spreading a false story weeks after it was withdrawn by the authors.
What evidence that the authors had any competency?
Does not even get the details right…they were claimed amino acid sequences, not proteins.
I posted the exact criticism last week.
A few amino acids were in sequence but the author ignored a long intervening stretch of randomly different amino acids.
Two stretches of four amino acids is statistically meaningless.
On top of that, there are hundreds of other viruses besides the one claimed that share those sequences.
The authors were incompetent hacks who had no idea what they were talking about.
Not exactly rare bin science these days…or ever.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  David A
February 18, 2020 10:01 pm

Sorry, autocorrect on my pad changed Harmsworth to Farnsworth.
Did not mean to get name wrong.

john harmsworth
Reply to  David A
February 19, 2020 6:14 am

Look at resolved cases. Approximately 1 death for every 4 or 5 declared recovered. This is undoubtedly high due to the lag effect of more recent cases and the undiagnosed cases and they are learning how to treat it better. But those are the people who have been through treatment of whatever kind.
I’m just looking at the numbers and doing little simple math.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  David A
February 19, 2020 9:30 am

I am not interested whatsoever in minimizing how bad this is, or how bad it might get.
But I think it is important not to exaggerate either…the truth sounds bad enough.
I am not sure what numbers you are referring to, but everyone seems to agree that the death rate looks to be about 2% or slightly higher, but that these numbers are almost surely missing a large number of people who have mild or no symptoms, and so are not being counted, and that the final number may be as low as 1%.
But that last part is a supposition.
It is however, a supposition based on a well known fact…the numbers that give 2% are only including people who have shown up to be tested or treated, and people with no or mild symptoms will not go to a hospital, particularly in this sort of situation.
For someone with mild symptoms, they might think they only have a cold (in fact there is no reason to think the usual number of people are not still getting all the usual types of colds and flu), and anyone with a cold would be nuts to go to where very sick people with a terrible new illness are congregating.
So there is every reason to think the denominator will be a much larger number in the final analysis.
Then we have to look at people infected in other places than China.
AFAIK, none of the over 542 people who were infected on that cruise ship have died.
So far, it seems that outside of China, 5 out of greater than 1000 people (hard to get an exact number, but it is at least 1000) who have been infected have died, although at least two of them are in Hong Kong, which iffen you ask me is close enough that it might as well be part of China.
It would not be prudent to assume that these numbers will be the final tally, or proportionate to the final tally, but as it stands, outside of China, the death rate so far is less than one out of 200 people. Which, if I am figuring it correctly, is < 0.5%…so far.
Inside China, CNN is reporting over 75,000 people known to be infected, some 2000 deaths. So something like 2 in 75 people.
Very roughly and very tentatively ands based on untrustworthy numbers…but you have to go on something.
Update…624 cases on the petri dish ship…still no deaths.

Bill Powers
Reply to  Alan Robertson
February 18, 2020 4:04 am

Exactly my point about every article I have every read about CAGW and the earths impending doom from man burning fossil fuel. Yet we are bombarded with an endless parade of might be, could be, probabilities, mostly from computer generated confirmation bias, that almost always result in resets and new probabilities. All of them “Likely” false. See what I did there.

There is one thing about this article, considering the human logistics, 300 yard is like the parking lot of a football stadium, it is at least worth a thorough examination. Sometimes “possible” is a stretch and other times it places you 300 yards away from the truth.

February 17, 2020 6:25 pm

We had a toxicology lab in the building where I used to work. One of its workers was a chronic pencil chewer. That gave me the willies.

In another part of the operation, someone noticed that the people most likely to be injured or die were the ones who wrote the safety manuals.

Reply to  commieBob
February 17, 2020 8:10 pm

commiebob: “In another part of the operation, someone noticed that the people most likely to be injured or die were the ones who wrote the safety manuals.”

Okay, that made me laugh. I don’t know why – it’s no laughing matter to those who died – but it hit my funnybone. Maybe it was the jolt when my irony meter pegged.

M Courtney
Reply to  H.R.
February 18, 2020 2:14 am

It sounds silly but the people who write the safety manuals are the people who focus on the riskiest activities.
If they are only looking at people sitting on chairs then they are probably wasting their time.
So of course they end up in the riskiest situations.

Reply to  M Courtney
February 18, 2020 4:18 am

Where I work, the chronic F-up’s get a desk job writing procedures or “auditing processes” because they can’t be trusted to do the actual work without screwing it up.

I’m sure things are similar in Communist government jobs.

john harmsworth
Reply to  UNGN
February 18, 2020 7:23 am

Every government office is protected by active safety commitees. And yet people still get paper cuts. It’s shocking.

john harmsworth
Reply to  M Courtney
February 18, 2020 7:21 am

Safety regulations are great up to a point. They can also impart a false sense of security that encourages people to stop observing and thinking. They also have evolved from accident prevention to butt-covering policy boiler plate that seeks to provide legal security for the employer against being sued. Along with that comes such onerous and massive regulation of personal behaviour that people can’t even remember it all or take a lot of it seriously.
It is part of a patronizing legal system that assumes the employer is responsible for every action taken by employees. It comes from a Medieval viewpoint wherein employees have no education, options or power.

Bill Parsons
Reply to  john harmsworth
February 18, 2020 11:53 am

“They also have evolved from accident prevention to butt-covering policy boiler plate that seeks to provide legal security for the employer against being sued.”

Well, suffocation IS a real danger from all that plastic wrapping material… depending on how carelessly you unwrap stuff. I know, I know. Kids and pets… But really…

Egg carton label: “This product may contain eggs”
Lighter sticker: “Do not use near fire or flame”
Windshield screen: “Do not drive with screen in windshield”
Scarf caveat: “Warning! Danger of choking or strangulation.”
Letter opener: “Safety goggles recommended”
Backhoe: “Avoid Death!”
Fox and Bobcat Urine: “Not for human consumption”

Bat, Civet, Pangolin: “Cook thoroughly before eating”

David A
Reply to  john harmsworth
February 18, 2020 9:25 pm

Bingo. The highest concentration of accident is the first and last 30 minutes.
People thinking about the fight they just had with the spouse, or the child they just dropped off, or getting off soon and what they plan for the evening.

General situation awareness is the best safety habit.

Bloke down the pub
Reply to  commieBob
February 18, 2020 4:04 am

Not too long back, the UK had an outbreak of foot and mouth disease that had escaped a nearby research lab due to a leaky drain.

Reply to  Bloke down the pub
February 18, 2020 5:04 am

thank you , glad someone else remembers that.
and similar event recently after a flood or freeze cracked pipes in a canadian? lab too
the uv steriliser also failed from memory so it was a double whammy

Reply to  ozspeaksup
February 18, 2020 8:05 am

One problem with having multiple layers of protection is that people become lax regarding the maintenance of any particular layer in that protection.
After all, if the UV sterilizer fails, the other layers will catch it.
I’m not arguing against having multiple layers, just that those involved can’t use the protection as an excuse to become less vigilant.

Bob Rogers
Reply to  Bloke down the pub
February 18, 2020 11:43 am

Thanks for mentioning that. I remember the outbreak well (from the news reporting here in the USA), but I had never heard how it originated.

michael hart
February 17, 2020 6:34 pm

Still just speculation.

Human technologies and their abilities are frequently exaggerated, especially by those with an agenda or those seeking publicity. Practically speaking, generating new lethal strains that can persist in the natural environment still requires many hurdles to be passed, and the real world school-of-hard-knocks remains the best laboratory to generate such things.

Jean Parisot
February 17, 2020 6:35 pm

Surprised it got published.

Reply to  Jean Parisot
February 17, 2020 9:05 pm

“Surprised it got published.”

Me too.
NOT surprised if the two authors suddenly disappear. (Poof!) (Actually Bang! … Bang!)

Crispin in Waterloo
February 17, 2020 10:30 pm

Suicide is usually more effective if you shoot yourself twice in the head. Just ask Gary Webb.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
February 18, 2020 5:05 am

nailguns are popular with banksters I hear;-)

Johann Wundersamer
March 1, 2020 12:22 pm

“Crispin in Waterloo February 17, 2020 at 10:30 pm

Suicide is usually more effective if you shoot yourself twice in the head. Just ask Gary Webb.”


The bell arts; magicians and entertainers.

Tricky to shoot yourself twice in the head.

Sweet Old Bob
February 17, 2020 6:36 pm

Senator Cotton says it did not come from the market .
Bet he has access to better info than most .
Chinas’ response seems to indicate that they are fearful of CoViD 19 .

Dan J. Cody
February 17, 2020 6:40 pm

Talk about a bat out of hell! …It seems like we’re our own worst enemy.

Robert of Texas
February 17, 2020 6:47 pm

Ugh. This is a TERRIBLE virus for use as a Bio-Weapon – unless the sponsor is suicidal.

A Bio-Weapon has to be controllable by the aggressor or it’s useless. It could only be used as a weapon of terror, and then only by a party so stupid they would fail to understand it will harm their side as much as the attacked party. So unless they have a vaccine handy, this was not part of a bio-weapons development.

It *might* be out of a laboratory studying the virus in general – that is possible – but just barely believable. The simplest explanation so far (given the evidence we have) is it likely spread from an infected animal to a human in or around a food market.

These viruses, especially the RNA ones, mutate rapidly. If a host creature is unaffected by the virus (that is shows few if any signs of infection) then the virus has a lot of time to mutate into various forms. If one of these forms allow it to hop over to a human host, then you have your first infection. From there it’s just math. So, assuming there is a live host and it is tolerant of the virus and it was around humans for a significant time (or maybe there are many of these hosts), the mathematical chance that a virus will mutate into a form that infects humans is almost a given (for this type of virus) over enough time.

Now, had a Chinese laboratory had quickly available a vaccine, this rumor would have stronger legs. As it is, this has all the hallmarks of a natural species jump from one host to another. It is actually surprising we do not see more of these events – possibly we just are not detecting them yet (if they kill less people, we might never look)

john harmsworth
Reply to  Robert of Texas
February 18, 2020 7:27 am

If you want to have and/or use such a weapon you just want to make sure you have the vaccine ready beforehand.

TC in the OC
Reply to  Robert of Texas
February 18, 2020 7:51 am


From what I have pieced together by reading a lot of different sources is that if this was a Bio-weapon it was not one that was designed by the Chinese but was stolen by them so their labs could find a vaccine.

It got out because of a lack of lab safety protocol that most articles seem to think the Chinese are very poor at.

And when trying not to see a conspiracy in everything it could be that they were studying the virus to find a vaccine and it escaped because of shoddy protocol.


Michael Burns
Reply to  TC in the OC
February 18, 2020 10:17 am

“And when trying not to see a conspiracy in everything it could be that they were studying the virus to find a vaccine and it escaped because of shoddy protocol.”

That being said, it is an extreme thing to say that shoddy protocol about such an organism happened…and then…

“It got out because of a lack of lab safety protocol that most articles seem to think the Chinese are very poor at.”

Biolabs it seems is built in four levels — “Biosafety level 1 (BSL-1) is suitable for work with well-characterized agents which do not cause disease in healthy humans.”
But these are keep clean, free of contamination. Special methods are used for cleaning.
Each successive layer is built on the last, entrenching protocols move up in stringency of purpose. Someone of a level one clearance would never be allowed I would presume to move to successive levels. Especially to a level-4
By the time one reaches a BSL-4 one will need…


In addition to BSL-3 considerations, BSL-4 laboratories have the following containment requirements:

Laboratory practices

Change clothing before entering.
Shower upon exiting.
Decontaminate all materials before exiting.

Safety equipment

All work with the microbe must be performed within an appropriate [Class III BSC] , or by wearing a full body, air-supplied, positive pressure A suit.

Facility construction

The laboratory is in a separate building or in an isolated and restricted zone of the building.
The laboratory has dedicated supply and exhaust air, as well as vacuum lines and decontamination systems.” –CDC -(

It is airtight…

Now a Class lll BSC is a serious matter, not to be taken lightly, one can if careless kill themselves and everyone in the facility. So…the highly qualified and senior scientists with respected and obsessively well trained personnel, might work here.

“The Class III cabinet, generally only installed in maximum containment laboratories, is specifically designed for work with BSL-4 pathogenic agents, providing maximum protection. The enclosure is gas-tight, and all materials enter and leave through a [dunk tank or double-door autoclave]. Gloves attached to the front prevent direct contact with hazardous materials (Class III cabinets are sometimes called glove boxes). These custom-built cabinets often attach into a line, and the lab equipment installed inside is usually custom-built as well.

Wuhan Institute of Virology is a BSL-4, built just 4 years ago, and could be presumed to be a state-of the-art facility.

