#coronavirus Useful relevant science: the bats behind the Covid-19 pandemic

From Polar Bear Science

Posted on April 11, 2020 | Comments Off on Useful relevant science: the bats behind the Covid-19 pandemic

This bit of mammalian science is worth a read, from biologist Matt Ridley’s blog, first published in the Wall Street Journal. And yes, a very few bat species do live above the Arctic Circle in North America and Eurasia but their distributions only overlap with polar bears in the most southern areas of the bear’s range (and none of the bats are the horseshoe variety that carry coronaviruses): along the coasts of southern Labrador and Hudson Bay, the north coast of Newfoundland, and in NW Alaska along the Bering Sea.

The Bats Behind the Pandemic (published 9 April 2020): From Ebola to Covid-19, many of the deadliest viruses to emerge in recent years have the same animal source.

Ridley horsebat

“RaTG13 is the name, rank and serial number of an individual horseshoe bat of the species Rhinolophus affinis, or rather of a sample of its feces collected in 2013 in a cave in Yunnan, China. The sample was collected by hazmat-clad scientists from the Institute of Virology in Wuhan that year. Stored away and forgotten until January this year, the sample from the horseshoe bat contains the virus that causes Covid-19.

The scientists were mostly sampling a very similar species with slightly shorter wings, called Rhinolophus sinicus, in a successful search for the origin of the virus responsible for the SARS epidemic of 2002-03. That search had alarming implications, which were largely ignored.

In Shitou Cave, south of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, they found viruses in the bats’ droppings and anal swabs that were more similar to human SARS than anything found in palm civets, the small mammals that until then were presumed to be the source of human infection. Back in the laboratory, they found that one of the viruses from bat droppings, called WIV1, could thrive in monkey and human cells specially engineered to activate the gene for ACE2 receptors, the lock to which a coronavirus’s spike protein can fit as a key. This suggested that people could catch SARS directly from a bat dropping.

Then in 2016, Ralph Baric and colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill showed that the same bat virus could infect live mice that had been engineered to express the human gene for the ACE2 receptor. The virus was “poised for human emergence,” as the title of Dr. Baric’s paper put it.

When Covid-19 broke out, attention focused on pangolins, mammals often called scaly anteaters. Early analyses of the pangolin version of the virus seemed to indicate it was even more closely related to the human version than the RaTG13 bat sample was. The illegal pangolin trade for traditional Chinese medicine brings people into contact with sick animals. Just over a year ago, 21 live Malayan pangolins destined for sale in China were intercepted by anti-smuggling officers in Guangdong. Despite the best efforts of a local wildlife rescue center, 16 died with swollen, flooded lungs, rich in coronaviruses.

The role of pangolins in the spread of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, remains unclear. A closer look at more of the Sars-CoV-2 genome, published last week by Maciej Boni at Penn State University and David Robertson at Glasgow University, together with Chinese and European colleagues, finds that human versions of the virus are more closely related to the RaTG13 horseshoe bat sample from the cave than they are to the known pangolin versions. It is not yet possible to tell whether the virus went from bat to pangolin to people, or from bat to pangolin and bat to people in parallel.

Bats are sold in markets and supplied directly to restaurants throughout China and southeast Asia, but no direct evidence of their sale in Wuhan’s wet market has come to light. Also, horseshoe bats, which are much smaller than the tastier fruit bats, are generally not among the species eaten. The significance of the Yunnan cave sample is that it shows the bat virus didn’t need to recombine with viruses in other species in a market to be infectious to people. [my bold] The role of the wet markets may be that other animals get infected there and produce much higher loads of virus than the bats would, amplifying the infection.

All over Asia and Africa human beings encounter horseshoe bats, any one of which could be carrying a virus that could start an epidemic if amplified in a market or similar setting. Bats have supplied most of the dangerous new diseases of the past two decades. The natural reservoir of rabies is in bats, especially in the Americas. Ebola, Marburg and other highly dangerous viruses come from bats, mainly in Africa. The Hendra and Nipah viruses are caught from fruit bats and have caused lethal but small outbreaks in south Asia and Australia. And most coronaviruses seem to originate in bats, including SARS and MERS, a frequently fatal illness that people in the Middle East began catching from camels in 2012, the camels having picked it up from bats.