2019-nCoV or as it is now being called Covid-19 would not have got out of the Chinese Biolab via a ” […] lack of lab safety protocol […]”

Either a scientist went mad or purposely released it, there is no other way. Unless…
Is there a possibility of an accidental release?.. of course, there is — but the chances of that are so very high that it remains to look at the simplest answer when so many other factors come into this equation. And those are pollution and another cause of this pneumonia; an animal market; a drug company with a marvellous new pro-drug that has failed the purpose it was intended and its seems was hijacked by WIV and a patent saught within China; corporate and academic espionage by the Chinese government; evolution: a viral jump from one species to another: a lesson being taught for the constant thief of intellectual property by Chinese and western academics willing to do anything for money and clout, and fame; a bio-weapon; research being conducted on a grand scale of a new generation nano-technology as an advent of the new 5G world within China; a trade war.

China has launched its 5G technology as of November, 2019 and believes it is the largest in the world (sic).

David A
Reply to  Robert of Texas
February 18, 2020 11:50 am

We know the Wuhan lab developed and demonstrated a similar SARS like virus that was based on the human ACE2 route. We know they expected such a natural development as seen. ( Bats were not being sold in the market at thus time. ( Either migrated to a warmer climate, or hibernating.).

Not only were there the four questionable short sequences, there is a open market for sake tool sequence for splicing in the RNA if this virus.

David A
Reply to  David A
February 18, 2020 9:29 pm

Sorry about the typos.

Not only were there the four questionable short sequences, there is a open market, for sale, tool sequence for splicing RNA, in this virus.

Michael S. Kelly
February 17, 2020 6:48 pm

“…researchers in constant close contact with infected mammals, obviously not wearing proper protective clothing to prevent injury or contamination, getting scratched and urinated on, not taking proper precautions, would have created plenty of opportunities for cross over and hybridisation between bat and human Corona viruses, and whatever else they were keeping in their cages.”

Then they should stop doing that.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
February 18, 2020 7:29 am

Hey man! In China that’s a great job! You probably get to take the clothes home with you to wash them yourself.

February 17, 2020 6:49 pm

Politicians and activists of all hues usually can’t resist being dramatically helicoptered into any unfolding disaster site, news video cameras at the ready, decked out in fresh out of the packet hi-vis jackets, safety glasses and construction helmets.

Anyone seen anybody of note from the UN or WHO or any activist outfits on the ground at Wuhan?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Mr.
February 17, 2020 11:37 pm

Yes it is very suspicious that prominent people have not rushed in to the site of a disease quarantine for a photo op.
It virtually proves any possible speculations.
Or maybe it only proved that there is a disease there that no one wants to get?

john harmsworth
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 1:01 pm

President Xi Jinbing actually disappeared for a few days in thy emiddle of it. Maybe he got the vaccine and had to give it some time to activate his immune system before coming out in public again?

Reply to  john harmsworth
February 18, 2020 3:50 pm

1) He’s hundreds of miles away.
2) Anyone who has been anywhere near the area of infection wouldn’t be permitted anywhere close to him.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  MarkW
February 18, 2020 10:11 pm

3) There is no vaccine.
Or does the latest imaginary fact posit that China now uses the highest leader in the country for stage 1 clinical trials?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  MarkW
February 18, 2020 10:21 pm

This ability to find some imaginary justification for any idea the brain has latched onto, should make it obvious, if it was not already, why alarmists are so incredibly resistant to facts.
People here are now becoming emotionally invested in this idea that was a mere speculation.
‘Biological research’ now translates into ‘bioweapons program’ in their minds.
‘May have’ or ‘could be’ now mean ‘probably did’.
Several have declared anything but the imaginary story now have been proved false!
In a week we see an evolution that took warmistas 30 years!

Hooray…you have learned their lesson well…how to fool yourself without even breaking a sweat.

February 17, 2020 6:59 pm

The idea that COVID-19 came from the bio lab has been batted around for several weeks now. I find it interesting that it seems the idea has graduated from a fringe conspiracy theory to an acceptable, if unlikely, MSM reportable story.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  SMC
February 17, 2020 10:47 pm

So people are still talking about it, and that is now “interesting”?
Is it itself evidence if some people believe something which initially sounded dubious?
By that logic we should all be doubting if vaccines ever prevented a single illness, or if in fact the vaccines caused them all.

Michael Burns
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 10:40 am

That last point of yours is a good point, what if you are correct? Might you flesh your thoughts out further on that last sentence…how many of today’s vaccines are made in China. Cheaply, and is this a direction real vaccine manufacturing should go…

Interesting to note is that they have only within the last four years obtained a single BSL-4. They do have a level 3. How can that be when you are manufacturing vaccines for the world, or are there privately owned BSL-4 labs and who monitors them?

Ben Gunn
February 17, 2020 7:15 pm

The authors of this study were unable to be reached and won’t be able for another 7 to 9 years.

Reply to  Ben Gunn
February 17, 2020 8:43 pm

If ever

Reply to  Rokdoktor
February 17, 2020 8:58 pm

They are now involuntary organ donors.

February 17, 2020 7:23 pm

I used to down a few beers at Brussels Beer Garden a short walk from there. They always had good Duvel and Chimay selections that went well with their free huasheng mi.

Reply to  Scissor
February 17, 2020 7:46 pm

Wow, I just looked at the map and noticed Noi, an Italian restaurant – probably the best in Wuhan, is almost right next door to that research center. I was thinking that Noi was closer to Brussels Beer Garden. I wonder if they moved.

In any case, I feel sorry for the owners of those businesses. They’re nice people, especially the lady that runs Noi. She would always bring us gelato for free. I wonder why I put on so must weight on these visits to China.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Scissor
February 17, 2020 10:14 pm

Test rabbits can do that…..

February 17, 2020 7:23 pm

Aha, a conspiracy theory until plausibility emerges then it’s the fault of an accident and there was no malicious intent….. except aren’t bio weapons malicious by definition? If it were a naturally occurring virus why did it choose now to reveal itself when animal to human contact is constant? I don’t trust any communication from China. Does that make me bigoted or smart?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  markl
February 17, 2020 10:49 pm

No shortage of people that feel that way about the MSM, or the U.S. Gubbmint.
Or any source of info.
We have people right here that only consider something proved if it is nutty and unsubstantiated

Reply to  markl
February 18, 2020 8:10 am

Why did it choose now? Viruses are always mutating. They don’t do so on a pre-approved schedule.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  MarkW
February 18, 2020 8:56 am

See the CDC paper down near the bottom of the thread.
Between 1980 and 2005, there was one new disease every 8 months.
Would there have been some time or day it would not be suspicious that this particular one “decided” to make itself known (whatever that means), according to this mentality?

It is not very complicated. There are populations of wild animals, some of which have diseases that are or might become transmissible to humans.
But it takes some unusual circumstance for it to occur, or some set of circumstances.

David A
Reply to  markl
February 18, 2020 11:58 am

Bio weapon unlikely fir clear reasons;
Uncontrollable, mutates, attacks your own.
Consider a leak if a foolish defensive development.

Joel O'Bryan
February 17, 2020 7:45 pm

High throughput sequencing of the viral isolates from early epidemic patients and then a comparison to past SARS-CoV will elucidate whether this claim has any merit.
It likely won’t definitively prove a link to the Wuhan Lab (positive proof is hard to impossible), but it could completely exonerate the Lab (clear them) if the isolated early viral genomes of COVID-19 were sufficiently different from SARS-CoV and don’t show any signs of reverse genetics manipulations. There are experts in that field who would be able to detect that. Just like there are digital forensic experts who can use sophisticated e-tools to detect fake videos and images.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 17, 2020 7:57 pm

It wouldn’t completely exonerate them, as it could have been a natural virus from bats brought to the lab which then escaped somehow. Which seems more likely to me than being a deliberately-created killer virus.

Or something in the bats which naturally mutated and managed to infect one of the researchers who spread it elsewhere.

But proving either of those would probably be very difficult.

john harmsworth
Reply to  MarkG
February 18, 2020 7:32 am

As per my comment above, an Indian paper says there are protein inclusions from HIV-1. These could not be natural.

Reply to  john harmsworth
February 18, 2020 3:52 pm

It’s been two weeks since the paper was retracted. Surely that would be enough time to fix those problems you seem to consider as minor, and have the paper be re-issued.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  MarkW
February 18, 2020 10:54 pm

They are not minor.
That was the author saving face.
I posted some of the specific reasons that were cited by others for the conclusion being erroneuous, back in the first essay by Rud Istvan.
The authors were hacks who had no idea what they were talking about.

Harmsworth knows this, he was the one who bright it up on the 14th.
Here was my response, with just two of many valid criticisms:
My first thought was, there is no reason to think the worst, unless there is a reason to think that.
It has long been feared that gene transfer from another virus in a co-infected individual could be how a virus can acquire new characteristics and capabilities.
A deadly virus like AIDS or Ebola acquiring a respiratory component via coinfection has been hypothesized as a worst case scenario, leading to one of those diseases being able to be spread like the flu.
My next though was…short inserts?
How short?
How similar?
How experienced are these researchers in India?
Do they know what they are talking about?
It turns out, perhaps no, they do not.
They are not talking about proteins, but amino acid sequences.
Are they wrong that these sequences are not present in other coronaviruses?
Are they wrong that they are a match for HIV, and wrong that these sequences are unusual?
Some seem to think so:
“Gag sequence:
Alleged “gag” match: QTNS——–PRRA
Actual gag sequence: QTNSSILMQRSNFKGPRRA
To begin with this is such a tiny random part of gag. Like 1%. It’s also not a 100% match. They just ignore the middle part and call it a match anyway.
Except this isn’t your standard HIV sequence for gag. It’s a unique isotype labs found in India. This sequence is NOT found in actual standard gag. Which is super confusing in general. Also the other matches are from 3 other strains of HIV. So it’s not even 4 of the same subtype which just makes this even more ridiculously terrible of a paper.”

“Trevor Bedford
· Jan 31, 2020

These short inserts do indeed exist in #nCoV2019 relative to its closest sequenced relative (BetaCoV/bat/Yunnan/RaTG13/2013, seen here
…). However, a simple BLAST of such short sequences shows match to a huge variety of organisms. No reason to conclude HIV.”

“To be clear, these observed insertions in spike protein are completely consistent with naturally occurring evolution in these viruses in bats. Spike has lots of evolutionary pressure and it mutates single bases as well as gains and loses sections across related bat viruses”

There is no excuse for continuing to foist this BS debunked crap!

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 17, 2020 7:57 pm

Good comment.

I could totally believe that a release or contamination was a result of carelessness. Life is cheap there and little regard is given to safety. They have the ability to throw lots of bodies at tasks. We were continually asked to take out automation so as to increase the number of required workers, when automation improved safety, quality and productivity. Mei guanxi.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 17, 2020 9:43 pm

It is amazing to me that so many people automatically make some mental transference from ‘ biological research lab’ to ‘ bioweapons facility’, and from possibly released or escaped to an assumption of something intentional or the result of obvious gross negligence.
Anything is possible at this point.
Anyone saying one thing is more likely than another based on one report, which is by the report’s authors admittedly speculative, is only evidence of any such person’s reaching such opinions lack of ability to think critically and objectively.
Maps published decades ago of the range of the species in question show those bats are native to that area.
Many videos and testimonials of bats being eaten in that part of Chine, and sold at those markets, and even at that one, can be found with a simple quick search. Photos of the bats for sale in the markets are numerous with a search.
So details reported in this article are wrong.
Who knows if that is deliberate, but the range of the species is not a secret.
Every species of animal one can search for has a published known range.
Many diseases including SARS and Ebola come from bats.
Why does anyone think they were doing such research to begin with?
How does anyone think they know the genome of the virus and how it compares to other similar viruses?
A tricorder reading?
Who thinks biologic research on infectious diseases is by definition nefaruous?
Evidently some do, as a knee jerk response and automatic assumption.
We know what can be said of assumptions.
I do not care much of the opinions of u or umption, by I do care about what is known and how it differs from speculation.
Personally speaking.
Coinfected animals and people living in close association with animals in crowded urban environments has been flagged as extremely hazardous for many decades.
Trade in wild animals as bushmeat has led to numerous cross species epidemics, including probably AIDS and possibly Ebola, although the incidence of people getting rabies from bats is so high no one need wonder if bats infecting people through bites is likely or not.
Rabies was introduced into North America by an event in colonial times in New England, and within a hundred years was endemic in dozens of species all across North and South America.
People have argued that bats are hibernating now, but the exact time of the crossover event is not known but was surely many weeks if not months prior to reports emerging, if only judging by how far it has spread.
Many reports indicate that bats are caught wild and sold directly to restaurants, and besides the lag in time before researchers began looking allows ample time for people selling the bats to become aware that something bad was happening and to have gotten rid of them.
Or it might have been one bat.
Or an intermediate, like is thought to have happened with SARS.
It is entirely possible that it is a species that was created in a research lab that escaped.
And it is also not at all far fetched that it happened the same way all of the other known and unfortunate pandemics and outbreaks have occurred that were the result of a zoonotic event.
One such thing has happened repeatedly, for sure, as an historical fact.
One has up to now been the subject of such books as The Stand and numerous others scary stories.
One reason they are scary is because they are not far fetched and ridiculous…but all to easy to imagine and entirely possible, and perhaps likely at some point.
Just like zoonotic pandemics are not unlikely, but far more probably an inevitability…just like all through history they have been.

Prior to this particular story appearing was another that claimed there were HIV genes clearly evident in the genome of COVID 19.
That story was from an article that was proven incorrect in its premise and assertions and was withdrawn by the authors with apologies.
And yet that story now is in widespread circulation even among people aware of all of that.
It is part of the collective consciousness, so to speak, of the people who think they can be sure of what the truth is.
And yet using it as evidence one way or the other is plainly illogical.
Crap like that…and that mental phenomenon…is why people thought for decades that salt causes high blood pressure, and why millions still do even though it has been thoroughly debunked.
It is how millions became fearful of vaccines, and convinced they cause autism, even though there was never anything to that story.
And yet millions believe it to their core.
It is something that happens in over and over again…weak evidence, an opinion, a rumor, and even a deliberate lie, have many times taken on a life of their own despite being meritless and without foundation.
And then become a virtual reality and virtually immortal in the minds of the credulous.
Anyone who forms a solid opinion of anything based on weak evidence risks having their own mind become locked into a fiction from which they are powerless to break free of.
We…here…those of us infrequent WUWT…WE know this is true.
We have repeatedly seen it in others.

My advice is…do not do it to yourself.

Wait for facts, read, listen, learn, and stay open minded until there is clarity.

Sometimes there never is anything like hard proof.
Which is why in science, even the most evidenced of ideas are yet theories.

This is not a theory…not a conspiracy theory, not any kind of theory.
It is a speculation.
No one knows, at least not the general public. More information will be forthcoming.
I am waiting for more information.
People who form snap judgements or have internal biases or merely lack the ability to remain objective…make very poor jurors.
I do not want such people informing me.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2020 10:04 pm

The virus genome is available to everybody and 9ne knows how it compares to the others.
No “tricorder” needed.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Alex
February 17, 2020 10:35 pm

Reading comprehension not your strong suit, eh?
Critical thinking and logic stymy you as a matter of course, or only when it comes to where such information originates?
What kind of place does genome sequencing of deadly pathogens?
How do they have them for all those other wild viruses from the bats in caves 900 miles away?

Everybody just knows?
Who are the people born knowing that?

Here is a clue: They have lab’s in, near, and around hospitals and research institutions so they can find out this stuff quickly.
How and where do they make test kits?
Replicate viral DNA for assay purposes?
Just think about it.
What do they call those places?
When researchers talk about using animal models and cell cultures, what do they mean, specifically?

john harmsworth
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 7:42 am

My understanding is that the Level 4 lab in Wuhan is the only Level 4 lab in China. I just assume that every major power on the planet is engaged in some forms of bio-weapons research. That may ( I hope) be limited to computer simulations of potential weapons and response approaches. But, if any nation on Earth is being careless of human life and actually pushing development of actual weapons, it would be China or N. Korea. Their whole government structure is a negation of the value of human individuals and their lives.

Reply to  john harmsworth
February 19, 2020 8:20 pm

Yes, the Wuhan level 4 biosafety lab was announced last year by Chinese media as the first of its kind in China.

And since we’re reduced to speculation as to why a research paper might have been withdrawn (I quickly saved a copy, since I’ve seen a lot of such disappearances in my time), and “conspiracy theory” has already raised its ugly head, let’s go a step further.

On Feb. 18th, the re-published the following statement:

“…Dr. Liu Zhiming, Director of the Wuchang Hospital. “Unfortunately he became infected and passed away at 10:54 Tuesday morning at the age of 51 after all-out efforts to save him failed” reported the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission. A medical colleague said that the chief doctor was in good health and did not expect to die from COVID-19. A few days earlier, on February 14, a 59-year-old nurse from the same hospital had died from the disease. A total of at least 7 health workers have died so far among the 1,716 doctors and nurses who got infected with COVID-19.”

Let us consider the above, at least tenatively, as fact, especially since it comes from the WHO’s trusted collaborators, the Chinese government.

of “1,716 doctors and nurses infected with COVID-19.” only 7 have died!! And of those 7, one was the otherwise healthy 33 year old whistleblower MD, and a second was the otherwise healthy 51 year old “Dr. Liu Zhiming, Director of the Wuchang Hospital”.

Is there a statistician in the house? We’re told the fatalities are predominantly elderly people with pre-existing illnesses.

So, how to explain the remarkable survival record of medical staff as a whole, and the fact that two healthy and young medical doctors were among the 7 fatalities in this cohort?

Could the lab have developed a successful treatment or even a vaccine for the virus before it “escaped”? If that is true and this is a bio-weapon it will easily trump the H-bomb.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  otropogo
February 22, 2020 12:41 pm

You are assuming any particular scrap of information can be trusted to be the exact truth.
But to take up the question you ask…it could be explained if the medical persons who have been infected are being treated with one of the antivirals now in clinal trials, if and when any of them progress to viral pneumonia.
Other explanations are readily apparent.
AFAIK, it is not proved yet that the deaths that have occurred have not been due to secondary infections.
Outside of China, the death rate has been very low…far lower that in Wuhan. At least so far.
I know what I am most sure of at this point: Whatever anyone thinks they know right now, will mostly turn out to be either wrong or incomplete.
Good information is hard to come by in any crisis, let alone a crisis in a foreign country not known for being open about information, particularly bad news.

holly elizabeth Birtwistle
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 19, 2020 4:19 pm

No Nicholas, anything is NOT possible at this point. You berate others’ for speculating and then you speculate to a massive degree yourself. To read these ‘studies’ and then make leaps of the imagination only fuels madness and suspicion. . The most likely origin of this nothing-burger of a corona virus (thankfully), is like all the previous ones. The regular result of the Chinese cultural tradition of living within close proximity of wild and domesticated animals, bringing them dead and alive to markets, and people living in crowded conditions. In other words, like all the other human viruses originating from China, it was cooked in Nature’s Lab, not the Chinese, or any other government lab. You are ignoring historical transmission pathways, and embracing science fiction. The “evidence” you site is a tangle web of speculation and suspicion, worthy of a Steven King novel.

john harmsworth
Reply to  holly elizabeth Birtwistle
February 21, 2020 8:10 am

This “nothing burger virus” has almost shut down the most populous country on Earth and is devastating their economy. The Chinese would seem to know more about it than anybody and they look pretty scared to me.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  holly elizabeth Birtwistle
February 22, 2020 12:33 pm

Holly, I think you need to read what I have written more carefully.
I have spent hours and hours over many days…weeks now, pointing out that there is no reason to suspect anything but exactly what you said.
So kindly read more carefully and direct your outrage at one or more of the people here who dismiss the possibility of a natural origin.
As for this virus being a nothing burger, I think you are making an ass of u and umption, Holly.
Until this burns out or the number of cases drops to zero, it is still spreading.
As of the past few days, hotspots are appearing in numerous countries with no known link to any previous case.
This means that most likely the disease has broken out beyond any ability to contain it. People who are not known to be sick are spreading it all around the globe.
This could either get worse and accelerate, or stop happening completely.
But cases with no known index patient is exactly what will be seen in the case of a global pandemic.

As for speculating…
I did not speculated on anything, except to offer my opinion, and my thoughts.
And yes, given a vacuum of information, anything is possible.
That does not mean anything is as likely as something else.
The most straightforward explanation is the most logical. But it is not the only possibility.

The only people I am berating are people who are doing exactly what you are berating me for doing…only I am not doing it, they are…making wild ass assumptions based on sketchy reports from dubious sources.
Tell you what…quote exactly what I said that is pissing you off, or do me a favor and STFU?

Because, Holly, I explained at length the entire rationale and history, with sources, of exactly what you are asserting is the most likely thing to have happened.
The only thing I did not do was assert that what I consider to be the most likely is the only thing possible, as you have done.

As a final note, I think you ought to work on your reading comprehension.

If you read through my comments, you will find I mentioned Stephen King’s novel as the only place such a thing as is being embraced by others has occurred so far, as far as anyone knows.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  holly elizabeth Birtwistle
February 22, 2020 2:42 pm

After reading your post again Holly, I find myself wondering more and more what on Earth you could be thinking to have written this aimed at me.
Lets go through it line by line:
You said
“No Nicholas, anything is NOT possible at this point.”
Are you an adult Holly? Are you familiar with the concept of an idiom?
Do you know what a person is typically implying when they use the phrase “Anything is possible”, in response to someone else saying something far fetched?
Anyone reading through this thread knows I was responding at this point to people who were asserting that far fetched ideas had been basically proved at this point, as well as several other lesser degrees of what I considered to be unsupported or weakly supported ideas.
So you need to keep in mind the context of my remarks if you want to criticize what I was saying with any credibility.

The context was that although anything is “possible”, the most likely source for the outbreak is a crossover event of a novel virus from an animal, to a person or people.
I went to great length to point out that every assertion to the contrary was problematic.
You however, have declared that some things are categorically NOT possible, without ever saying what you consider these impossibilities to be, though implying that a release from a lab is “impossible”. But then you contradict yourself, seemingly, by later saying that a crossover due to an infected animal from a wild reservoir of virus is only “the most likely” source for the outbreak. So which is it? Impossible, or merely unlikely?

Then you said:
“You berate others’ for speculating and then you speculate to a massive degree yourself.”

I do not know how literally to take your assertion that I have “berated” anyone.
Certainly I have taken exception to numerous assertions from several individuals, although at no point did I do so out of anger or innate hostility. Perhaps you meant berate in one of the lesser senses, synonymous with “rebuke”, “scold”, or “chide”?
Because it sure sounded like you are berating me here, and I gotta tell you, that in every case I disagreed with anything anyone said…I made damn sure ahead of time I knew exactly what they were saying, put no words in anyone’s mouth, and at no time did I actually GET WHAT SOMEONE HAD SAID EXACTLY BACKWARDS and then upbraid them for saying something when they had actually asserted the opposite!
Because to do that would be really messed up. To put it mildly.
Someone who shows up at the end of a discussion who was not participating in the discussion and then mischaracterizing what someone lese has said because they were too damn lazy to read something carefully, could be rightly thought of as being a real a$$#&%@.
And I for one would not do that. Because I would not like to have someone do it to me.

Besides for that, as far as I can discern, there were no “massive speculations” on my part. In fact mostly what I did was point out some inconstancies in the headline post, and ask a whole series of what are called “rhetorical questions”. Maybe you need to look that one up.
Or maybe you are not familiar enough with what was being discussed, or maybe you never went back to look at the antecedent to my rhetorical questions, to know what the obvious answer to these questions would be. You might have thought to ask if about that if you found yourself massively confused and then speculated wildly about what you incorrectly assumed I was saying, due to not being apprised of the context of my remarks.
I did not speculate. I counselled against speculations, or reaching firm opinions based in thin information and dubious or sketchy evidence. Among the conclusions some might have jumped to at this point are that anything has been proved “at this point”, like for example what the source of the outbreak was, or exactly how deadly the virus is or is not, or how likely it may or not be that the virus will prove to be uncontainable and will at some point, perhaps very soon, or perhaps at some time in the future, become a global pandemic.
It should be considered that at this point many things are possible. Among those possibilities are that the virus will spread all around the world, that it may be on the verge of being contained and stamped out, that it is not very deadly at will kill only a handful of very old and sick people, or that it will eventually infect nearly everyone in the world, like for example Spanish flu is thought to have done, and will kill somewhere between one and several percent of all the people on Earth over some interval of time…which is what happens when a highly contagious airborne virus spreads all around the world and between zero and some low percentage of people have any natural immunity to it…which is in fact what appears may be in the process of happening…although some overly boneheaded people seem to have decided they know exactly how bad it is or is not and what exactly is gonna happen in the future.
But logical, educated, and rational people mostly know that to write it off as inconsequential or to panic because a plague is upon us are both equally uncalled for at the moment…because at this point pretty much anything is possible.
Except to you apparently, so good for you! You so smart!

Then you went on to invent out of thin air the accusation that I had “… read these ‘studies’ and then ma(d)e leaps of the imagination…” which would inevitably, of course, “…only (fuel) madness and suspicion…”
Well, I gotta tell you, that is pretty much exactly what I did not do, and the people I was chiding had, in a few cases, and to a limited degree, themselves done.
So there is nothing else to say but that you got that exactly bass ackwards as well.

Then you averred:
“The most likely origin of this nothing-burger of a corona virus (thankfully), is like all the previous ones.”
Hmmm…most likely, but not the only possibility. But the most likely. Because it has happened before. And how often has it happened before? Well, someone on this thread has quoted a paper from a respected medical journal that pointed out that this is the 7th known corona virus to cross over from animals to people. That someone would be me, here in the comment you are replying to when I said this:
“… it happened the same way all of the other known and unfortunate pandemics and outbreaks have occurred that were the result of a zoonotic event.
One such thing has happened repeatedly, for sure, as an historical fact”, as well as here:

and here:

And here:

And here:

And also less explicitly in well over a dozen other comments on this thread alone.
So thanks again for giving me a bunch of crap for saying over and over again exactly what you yourself believe to be the case.
Although you also went ahead at this point and did not merely “speculate massively”, which is something that some people seem to think is a really effed up thing to do…people like you in fact…you did not merely speculated massively, you outright declared something to be so which by every available scrap of information is categorically not true.
Thousands of people are dead.
The largest population of people on Earth are in virtual lockdown.
The stock market has sold off and may be in the initial stages of a much larger selloff.
The country that makes something like 90% of all prescription drugs sold in the US may not be shipping us any of them anytime soon, and drugs people need to stay healthy and in some cases to stay alive may begin to RUN OUT and there is actually in some cases nothing we are gonna be able to do about it soon enough to prevent a major problem for millions and millions of people.
And many other industry supply chain managers are in the initial stages of what could be a severe supply crisis, which could very easily turn in to an actual economic recession if something does not change very soon
The Olympics may be cancelled!
and that is the short list of nothings that have only up to know emerged as a result of this nothing burger.
Gosh…I am glad I am not so glibly certain of the irrelevance of so much disruption to so many lives as some people seem to be. People like you for instance.

Thousands of people in what is now appearing to be most of the countries on the planet are now in quarantine, in hospitals, very worried, and in some cases are dead.

Some people might call such indifference to what has already, even if it ended tomorrow, been a very bad several weeks to millions of people in the world, either full retard ignorant, or sh!theadedly callous.
Some people might call it that.
I might call it both…in fact I will.

And then you said this:
“The regular result of the Chinese cultural tradition of living within close proximity of wild and domesticated animals, bringing them dead and alive to markets, and people living in crowded conditions.”
But since I already said that days before you, right here in the very comment you are replying to (Wow, again! Really? Really?) when I said this: “…people living in close association with animals in crowded urban environments has been flagged as extremely hazardous for many decades”, as well as in more detail here:
and of course in not so many words in several other comments on this thread.

Then you said this:
“In other words, like all the other human viruses originating from China, it was cooked in Nature’s Lab, not the Chinese, or any other government lab.”

Which seems to be yet another reversal from your earlier assertion, in the same paragraph, that it was only “the most likely” possibility that it came from the wet market.
Now you have done what looks very much like making another “massive” speculation, and this time you dressed it up to look like a fact.
Unless you have some magical eight ball, or all seeing eye, I would like to know how exactly it is that you can preclude all possibilities but one?
Take your time. This was mostly a rhetorical question…since of course you cannot possibly know that to any degree of certainty. Which you already admitted further up the paragraph.
But then you apparently forgot.

Then you said this:
“You are ignoring historical transmission pathways, and embracing science fiction.”
Which could not be less true of a thing to say if you had preplanned to say the least true sentence a person could possibly craft.
In fact over many days and many hours, including in the comment you are replying to, not only did not ignore “historical transmission pathways”, I elaborated upon them at length, over and over again.
So thank you again for getting what I have said exactly backwards, putting words in my mouth that I never said, and taking my position and explication and claiming I never said it then saying it yourself as if it is news to me.

Then you finished up your screed with:
“The “evidence” you site is a tangle web of speculation and suspicion, worthy of a Steven King novel.”
When in fact, once again, you ignore what I myself said in the very comment you are replying to, and repeated back something I had already said, but twisted around the actual case, said that I had said things I never said, implied, or even hinted at, but in fact did the opposite, and then paraphrased something I had said myself but took it up as your own, because of course as anyone can scroll up and see, I have been up until you arrived the only person to make reference to Stephen King’s book The Stand, when I said this: “One has up to now been the subject of such books as The Stand and numerous others scary stories.”

So I have to ask…are you psychotic, Holly?

February 17, 2020 7:55 pm

The Federation of American Scientists is on it.

Nope. Sorry. They worry that someone might steal very short lived medical isotope to do a terror attack to make a large city uninhabitable(*) for a long very short time.

(*) due to crazy rad regs; the city would be healthy in term of biology, but you might lose your health insurance

Also anti Brexit people worried a lot about these scenarios, following EURATOM-exit.

Reply to  niceguy
February 18, 2020 1:45 am

^^^^^ Known idiot. (ng)

Reply to  niceguy
February 18, 2020 8:15 am

You would need tons of medical isotope in order to make an entire city uninhabitable.

Vangel Vesovski
February 17, 2020 8:40 pm

OK. Let us say it was a lab creation. Who is to say that it did not come from an Indian, American, Russian, or Japanese lab and released near the station in Wuhan as a convenient setup? The speculation game can get complicated and get out of hand rather quickly.

Reply to  Vangel Vesovski
February 17, 2020 9:13 pm

I am waiting for China to blame Canada at some point, due to the firing of some of the Chinese researchers who were working at the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg. We will probably never know the full truth of what went on, and if truth be known, a natural outbreak probably will be the root cause, but WHO really knows? With their hygiene standards, I am surprised there isn’t a lot more things brewing in China, just naturally.

This link below is from CBC, so take everything with a grain of salt, both ways. Sort of like climate change and the way they propagandize that subject.

“The Public Health Agency of Canada is denying any connection between the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg, two scientists who were escorted out of the building last summer, and the coronavirus outbreak in China”.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Earthling2
February 18, 2020 4:34 am

Imagine a country, or some leader of a country, deciding to create a dangerous pathogen and then release it in some other country.
What motive could lead anyone to think this is a good idea?
What are the odds something like this could eventually be traced to it’s origin?
Of that a whistle blower would emerge to tell what had been done?
Or that someone doing it could be caught outright?
What would a country with a huge military be predictably likely to do in response?
Would such an attack be taken lightly, or as an unprecedented act of war?
And not just any old act of war, but a lethal attack on civilians that could have unknowably horrific consequences?

Given the specificity with which the genetic profile of a pathogen can be determined, it is predictably just a matter of time that an engineered virus would be proved to be what it is…especially if it is something so obvious that unknown people from obscure locations could figure it out in a matter of weeks?
Then also consider the way the retracted study from the researchers in India was worded, and the certainty with which those results were stated, when it fact there was nothing to it, and it was at best a poorly considered and half-baked analysis?
None of this means that it did not happen the way this article suggest, but it illustrates just a few of the many reasons why one might find it dubious.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 19, 2020 8:48 pm

First, there are clear benefits of such a virus. If it truly naturally kills the elderly predominantly (as apparently proved by the health worker survival rate), then this could be a quick solution to China’s most pressing social problem – what to do with old people.

Secondly, whistleblowers are hardly a problem in a situation of deadly disease and quarantine. They can easily be eliminated without drawing any attention, even from our wonderful Western “investigative reporters”.

Thirdly, how could any of the necessarily numerous “conspirators” in such a plot hope to gain anything from “squealing”? They too would be torn to pieces by the outraged survivors. China is the land of the “death of the thousand cuts”.

And finally, what would the outraged major military powers do? Drop nuclear bombs on the innocent Chinese survivors of such an act of bio – terrorism, thereby adding further to the woes of the world and of their own countries?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  otropogo
February 22, 2020 12:13 pm

The suggestion was that Canada or some other country made this virus and released in China, or at least that was what it seemed to be suggesting.
Of course, once one goes off on such imaginative speculations, all manner of trains of logic can then be dreamed up.
The question I meant to ask was…what would a country do such a thing to another country?
The potential downside is very bad, and I am having a hard time thinking of any possible benefit.
Not that any such trouble in discerning a rational motive will stop the people who are sure that governments do this sort of thing all the time from deciding that this could not be natural and even if it could be, it probably is not.

Reply to  Vangel Vesovski
February 18, 2020 8:16 am

Paranoia runs deep in some.

Reply to  MarkW
February 18, 2020 2:24 pm

I used to be paranoid until I just accepted that everyone was out to get me.

David A A
Reply to  Vangel Vesovski
February 18, 2020 12:15 pm
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  David A A
February 18, 2020 11:08 pm

How many times are you gonna post your clickbait?

If you have something to say, say it.
Posting links without any description of what you want someone to know is just lazy at best and deceptive and spammy in all likelihood.
Anyone who was gonna read whatever is in that link would have done so one of the first 867 times you posted it.

February 17, 2020 8:50 pm

The preprint at ResearchGate of paper allegedly authored by Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao vanished (was withdrawn) before Zerohedge and all British tabloids like Daily Mail, The Sun, Mirror, Express, Daily Telegraph made a big deal of it. There is no trace of the preprint except for SCRIBD where Zerohedge uploaded it. Beware of psyop manipulations that use media outlets of dubious repute.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 18, 2020 4:42 pm

It is not about spoofing web archive but about ‘spoofing’ ResearchGate by uploading an article under a false name.

anna v
February 17, 2020 9:12 pm

A bit out of topic but I think relevant. We keep hearing about the death rate of this new virus in the origination province, but nowhere is the monthly death- rate given in numbers, lets say over the last five years, and how much it has increased because of this new corona virus (this being the third one).

This is important because one should not ignore that people die at about the same rate, all the time , we are not eternal. For example here in Greece the past month we have about 180 deaths from the yearly flu this past month, and we have a population of about 10 million.

My point is that something will kill off the older of us ( I am becoming 80 in April) and the weakened systems. If the coronavirus is one more flu, by statistics, getting there first before the usual ones, what is all this extra fuss in China and now the world over? I could understand it for a black plague , which killed 60% of the population in certain areas in the middle ages, but for one more flu?

What are the numbers?

anna v
Reply to  anna v
February 17, 2020 9:16 pm

Correction. It was 150 dead from flue in 2019 in Greece. A strong program of vaccination exists.

Michael Burns
Reply to  anna v
February 18, 2020 11:27 am

“Correction. It was 150 dead from flue in 2019 in Greece.”

This past month?

How do you know it was flu?
What kind of Flu?
Was each of those 150 deaths tested for Flu via blood serum? What other tests confirmed their prognosis? X-ray, PCR, viral assay?
How old were they?
Was the death by final pneumonia and internal organ collapse?
Pneumonia although a final stage of flu, is caused by other reasons…heavy smokers can gain Pneumonia via COPD, TB of which 30% of global population carries this is a culprit here.
It can also be a bacterial infection.
How do you know it is the flu? Flu can be confused for severe colds — extremely compromised immunities and age and neglect living in crowded and unsanitary conditions can be reasons for death by pneumonia. Are the elderly in Greece not suffering because of austerity.
Because they say so because they advertise for then the latest and greatest flu vaccine each year, which are made so cheaply in China and are more immune destroying more than no vaccine at all.

For instance, COVID 19 in the declaration of cause in Chinese patients is being made on the evidence of a chest x-ray alone.

anna v
Reply to  Michael Burns
February 18, 2020 9:25 pm

Read my correction. I think I mixed up the numbers for all 2019 data and the present winter. Yes all the tests are carried out and the type of virus identified for these numbers to come out . I am not a doctor. It is not really important for the statistical numbers to go into such details once the virus is identified.

Gary Gulrud
February 17, 2020 9:31 pm

The official data from China is worthless except to prove as much.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Gary Gulrud
February 17, 2020 10:25 pm

No shortage of people that feel that way about the MSM, or the U.S. Gubbmint.
Or any source of info.
We have people right here that only consider something proved if it is nutty and unsubstantiated.

David A
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 12:22 pm

Your point?

Jeff Labute
February 17, 2020 9:31 pm

I suppose China will keep testing virii on their own people until they discover the perfect weapon.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Jeff Labute
February 17, 2020 9:53 pm

Kind of like determining if a weapon is loaded by looking down the barrel and giving the trigger a test squeeze?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Jeff Labute
February 17, 2020 10:51 pm


Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 8:19 am

Idle question:
Most words that end in “us” are pluralized by converting to “ii”. Why is virus not one of them?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  MarkW
February 18, 2020 9:39 am

I think it is only words with an I in them that end in ii when pluralized.
Radius is an example, becoming radii.
Words without an i, like focus, are pluralized with one I…as in foci. Alumnus-alumni.
But some words would not have been pluralized in Latin, I think is the explanation, so in English they become pluralized using the rules of English.
That is how I first understood it.
Some offer another explanation. They say that virus is a neuter noun, and if there was an example from a known text of it being pluralized, it would have taken the same form as other neuter nouns, and end in an -a. Datum, data.
The Latin word vir, meaning man, is pluralized to viri. Masculine. Not neuter, so -I.

Interesting side note: The word octopus is often pluralized to octopi.
But octopus is a from a Greek word.
In Greek the plural is octopodes.
So in English it has been the accepted practice to use rules for English…octopuses.
Octopi is not a word either.
I’d like to be under the sea
In an octopus’s garden in the shade
Possessive case.
Could be octopus’ also.
I rarely do it that way though.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 9:44 am

Actually, I should not say it is not a word, just that liguists have decided that it was a mistaken belief that the word octopus was from Latin, led to it being pluralized octopi.
In fact, once a word has appeared in print a certain number of times, it becomes a word even if it’s usage offends the delicate sensibilities of grammarians.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 9:53 am

“But as the Octopus grew and multiplied, it became necessary to speak of him in the plural; and here a whole host of difficulties arose. Some daring spirits with little Latin and less Greek, rushed upon octopi; as for octopuses, a man would as soon think of swallowing one of the animals thus described as pronounce such a word at a respectable tea-table. In this condition of affairs, we are glad to know that a few resolute people have begun to talk about Octopods, which is, of course, the nearest English approach to the proper plural.
— The Bradford Observer (West Yorkshire, Eng.), 7 Nov. 1873”

This next link is to an essay that I hear-tell has been taken as the authoritative last word on the subject of the correct pronunciation of virus…which unfortunately has no known examples of having ever been pluralized.
It is a mass noun I think was the explanation for why not.
But if it was…

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 9:53 am

Sorry, correct pluralization of course is what I meant to write.

Jeff Labute
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 1:11 pm

Sounds good, I have been corrected 🙂 Viruses it is 🙂

Exactly. It is like the Chinese testing their weaponii by peering down a loaded barrelii and give the triggerii a test squeeze.


Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Jeff Labute
February 22, 2020 2:58 pm

Personally, I never imagined so much had been written on the subject.

February 17, 2020 9:38 pm

“Wuhan” coronavirus (2019-nCOV) has 380 different amino acid substitutions in it’s genome compared to the zoonotic origin SARS &SARS-like corinaviruses. Some of which I see as potentially useful if it was being developed for biological mischief.

In it’s envelope & matrix there are no amino acid substitution differences in these coronaviruses. While in the 2019-nCOV spike protein there are 27 amino acid substitutions.

These include 6 amino acid substitutions at receptor binding domains & 6 other amino acid
substitutions in the underpinning subdomains. If any of these 12 amino acid substitutions are laboratory manipulations they have relevance for viral transmission. [Note: the binding domain motif for the “Wuhan” coronavirus using ACE2 is not changed.]

Another key feature of 2019-nCOV are the 4 amino acid substitutions at the receptor binding subunit S1 (“S” stands for spike). This subunit has a terminal (“C-terminal”), which in SARS coronavirus is known to encode for 2 peptides that are specific inducers of human immunological response (they act as antigens). Again if any of these “Wuhan” coronavirus 4 amino acid substitutions are laboratory manipulations they have relevance for the eventially ensuing victims’ cytokine “storm”.

I accept the logic of it being unclear, at this point, whether this “Wuhan” coronavirus is zoonotic or laboratory manipulated. That said, it certainly seems like it has the making of an insidious biological weapon – slow symptomatic revelation, easy transmissibility, heightened human toll & socio-economic disruption. [Personally, based on Chinese government impenetrableness I’m currently more suspicious about the Wuhan Bio-lab than “wet market” bats being the prime actor.]

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  gringojay
February 17, 2020 9:55 pm

Detailed opinions and speculation that sound knowledgeable are proof of nothing.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2020 11:05 pm

Hi N.McGinley, – The “Wuhan” coronavirus genome has been sequenced & published. You can certainly search for that if interested in more specifics than I posted, or actually think there is a “got-cha” chance of finding I misrepresented the amino acid substitutions.

As for my opinion & speculation those are obviously some things I admit, at least by inference (“… accept the logic of … being unclear….”). If you are a microbiologist then kindly indicate why my pondering(s) about how “…if any … amino acid substitutions are laboratory manipulations …” are an absolute impossibility.

Now official China has a demonstrable capacity of obfuscating, lack of transparency & militarization. If you want to rely on official Chinese proclamations as proof of anything that is your prerogative & you probably can “sound knowledgeable” about something.

Reply to  gringojay
February 17, 2020 11:49 pm

Seeing some miss the original post’s cited Chinese authors’ published statement I will highlight it here & not step on anybody particular’s comment thread. Quote: “… 2nd laboratory … 12 km from … market … Wuhan Institute Virology … engineered a chimeric virus using … reverse genetics … potential for human emergence….”

This was several years ago & I am certainly not declaring this is the current 2019-nCOV. If any of the pundits on this thread can categorically affirm that prior experience was a “one off” event (jargon for just once) & the Chinese hierarchy got “scared straight” (jargon for correcting one’s ways) about never doing anything similar that would be a great read.

Reply to  gringojay
February 18, 2020 12:05 am

Free full text is on-line if anyone interested: “Genome composition and divergence of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) originating in China”. I am typing on a tablet so just getting around to this. The authors compare it with SARS & SARS- like coronaviruses; with fair mention of bats too.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  gringojay
February 18, 2020 12:03 am

I asked for your source of information and you respond by claiming I said it was impossible?
And that I am a stooge and shill for the Chinese military?

Sorry, that off the rails response instead of just responding to what I said is not exactly lending credibility to your original statement.
Just linking where you obtained this info would. IMO, have been better.
Now you just sound like a dork and have insulted me for no reason.
But I guess you feel that anyone not automatically just believing anything you write is attacking you and has every opposite opinion as you?
I state my opinions as such, my thoughts as such.
And like any serious person should, if I am quoting facts and figures not obvious or evident, I say where I got the info.
You seem to be implying you glanced at the genome data and casually spotted the obvious number of amino acid substitutions you mention, as well as the rest of those details that sound very specific.
If you think being asked for your source of information is cause to start putting words in people’s mouths and insulting them, consider my request retracted and consider me not interested in one word you have to say.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 12:35 am

Hello again N. McG., – See cited source recently added. I do not keep any computer files of what I read & work from notes, so had to find full article title.

You’ve actually evolved to name calling (“dork”). Incidentally, I took your original comment as a snide passive aggressive electronic drive-by jibe.

Still, I have read your other comments. My opinions about them are mixed: I can usually like your intensity & yet also believe some points you elucidate are dubious. However, I won’t be commenting on your musings for this thread … the lights here in Mommy’s basement just got turned off.

Reply to  Curious George
February 18, 2020 11:31 am

Thanx Curious George for the putting up this link. Yes, notes on portions in there are absolutely what prompted my synopsis.

Michael Burns
Reply to  gringojay
February 18, 2020 12:58 pm

“You’ve actually evolved to name calling (“dork”). Incidentally, I took your original comment as a snide passive aggressive electronic drive-by jibe.”

Still, I have read your other comments. My opinions about them are mixed: I can usually like your intensity & yet also believe some points you elucidate are dubious. However, I won’t be commenting on your musings for this thread … the lights here in Mommy’s basement just got turned off.

The nature of existencem, hell what else is there. You are very funny…gringojay.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  gringojay
February 18, 2020 11:19 pm

Don’t you have a window you should be screaming out of George?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  gringojay
February 19, 2020 2:59 am

Michael… I meant to say.

Reply to  gringojay
February 19, 2020 2:20 pm

Again to Nicholas McG., You are just sore that your 1st full sentence written to me was a ‘dig” (jargon for attack) & then I threw the “dirt” (jargon for insult) back.

It was you who perpetuated the folly by coming back at me , whining at considerable length, about getting caught in the hole you dug yourself. Even now, days later ghosting about on my originally posted comment, you try manipulating public opinion about traded insults which you instigated – incredibly, by lauching additional insults to an uninvolved 3rd party.

I don’t hold a grudge & even tried to demonstrate being unphased by our contretemp with a self-deprecating joke about being in mommy’s basement. Still, I do enjoy trading clever “digs” – so if WUWT moderator doesn’t mind things kept in good taste expect me to always try to “give as good as get”.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  gringojay
February 22, 2020 5:02 pm

When I said I was not interested in what you have to say, I meant it.
But now it seems you have decided you need to chase after me and give me more crap.
OK, fine.
Let me get this straight.
You said:
“You are just sore that your 1st full sentence written to me was a ‘dig” (jargon for attack) & then I threw the “dirt” (jargon for insult) back.”

I do not know where you are from, but neither of those words counts as jargon anywhere I have ever been.
Now you are saying I attacked you?
When I said:
Detailed opinions and speculation that sound knowledgeable are proof of nothing.”

This was after you gave chapter and verse of a discredited paper and then opined that you considered it far more likely that this virus was a bioweapon than that it was just the latest instance of what has already happened every eight months, at least, since 1980.
“That said, it certainly seems like it has the making of an insidious biological weapon – slow symptomatic revelation, easy transmissibility, heightened human toll & socio-economic disruption. [Personally, based on Chinese government impenetrableness I’m currently more suspicious about the Wuhan Bio-lab than “wet market” bats being the prime actor.]”
If you think asking for a source of information, or if you have evidence for asserting that an insidious bioweapon attack was in progress, is an attack, perhaps I should not be surprised. After all you do seem to have pronounced paranoia.

But if you think I am “sore” (what is that jargon for? I am not in any pain!), you are simply delusional. I told you what I think…anyone who makes the kind of statements you make and feels like being asked for a source of the detailed information you are pontificating on is a call to go opff on an unhinged rant, then I am not interested in speaking with you.
I meant it.
Obviously you did not mean it when you closed the subject.

“Perpetuated the folly”?
What, seriously?
I asked you for where you got this info, and you called me a stooge and s shill for the Chinese military, put all sorts of words in my mouth that had nothing to do with any comment I made anywhere, and in fact are amply disproven by dozens and dozens of comments here and elsewhere, and on top of that you did not even provide the requested source of any evidence to back up what you had said.

You will not find anything I said that can be seriously taken to be whining. That must be more of your jargon, because nothing I said was whining.

I think you are either drunk or nuts.

I have read many of your comments over the years, knowing you to be full of sh!t, but said nothing, up until now, and would not have except for your being so ridiculous.
I just wanted you to know that you BS is transparent to me, fully.
You pretend to know what you are talking about, but in fact you betray your actual ignorance in several subtle ways almost every time you comment.

Ghosting must be more jargon, and I do not think even then it applies, since I made that comment to Michael Burns, who has his nose out of joint because he is embarrassed about making a fool of himself.
It has nothing to do with you.
He mentioned me by name and made some drunken sounding comment, to which I merely made a joke. How that makes him “uninvolved” makes as little sense as the rest of you crybaby rant.
You know who is uninvolved? The moderators of this blog, who probably have better things to do than referee your pointless jackassery.

You are not worth anymore of my time, and I guarantee you this is the last time I say one single word to you as long as I live, “Gringo Jay”.

Your words contradict themselves.
I think you do hold a grudge. I think you are embarrassed at having been called out as a faker.
I do not care what you said in your last comment…and I am similarly unconcerned with your jackass explanations for why you say the things you say.
Look up the definition of whining, then read the comments you made to me.
Then stop whining.

David A
Reply to  gringojay
February 18, 2020 12:26 pm

It us also very poor bio-weapon; easily mutates and attacks you.

Consider instead a accidental release of a virus built for defensive reasons…

charles nelson
February 17, 2020 9:58 pm

Hilarious, we’ve quickly moved on to conspiracy theories whilst the the major mystery at the heart of this matter goes un addressed?
How can a virus which is infectious enough to cause a killer epidemic in one location be freely distributed throughout the world and not cause a killer epidemic anywhere else?
Scientifically speaking the Cruise ship currently in quarantine Yokohama should mirror the rate of infection and death toll at Yuhan…
How’s that going?
There was a lot of sciencey talk in the threat about about ‘receptors’ and ‘amino acids’….maybe someone can answer this simple question…
Is it infectious or not?

February 17, 2020 9:58 pm

And yes here it is: the conspiracy theory.

David A
Reply to  Hans Erren
February 18, 2020 12:29 pm

Ah yes, here us the blanket dismissal of anything but the “official”.
Consider this…

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  David A
February 18, 2020 11:22 pm

Posting your clickbait for the 869th time now, eh?

February 17, 2020 10:00 pm

1. The place they mark on the map as a “laboratory” is not. It is a home appliances market.
2. WHCDC is yet not far away in the same block.
3 CDC is just a bureaucratic place. They treat papers, not bats. I believe, the lab itself is located elsewhere.

February 17, 2020 10:11 pm

Strange enough, this virus is dangerous for Asian men only.
Apparently, it uses ACE2 receptors to dock at the cells. Asian male population has 2.7% of lung cells with ACE2 receptors.
Caucasian population just 0.4%.
For Europeans, this virus causes a mere cold.
For Chinese it is a deadly plague.
Biological weapon that targets a particular ethnic population seems to be feasible…

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Alex
February 17, 2020 10:21 pm

Is that some sort of common knowledge, or do you have a reference for that info?
It may be well known and 100% true…but new information cannot be expected to be just accepted by people who think critically.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2020 10:27 pm

You can Google at biorxiv as well.
There is a good scientific preprint on the topic.
I am writing from phone.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2020 11:16 pm

Here is the reference for you:

A novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) was identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December of 2019. This new coronavirus has resulted in thousands of cases of lethal disease in China, with additional patients being identified in a rapidly growing number internationally. 2019-nCov was reported to share the same receptor, Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), with SARS-Cov. Here based on the public database and the state-of-the-art single-cell RNA-Seq technique, we analyzed the ACE2 RNA expression profile in the normal human lungs. The result indicates that the ACE2 virus receptor expression is concentrated in a small population of type II alveolar cells (AT2). Surprisingly, we found that this population of ACE2-expressing AT2 also highly expressed many other genes that positively regulating viral reproduction and transmission. A comparison between eight individual samples demonstrated that the Asian male one has an extremely large number of ACE2-expressing cells in the lung. This study provides a biological background for the epidemic investigation of the 2019-nCov infection disease, and could be informative for future anti-ACE2 therapeutic strategy development.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Alex
February 18, 2020 12:05 am

Thank you Alex.

Reply to  Alex
February 18, 2020 5:23 pm

Isn’t that the paper with only 8 persons and later retracted or dismissed ? I believe there is another paper around with more than 100 individuals showing no difference because of race.

holly elizabeth Birtwistle
Reply to  golfsailor
February 19, 2020 4:40 pm

Isn’t 8 person’s enough??? 100??? Actually you would need several hundred thousand, and you would need the study to be able to be corroborated by many other labs, taking years of research. Also, there is much too much certainty in the ‘results’ of this study. It is not simple or easy or even reliable to perform the above sequencing.
So, thank you for a sensible comment Golfsailor. There is very little reason on this thread. People are talking about ‘studies’ they have no understanding of, and are making mind-boggling leaps of imagination and ludicrous, speculative connections amongst information they have no real understanding of, but they have seen movies and read science-fiction about. Almost everyone on this thread is doing it, normally rational people are leaping to mind-boggling conclusions based on ‘studies’, fake news, science fiction, and suspicion of China. Mind-boggling.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  golfsailor
February 22, 2020 3:56 pm

Or maybe Holly, you just have really bad reading comprehension, and are in fact ludicrously uninformed on the subject to be making such assertions.
Considering how poorly you understood what I was saying in your other comment upthread, the available evidence is that you do not know what the hell you are talking about, do not read very well, and are prone to making completely uncalled for and rash pronouncements.
IOW…why the hell should anyone take your word for anything?

As for certainty expressed in this study, this is what the authors had to say:
“This might explain the observation that the new Coronavirus pandemic and previous SARS-Cov pandemic are concentrated in the Asian area.”
This might explain.
That does not sound like certainty, it sounds like a suggestion that there may possibly be something that needs to be looked at.
Golfsailor did not say anything specific, but if he is talking about the paper from Guoshuai Cai, that one does not say anything with any certainty either.
In fact, the author of that one said he found that tobacco usage seems to be associated with greater expression of the ACE2 receptor, but also offers several caveats against making too much of his work, such as when he says:
“This study has several limitations. First, the data analysed in this study were from the normal lung tissue of patients with lung adenocarcinoma, which may be different with the lung tissue of healthy people. Although we observed no difference between male and female healthy samples from GTEx, further validation studies are required for other factors. Second, our analysis was based on the average expression from bulk tissue. This may lead to a power loss in detecting the expression from particular cell types such as the AT2 cells in which ACE2 are specifically highly expressed. Whether ACE2 is the only or major receptor of 2019-nCov is unknown.”

He was looking at the cells of cancer patients, lung cancer patients, and found an association with tobacco usage.
Gosh…no reason to be skeptical of a skewed result in that study, eh?

Reply to  Alex
February 20, 2020 12:18 pm

How then to explain only 7 deaths , at least one of them a woman, among 1,716 infected Chinese doctors and nurses?

john harmsworth
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 19, 2020 6:59 am

Yes, I read this early on. About two weeks ago. I didn’t see anything official on it and treated it as anunknown possibility.

Reply to  Alex
February 18, 2020 11:52 am

Hi Alex, – The existence of ACE2 receptors at cells does not automatically result in this coronavirus being able to successfully use them. From memory, this coronavirus success rate using ACE2 & subsequently get into a cell is less than 80%

Sorry am not able to cite my source; but being a 2020 report maybe interested individuals can track that down. The same report discussed how other recent coronavirus (SARS) that also uses ACE2 reception for poising fared with it’s success rate.

I think, recollection is vague here, that SARS coronavirus actually had a higher success rate (over 80%) than this new 2019 coronavirus (under 80%) in utilizing the ACE2 receptor tactic. Specific success rates coming to mind were something like 82% for SARS & something like 75% for this novel 2019 one; but, although there were different %s my numbers given here are subject to error.

Michael Burns
Reply to  Alex
February 18, 2020 1:41 pm

Chinese children 8&9 years old and in another study 4-14 years old as well ke-mo sah-bee– seems kids bounce well.
This seems on closer look as you have as almost age specific…stronger immunities in children and because they mainly are family clusters could be prominent.

“The clinical manifestations in children with 2019-nCoV infection are non-specific and are milder than that in adults. Chest CT scanning is [helpful] for early diagnosis. Children’s infection is mainly caused by family cluster outbreak and imported cases. Family daily prevention is the main way to prevent 2019-nCoV infection”

Reply to  Alex
February 20, 2020 12:14 pm

How then to explain only 7 deaths , at least one of them a woman, among 1,716 infected Chinese doctors and nurses?

Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2020 10:13 pm

A biological weapon that mostly causes mild illness and mostly kills old people with underlying medical conditions?
Not a clever one.

That is not cytokine storm profile whatsoever…it is the opposite.

Cytokine storm etiology is not a slow burn death after many weeks and a late stage turn for the worse…It is the opposite of that.

Evil genius bioweapons program scientists who “obviously wear no protective clothing”?

Nothing incongruous about that oicture, eh?

Bioweapons research next to a hospital in a crowded city…or a research facility?
One sounds dumb.
One makes perfect sense.

And of course…no one likes the Chinese government…but no one inside China would make some crap up, or speculate with the intention of smearing that universally loved and admired government, right!

Just like here.
Just like anywhere.

And the people quickest to latch onto a horror story based on flimsy evidence or rank speculation…those are the people who have the most unerringly perfect judgement, right?

Forming strong opinions on weak evidence is a character flaw, not a hallmark of intelligence.

David A
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 12:32 pm
Michael Burns
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 2:08 pm

What happens if in the body it is only capable of so many replications of the virus. And so Telomerase shortens telomeres in RNA. Stop at a specific count of the virion, therefore in older folks, the damage is done with very little as they are lung compromised to begin with, but, in children and higher functioning immunities, the war will be won. As virion count has to be significantly higher…
Maybe this is why serum levels come so up so negative, and asymptomatic for kids mainly…

Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2020 10:17 pm

A biological weapon that mostly causes mild illness and mostly k*lls old people with underlying medical conditions?
Not a clever one.

That is not cytokine storm profile whatsoever…it is the opposite.

Cytokine storm etiology is not a slow burn death after many weeks and a late stage turn for the worse…It is the opposite of that.

Evil genius bioweapons program scientists who “obviously wear no protective clothing”?

Nothing incongruous about that picture, eh?

Bioweapons research next to a hospital in a crowded city…or a research facility?
One sounds dumb.
One makes perfect sense.

And of course…no one likes the Chinese government…but no one inside China would make some crap up, or speculate with the intention of smearing that universally loved and admired government, right!?

Just like here.
Just like anywhere.

And the people quickest to latch onto a horror story based on flimsy evidence or rank speculation…those are the people who have the most unerringly perfect judgement, right?

Forming strong opinions on weak evidence is a character flaw, not a hallmark of intelligence.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 4:00 am

I am unconvinced its from a weapons lab, but the Chinese are at least as interested in fighting an asymmetric war as a big, shoot-em up war.

Chinese hackers take down Us infrastructure and then the Internet. An easily transmitted but low lethality virus is released. Health services in the US are overwhelmed, maybe a Carrier Group or two in port has 35% of its sailors laid low.

China lays claim to Taiwan and the Spratlys and a bit more. The US is in chaos, the military response confused and slow, and by then it’s a done deal. No big shooting war, no risk of a nuclear exchange, Chin gets what it wants.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Phoenix44
February 18, 2020 4:46 am

I doubt if someone was thinking of doing it, they would start with a virus that is a close genetic match for one that everyone knows where it comes from, or do it in such a location.
After WWI, it was easy for everyone to agree that chemical weapons should be banned.
They make bad weapons.
They are as likely to hurt the side using it as the side they are using it on.
There are diseases that spread like wildfire through populations, exist everywhere, or else are in widespread lab usage, and that a country could devise a vaccine for ahead of time.
So probably the first thing any person embarking on such an endeavor would do, would logically have some way worked out to make sure it their own side would be immune.
AFAIK, corona viruses have resisted attempts to make a vaccine.
A SARS vaccine was in development, but was put on hold when that disease was brought under control.
AFAIK, they are just now working on testing it in clinical trials.
Many vaccine candidates fail, for any number of reasons.
It might not be safe, it might not cause a person getting it to make antibody sufficient to be protected, it could be it does not last long, or it might cause a virus to quickly evolve around it, etc.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Phoenix44
February 18, 2020 4:59 am

I think the reason the US military has or had biological and chemical weapons, like VX or anthrax, is as a deterrent against an enemy using one of those types of things.
If some country used biological warfare against the US, the response would be overwhelming and final.

David Guy-Johnson
February 17, 2020 10:20 pm

Speculation and wild conspiracy theories. I expect better from my favourite scientific blog

Philip T. Downman
Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
February 17, 2020 11:12 pm

Agree! A vaccine against fake news is urgently needed.

David A
Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
February 18, 2020 12:35 pm

Not everything that counters the “official” story is ” wild conspiracy theory”

State your objections to this story and my link by addressing the assertions, not blanket labeling.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  David A
February 19, 2020 3:07 am

Why don’t you trying saying something instead of posting a link and demanding people read it?
In case you are new to the internet, most people will not click on a link just because someone posts it.
And if you are too lazy to state an opinion or an idea, or to summarize what you wish to bring to the conversation, why should anyone else.
Finally, after posting the link for the umpteenth time, don’t you think that everyone who is likely to click on it already has?
You might have the best argument in the whole world, but if you do not make it, it hardly matters.

February 17, 2020 10:58 pm

They tried planned parenthood (e.g. one-child). It is not beyond belief that with progress, and desperation, they would try planned population, again. Their first PP scheme left their population with a male bias, and senior heavy, a burden on the community, and less viable by the day. The Chinese regime is known for implementing wicked solutions to hard problems. In fact, they are first in order of regimes that have prosecuted planned populations justified by social progress and other purposes.

lemiere jacques
February 17, 2020 11:05 pm

hard to believe you would put a biological warfare in the middle of a town to me..

i don’t see much evidence there..may be in the article..

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  lemiere jacques
February 18, 2020 12:25 am

Nothing indicates bioweapons or warfare.
People have conflated “biological research lab” with “government biowarfare program”.
As if one implies the other.
Then when I have pointed this out, people have started calling me names, insulting me, called me shill for …IDK… big tobacco, George Soros, the Koch Brothers, the Chinese bioweapon program, the Illuminati…you name it.
I do not know if this is some sort of mental pathology, or a strategy (warmistas have done this for years), or just emotional outburst…but it sure is dumb.
Some people are incapable of discerning the difference between a question and a criticism, and often it seems those same people have no ability to respond constructively or even rationally to criticism.

Michael Burns
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 2:24 pm

In the voice of Johnny Depp at a drunken Chinese New Years party.

“*Slap*…For God’s sake’s man pull yourself together, you sniffling in front of the children. Quit feeling sorry for yourself, there’s work to be done, by God. Jesus Christ riding a unicorn we’re balls deep in this…we can’t quit now.”

“Some people are incapable of discerning the difference between a question and a criticism […]”

“Eh, youuu… talkin to me?”

Reply to  lemiere jacques
February 18, 2020 4:03 am

No, the weapons labs are surely in the Gobi. But China is the USSR – no mistakes are ever admitted at any level. So a Gobi lab worker spills something, says nothing to anyone, and they all set off for home for Chinese New Year the next day…

Do I believe that’s happened? No. Is it possible? Yes.

February 17, 2020 11:29 pm

I don’t believe it yet, but I note that there have been several unfortunate incidents of this kind of thing, including a researcher in Russia who died from accidentally pricking herself with a needle with Ebola, and a researcher in the uk who died from a ventilation duct from another room containing a sample of smallpox.

I’d like to see more than proximity-‘280 yards away’ though. A Pakistan military school were less than a mile from Osama Bin laden, doesn’t mean they knew he was there, and a govt chemical research lab with military connections wasn’t far from the UK cases of Russian spy poisoning, but again it doesn’t mean the lab was involved. Same here. Needs more actual evidence than proximity.

Reply to  Thingadonta
February 18, 2020 1:56 am

Another factor is that the Chinese lost most of their pork supply during the past year and it won’t be replaced for a few years.

Large Swine Herd Losses in China Pressure Protein Industry – Jennifer Shike – May 8, 2019 08:50 AM
“… We are entering a period without precedent in the global production of protein,” Bendheim said. “Rabobank recently published an estimate of 30% of herd loss a few days ago, and my personal opinion is that the loss would be much greater than that.” His sources in China estimate more than 50% losses in China’s 700-million-head herd. This is equivalent to all of the pigs the rest of the world raises. ASF [African Swine Flu] is not a new virus, and over the years, many have responded with good biosecurity to manage the virus. Bendheim believes it will be extremely hard for China to manage the virus, however, because they have such a high number of backyard farms. “You just can’t solve this problem,” he said. “But the size of the problem or the opportunity, which is always the other side of a problem, is so great that this will be with us for a long time. This is going to have a phenomenal effect on all protein production around the world.”

i.e. Thus alternate sources of meat sate the continuous demand, making viral exposure more likely.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  WXcycles
February 18, 2020 5:11 am

A female pig can have two litters a year, and as many as 12 per litter.
I think they will be able to restock quickly.
I think the big hurdle is farmers being hesitant to make an investment when the disease is not known to be fully eliminated.
This article from Bloomberg seems to indicate they will be able to bounce back relatively quickly.
Compared to most species of food animals, pigs, it seems, breed like flies.

Michael Burns
Reply to  WXcycles
February 18, 2020 2:41 pm

*In the same drunken Johnny Depp voice*

“Ah now we’re talking about trichinosis, or…it could be Toxoplasma gondii…good god man are there two i’s in gondii…anyway an old Chinese compadre of mine, a honorable and well to do cat rancher tells me sales are up…BTW where there cats ‘on’ the menu at that market? Civet…cat…yummy.”

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Michael Burns
February 19, 2020 3:16 am

Don’t quit your day job.
Thanks for playing, drive safely!
*Maybe best call an Uber…I think you had a few too many*

David A
Reply to  Thingadonta
February 18, 2020 12:37 pm
Bill Parsons
February 17, 2020 11:42 pm

This story has undergone a few interesting mutations of its own.

Don’t throw out the theory of a natural, animal-to-human morph quite yet. It’s happened many times in the past and would seem to be the most likely occurence this time. The deprivation and repression that led to the Chinese “diverse” view of food is hard to imagine, but a culture emerging from centuries of starvation learns to make do. The Han embrace it still. Millions of people starved under Mao’s Cultural Revolution and “Great Leaps” forward. It’s a hard lesson to forget in a generation or even two.

If someone in Wuhan demurred at the roast bat, there is a long list of reptiles, plants, mammals, birds and insects that he would still find on the menu or in the local apothecary’s shop. Not hard at all for me to believe that this virus sprang from the Wuhan wet market.

There’s now a WHO “advance team” on the ground in China. Hopefully they will make a convincing report to the public – and soon.

David A
Reply to  Bill Parsons
February 18, 2020 12:40 pm

Against all logical investigation practices, apparently China simply made the market disappear; no animals preserved, tested etc…
Consider this as a possible scenario

JRF in Pensacola
February 17, 2020 11:56 pm

A general comment about “Biological Research Labs”: every college and university with a Biology Department has “Biological Research Labs” and you would be surprised at what can happen in those labs. Controls are much better now but about 50 years ago (grad school, I think) I was given some nitrosoguanidine (search it) and told to go see what it would do. I’m lucky I did not mutate, replicate and infect half the globe! Fortunately, I selected my test organisms carefully and did employ some controls based on common sense so that no disaster occurred.

Lee L
Reply to  JRF in Pensacola
February 18, 2020 1:25 am

“you would be surprised at what can happen in those labs. ”

Yea we would.
Way back in the dark ages circa 1966 when genetic research was primitive, and I was in the 11th grade high school, I was offered a chance to work in a university lab on the weekend. My first day I was assigned to feed mice which lived in racks of somewht improvised slide out/slide in metal pans similar to very large dog food bowls. When you slid the pan into its shelf, the top was sealed against the shelf above by a screen so that the mice were contained. When you pulled it out of the slot, the pan was wide open and the mice could be handled, fed, and cleaned.

Unfortunately, I had never been around mice at all and was unaware of their amazing ability to squeeze themselves through small openings.
I began feeding the mice one pan at a time and by the time I had done about 15 pans I noticed escapees. Apparently, I had not pushedsome of the pans ALL the way in so that there was a small area not covered by the screen ceiling.
The PhD student looked aghast at the scene as she and I captured what I hoped was all of the ‘samples’ in her study. We also hoped they had not introduced themselves into the wrong pans and done what mice are famous for. It was a genetics lab after all.

JRF in Pensacola
Reply to  Lee L
February 19, 2020 4:46 am

Lee, fortunately my test organisms would stay in a beaker and have their lives resolved by autoclave!

Michael Burns
Reply to  JRF in Pensacola
February 18, 2020 2:55 pm

Good God man, you don’t mean Methylnitronitrosoguanidine (that’s a twenty-five cent word) do ya…I have some of that stuff leftover from college too… from, fifty years ago ya say…I think you and I went to separate schools together… “mutate! replicate!…infect half the world.”
Oh oooh I think we found the source of this corona beer virus Pensacola.

JRF in Pensacola
Reply to  Michael Burns
February 19, 2020 5:06 am

Ha! And, very good, Michael! (But, not a beer drinker.) I did wind up with a skin anomaly (relatively small) on the back of my hands a short time after, which finally disappeared after some liquid nitrogen treatments a few decades later. Don’t know if they were related to the use of ntg or not. Interesting times, they were! (And, a lot of beer does flow around here, particularly at McGuires’ Irish Pub!)

Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 12:12 am

Thank you.
I get the idea a lot of people have either never worked in a lab, took classes with labs, or thought much about how so much is known about viruses and the details of how they infect cells and reproduce.

February 18, 2020 12:24 am

John Tillman and I discussed such possibility just over a week ago

Ed Zuiderwijk
February 18, 2020 1:57 am

Bad idea, this thread. Let’s stick to global warming stuff and ignore unrelated conspiracy theories. Dabbling in those damages the standing of this site.

Some points:

“There’s no evidence whatsoever of genetic engineering that we can find”

A biosecurity lab is NOT the same as a biowarfare lab. The CDC has them and I myself worked at a lab with a level 2 security wing.

An accidental escape of a virus being researched, maybe. A deliberate release, unlikely.

David A
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
February 18, 2020 12:43 pm

“There’s no evidence whatsoever of genetic engineering that we can find”

Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 2:36 am

October 2007
“Recent studies have suggested that bats are the natural reservoir of a range of coronaviruses (CoVs), and that rhinolophid bats harbor viruses closely related to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) CoV, which caused an outbreak of respiratory illness in humans during 2002–2003. We examined the evolutionary relationships between bat CoVs and their hosts by using sequence data of the virus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene and the bat cytochrome b gene. Phylogenetic analyses showed multiple incongruent associations between the phylogenies of rhinolophid bats and their CoVs, which suggested that host shifts have occurred in the recent evolutionary history of this group. These shifts may be due to either virus biologic traits or host behavioral traits. This finding has implications for the emergence of SARS and for the potential future emergence of SARS-CoVs or related viruses.”

Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 3:02 am

For anyone unaware of how common it is for a new infectious disease to be the result of a spread from an animal to a person…it is by far the primary way new diseases have infected people:

Zoonoses with a wildlife reservoir represent a major public health problem, affecting all continents. Hundreds of pathogens and many different transmission modes are involved, and many factors influence the epidemiology of the various zoonoses. The importance and recognition of wildlife as a reservoir of zoonoses are increasing. Cost-effective prevention and control of these zoonoses necessitate an interdisciplinary and holistic approach and international cooperation. Surveillance, laboratory capability, research, training and education, and communication are key elements.
Throughout history, wildlife has been an important source of infectious diseases transmissible to humans. Today, zoonoses with a wildlife reservoir constitute a major public health problem, affecting all continents. The importance of such zoonoses is increasingly recognized, and the need for more attention in this area is being addressed.
Wildlife is normally defined as free-roaming animals (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians), whereas a zoonosis is an infectious disease transmittable between animals and humans. The total number of zoonoses is unknown, but according to Taylor et al. (1), who in 2001 catalogued 1,415 known human pathogens, 62% were of zoonotic origin. With time, more and more human pathogens are found to be of animal origin. Moreover, most emerging infectious diseases in humans are zoonoses.”

Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 3:06 am

How important are so-called wet markets, and other trade practices that mix animals of various species in confined spaces?
“Using three different assays, we examined 103 serum samples collected from different civet farms and a market in China in June 2003 and January 2004. While civets on farms were largely free from SARS-CoV infection, ≈80% of the animals from one animal market in Guangzhou contained significant levels of antibody to SARS-CoV, which suggests no widespread infection among civets resident on farms, and the infection of civets in the market might be associated with trading activities under the conditions of overcrowding and mixing of various animal species.”

February 18, 2020 3:13 am

“blood of bat was on his skin”, sounds convincing to me! It is the bat-lab.

Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 3:22 am

More on how frequently new emerging diseases are the result of a spread from an animal to people:
“Since 1980, >35 new infectious diseases have emerged in humans (13), ≈1 every 8 months. The origin of HIV is likely linked to human consumption of nonhuman primates (14). Recent Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreaks in humans have been traced to index patient contact with infected great apes that are hunted for food (15). SARS-associated coronavirus has been associated with the international trade in small carnivores (16), and a study comparing antibody evidence of exposure to this coronavirus demonstrated a dramatic rise from low or zero prevalence of civets at farms to an approximately 80% prevalence in civets tested in markets”

Search engine queries turn up many hundreds of studies like these I have posted…thousands if considered across keyword searches.
Every 8 months!
That is how often (at least…this is a minimum) between 1980 and 2005 a new disease emerged in people.
Seen in that light, is it unlikely, or is it in fact likely, knowing nothing else, that this new disease came from the wet market where a large percentage of the original patients had contact?

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2020 3:32 am

Also it is a matter of sheer numbers. With billions of people chances increase of virus jumping to humans, if human/animal practices do not change.

February 18, 2020 3:25 am

One site that is giving good updates

Some stories from there:
– 3500 medical workers have died, not the 1700 that China says
– patients can get reinfected and reports are that reinfected patients can go into sudden cardiac arrest
– studies show potential for virus infection to cause male infertility

Reply to  Stevek
February 18, 2020 3:41 am

Sorry meant medical workers infected, not died.

Reply to  Stevek
February 18, 2020 9:09 am

The cardiac arrest is from damage caused by drugs administered during initial treatment. I would love to see the data showing the mortality rates for those treated by establishment medicine and those treated by traditional Chinese medicine.

Reply to  Stevek
February 18, 2020 9:46 am

Nice. A firehose of information

The headline that stood out most to me was “India Slammed For Proposing Usage of Homeopathy to Prevent Coronavirus”. FWIW, homeopathic doctors are recorded as saying they experienced zero to very few deaths during the Spanish Flu pandemic. One thing they refused to do that establishment medicine did with abandon was administer aspirin to patients. Aspirin poisoning is believed by more than a few to be the primary cause of the excessive deaths.

So it may not be a question what good homeopathy does so much as a question of what harm it doesn’t do. WuFlu patients in China are basically being used as guinea pigs for, IMO, really toxic treatments.

Gary Gulrud
February 18, 2020 3:36 am

This via DougRoss@journal, also look for videos by Chris Martenson and ‘Zooming In’ with Simone Gao. The official infection numbers are not exponential as expected at this juncture and the case death rate is holding improbably day after day at 2.1%.

Those whose knee jerk reaction is to wail “Conspiracy” are allergic to work.

Gary Gulrud
February 18, 2020 4:13 am

No samples were taken and sequenced at the Wuhan ‘wet market’. It was cleared and disinfected and is utterly useless to support conjecture. No bats were present as they ‘hibernate’ at this time of year(although small mammals don’t actually hibernate but merely sleep most of the winter). The R(0) of zoonotic viruses SARS, MERS and Ebola are comparatively low with regard to the aerosolized COVid-2019.

Craig W
February 18, 2020 5:11 am

“May have” & “Probably” are tells for speculative/fake news.
We (skeptics) of all people know that theories need proof to become fact; Correlation does not prove causation.

February 18, 2020 5:18 am

Im wondering about the poor people who liv in those horrible multi layer cage type setups crammed in like lab animals themselves
if they were all lowpaid workers and confined together for 2 weeks or more with little space to move excersize and even be able to remain apart from neighbours at all.. theyre not listed as dwelling but are hidden in “factory/workshop/storage/ areas..
and the doorknocking being done presently would miss them
but I suspect theres going to be quite a few found dead in flats and apartments/rooms etc
too poor to be able to go to a hospital or pay for any meds anyway.

Justin Burch
February 18, 2020 6:54 am

My friend from China who was involved in bringing SARS under control said the Wuhan live markets were technically illegal but corruption among Chinese officials allowed the market to flourish. It was his hope that this crisis would mean they would finally shut down the markets. However now they have a perfect scapegoat. It was not a corrupt bunch of officials allowing traditional and extremely dangerous wildlife live markets. It was stupidity in a lab. Now a bunch of workers can be taken out and shot and the markets can start up again as soon as things calm down. Of course this doesn’t mean the Chinese weren’t doing bioweapons research and something got out. They could have put the research facility next to the market for exactly that reason, a cover in case something got out. It could also be just another case of China infiltrating a western laboratory, stealing all the secrets, and taking the secrets home, like they always do for everything, but then this one got away on them. I’m more inclined to think that. If it was bioweapons development it would seem they didn’t get very far along because the sequence does not show tampering (based on what is publicly available) and the whole project has backfired on them rather badly.

February 18, 2020 10:09 am

China quarantined 50 million people before anyone else had even heard of corona virus. That is the smoking gun. They would not have done this except that they knew something they have nor told the rest of the world.

February 18, 2020 10:13 am

I can’t find any mainstream news organization (liberal, conservative, or otherwise) that can confirm this study actually occurred and was released. Looks like fake news to me.

February 18, 2020 10:15 am

Trump caused corona virus. The trade war stopped US soybean shipments to China. No soybeans, no pigs. No pigs, people start eating wild game. Bat virus spreads to people.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  ferdberple
February 18, 2020 10:23 am

The pigs died of African Swine Fever, is how I heard it.
And China was not refused soybeans…they switched to buying them elsewhere, from Brazil I think, out of retaliation for Trump finally standing up to them ripping us off.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  ferdberple
February 18, 2020 10:36 am

Somewhere along the line, the phrase “fair trade” acquired the meaning “the US gets the sh!t end of every stick).
What Trump actually proposes is that all tarrifs be eliminated both ways by everyone.
We have charged a fraction of what other countries do, and on a fraction of the products that other countries slap them on.
IOW…the US is flat out prevented from selling stuff into foreign markets, and they flood our shores with whatever they want and sometimes do it below cost.
O top of that, China went hog wild on IP theft and outrageous restrictions on US countries that wanted to open up shop in China. We had to share all technology with them, and let them be a partner in each business. We delivered stuff being sent from China to any address in the US at a lower price than someone 20 miles away could send it to that same address for. Etc.
The deal was negotiated when they were considered an undeveloped country, and the people making the deal on our side figured the US could afford any deal no matter how bad a deal it was for us.
That crap is now over…finally.
In the meantime, the US has gone from a manufacturing powerhouse…the manufacturing powerhouse of the entire world, to having large cities with nary an open factory left.
Whole sections of nearly every city in each of several states we call the rust belt have empty shells of homes by the tens and hundreds of thousands, and entire large regions with every factory shuttered.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 19, 2020 3:13 am

Should be “…outrageous restrictions on US companies…”

Gary Gulrud
February 18, 2020 10:42 am

comment image?itok=gxi7DJCS

Two infection curves from 2 sources. One is exponential and credible the other is not.

February 18, 2020 11:05 am

The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom in 2001 caused a crisis in British agriculture and tourism. This epizootic saw 2,000 cases of the disease in farms across most of the British countryside. Over 6 million cows and sheep were killed in an eventually successful attempt to halt the disease.

All this blamed, officially, in a viral infection penetrating Britain through air, birds, from main land Europe or further way, plus also trade and exchange in life stock with main land Europe or further afield.

But in the end of the day, the patient zero, the farm where and when all this originated from, happened to be a “back to back” neighbor with a high tech biological lab, extensively dealing with experiments on such as virus at that time in point then.
Confirmed and validated to a point that the possibility of a leak of the virus from that laboratory to environment, very much considered as a possibility.

But you see, nothing to see here, move along, still fault of nature, birds or maybe also man’s negligence in simple trade and market affairs…

And still no such thing impacted either main land Europe or the rest, just Britain…
And still all blamed in the nature of all things there, in regard of the rest of the world, with any no wrong whatsoever in consideration of Britain and their own schist.

Oh, maybe my memory does not serve me well…


Reply to  whiten
February 19, 2020 12:35 pm

Really really sorry boys.

Very big mess in me part.

My comment, as for my comment and my words as per above addressing a wrong outbreak, the 2001 one, when actually meant for the 2007 one.

Maybe I could seek shelter in the consideration of this being a simply British routine… 🙂

Simply, what my comment supposed to have addressed is some like this;
“A contained four-site outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom was found by regular livestock testing by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), namely in August 2007 three times, and once the following month, all in the west of Surrey, England.

The first diagnosis took place in a field of Normandy, Surrey; the second was three days later in a cattle-rotation field of the farmer in Elstead, and the following day nearby, a third infection within a quickly-established protection zone around the first incidence. One month and ten days after the first diagnosis a final incidence of 2007 was identified and dealt with 13 miles (21 km) north of the first diseased animal. The source of the strain released and contained in Surrey in 2007 was the advanced effluent pipes from either the Institute for Animal Health or the similar vaccine researching and producing Merial Animal Health laboratory near to Pirbright village in the county – the pipes were too old and/or insufficiently inspected given their importance. An inspection of the effluent pipes and manholes carried out for the HSE investigators showed deficiencies and the independent investigation of Professor Brian Spratt concluded that it was very likely that they occasionally leaked still-infectious effluent at the time of the outbreak. Both laboratories, either of which may have been the cause, upgraded and repaired their effluent treatment systems to continue operation. The UK Government provided compensation for the farmers directly involved.

These interrelated and contained events prompted precautionary measures of restricted-access containment zones in three counties where suspected infections were reported and major international trading partners such as Canada and the Republic of Ireland placed temporary restrictions on meat and dairy exports. ”
Well, hopefully this clarifies my point…

Still, mea culpa in the consideration of the info mess there…..really sorry.


Jake J
February 18, 2020 12:33 pm

I don’t believe a single thing from ZeroHedge. Complete garbage. The posts here are FAR more reliable.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Jake J
February 19, 2020 7:29 am

Zerohedge seems to push pretty hard on this. It makes one suspect they have large short positions that they can clean up on disaster with.

February 18, 2020 5:20 pm

When it was collected about 15 years ago from a nearby bat cave they took the samples to that facility… look at the prevailing winds.

Nicholas McGinley
February 19, 2020 8:50 am

Accidently posted this on the wrong thread earlier today:
Some assertions I have checked on and found to not be true or not so likely to be just as asserted.
Hibernation of bats:
– Some bats have a sort of hibernation, called torpor. Fruit bats do not hibernate. Many do not migrate.
Nearest known location of bats with virus similar to COVID19 is Zhousan, about 500 miles due east of Wuhan.
This does not mean this is the closest location of that species, or the closest location of bats with that virus.
It means that in 2018 bats were found in that place and had coronavirus taken from them, and that viral genome is in the stored genome files of whoever keeps those files, and that virus has been found to be a 88% genetic match for the new virus.
It does not mean that the new virus came from those bats.
It does not mean those bats are not in the Wuhan area.
It does not mean that those are the only bats with that 88% similar virus.
It does not mean that there are not other bats in other areas that may have an even more similar virus, or that there are not bats in the immediate area of Wuhan that do not have that virus or even ones more similar.
All it means is that in the limited database of bat corona viruses which have been sampled and catalogued, that is the closest KNOWN match.
What percentage of bat populations have been tested and all virus in them catalogued?
There are hundreds of species of bats in China, and dozens of species very closely related to the bats with that 88% virus. The 88% virus bats have a huge range, and individual bats may range far and wide and may even be somewhat nomadic or interbreed with bats in overlapping regions. Further, those viruses are able to infect a wide range of mammalian species.
Ordinary house cats were found to have been widely infected with SARS during that outbreak, and it is unknown if cats were able to pass it back to people. And that is just a single example.
Those viruses are numerous and infect a wide range of species, and those species are all over the place.
It is entirely possible that in the coming months and years the reservoir for this strain of virus will be found to exist all around that region.
Bats are not in Wuhan because it is Winter there and they are hibernating, and bats do not inhabit cities.
This is false, false, false, and misleading on top of false.
Bats are known to be widespread in cities.
Average temp in Wuhan in February is the high low range 38-51°F
But the virus was already widely circulating in people in late December.
December climatology for Wuhan is 37-51°F, November is 46-62°F, October is 58-74°F
Yes, AVERAGE high in October is 74 degrees fahretheit, which is not at all cold, and that is average.
Bats live in cities, and may prefer a warm UHI in a city to outlying regions which may be colder agricultural areas.
And it is not at all hard to see that if the virus was widespread in December, the initial cases could have been 8 weeks prior or more. We see how long this virus incubates, and that spreading events seem spotty…sometimes spreading easily, other times slowly.
That cruise ship is a good example…for over 10 days the numbers of new people was moderate, and then it rose fairly quickly, and was uneven. If each patient incubates for a week to two weeks and spreads to 3 or 4 people, how long from initial case to thousands?
And the number in January may have been many many thousands if reports are to be believed.
And besides for that, are reports that there was an intermediate host.
This article from Lancet has several passages that bear on assertions made here in this thread.
Relating to an intermediate host:
“Although our phylogenetic analysis suggests that bats might be the original host of this virus, an animal sold at the seafood market in Wuhan might represent an intermediate host facilitating the emergence of the virus in humans”
“Recombination has been seen frequently in coronaviruses.1 As expected, we detected recombination in the Sarbecoviruses analysed here. Our results suggest that recombination events are complex and are more likely occurring in bat coronaviruses than in 2019-nCoV. Hence, despite its occurrence, recombination is probably not the reason for emergence of this virus, although this inference might change if more closely related animal viruses are identified.
In conclusion, we have described the genomic structure of a seventh human coronavirus that can cause severe pneumonia and have shed light on its origin and receptor-binding properties. More generally, the disease outbreak linked to 2019-nCoV again highlights the hidden virus reservoir in wild animals and their potential to occasionally spill over into human populations.”
All of this talk about spike protein substitutions and bats hibernating and not existing near that market are not exactly true, not exactly the relevant factors, or not especially compelling as to the likely origin of the virus.
These things are rarely figured out quickly, in terms of details.
The way this virus spreads, all of the people who came down very sick in December may have been infected by someone who worked at that market and had mild symptoms.
Between genetic drift and possible recombination events in some coinfected host, there is no reason to think that there is necessarily anything unusual about the particulars of this virus.
At least not that has been pointed out in any reputable publications.
There is no shortage of people in this field all over the world who will be looking at this closely.
I for one will not be jumping to any conclusions based on what amounts to internet rumormongering

February 20, 2020 12:15 pm

How then to explain only 7 deaths , at least one of them a woman, among 1,716 infected Chinese doctors and nurses?

Reply to  otropogo
February 20, 2020 12:24 pm

sorry, accidental and misplaced duplicate reply to:

Alex February 17, 2020 at 11:16 pm
Here is the reference for you:

February 22, 2020 12:25 pm

This is weird , I like to post Wattsup with that on FB page so friend can see it. This works until today when i tried to post about the virus could have come from a Chinese Lab. Curious