There are good reasons why bats spread so many viruses. Bats are long-lived mammals, like us, and live in large crowds, like us—ideal for spreading respiratory infections in particular. One bat roost in Texas houses 20 million bats at certain times of year, a concentration of mammals paralleled only by people in cities. There are lots of different species—one-quarter of all mammal species are bats—so they have lots of different viruses. And they fly, carrying diseases long distances, allowing viruses to indulge in “host-shifting” between bat species. This especially suits viruses that can “recombine” with related strains, like coronaviruses.

It is not yet clear why horseshoe bats, in particular, are so infested with coronaviruses. These are average-size bats, distinguished by large, pointed ears and weird little sonar dishes known as nose-leafs, the outer part of which are often shaped like horseshoes. There are at least 100 species, many of which look very alike. Absent from the Americas, they are found all over the tropics of the Old World and in some warm temperate regions. They seem to be fond of living in caves and gathering in large aggregations.

In a paper published in February last year, Patrick Woo and colleagues at Hong Kong University surveyed the coronaviruses found in bats and came to a prescient conclusion: “Bat–animal and bat–human interactions, such as the presence of live bats in wildlife wet markets and restaurants in Southern China, are important for interspecies transmission of [coronaviruses] and may lead to devastating global outbreaks.”

Read the whole thing here.

179 thoughts on “#coronavirus Useful relevant science: the bats behind the Covid-19 pandemic

  1. Yes, so very interesting and useful science. And necessary knowledge for future pandemics. We also need to learn how to behave – and how NOT to behave in the face of the next pandemic. I doubt we will panic and destroy the global economy next time>

    • But why did “we” with this one?

      Yes I’m putting “we” in quotes because I am not part of this particular brand of sheeple hoarding TP like it’s gold and throwing shade on people not covered in blue ribbons or walking around the store in home made hazmat suits.

      Humans and bats coexist. Wet markets are nothing new, bats in them are nothing new, respiratory viruses are nothing new. So what gives? Why the panic pandemic? The misinformation, the fixing of the results, and the constant fear mongering?

      This study is very useful and I hope they get some money to continue this research into why this particular bat species houses so many coronaviruses as a better understanding of interaction in the world of viruses. But unfortunately, I fear the opposite will be true. People are so whipped into a frenzy, they will unleash their fear upon a species that has done nothing but simply survive and I wouldn’t be surprised if the researchers that went into that bat cave don’t get backlash as well.

      This fear mongering needs a scapegoat.

      • I suppose some environmentalists might now extol the virtues of wind turbines for their bat killing features.

        Anyway, here’s an article about coronavirus antibodies found in the blood of some people who live around bat cases in the Yunnan province of China. The article is from 2018 and the “bat lady” Shi Zheng Li is an author. (Shi is pronouned more like Shr, not She.)

        https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12250-018-0012-7

        • WOW ,thats a thought . Do bats splattered in wind tubines spread the virus ?surely some research needed.

        • Lots of bat viruses in Nagaland in India. American and Chinese researchers have been poking around there, as well. Nagaland bat hunters also have antibodies. These bats may harbor some terrifying hemorrhagic diseases. Oh, yeah.

        • (Shi is pronouned more like Shr, not She.) – sounds like a non binary pronoun to me. If it isn’t, it soon will be. 😉

          Yes, the K-word filter is very annoying, especially when discussing a potentially fatal virus. I suggest k-i-ll .

          Mysteriously disappeared Shi Zheng Li ( she’s OK honest ) was clearly working on these virus strains. There are published papers about it. The doc who tried to raise the alarm and got reprimanded and told to sign an agreement to never speak of it again (before dying of it himself) was a college of Shi Zheng Li.

          The whole wet market thing and viruses playing inter-species hopscotch is a load of horse shoe bat shit IMO.

          This especially suits viruses that can “recombine” with related strains, like coronaviruses.

          Viruses evolve through random mutation not by “recombining” , where does the horse-crap come from? We are not talking about cross-pollination of tomatoes here.

          The only way I see virus strands from different strains “recombining” is if they are given a little help. There is only one species on earth capable of doing that and they have bio-security level P4 labs for doing it. ( Like the on in Wuhan recently completed with help from the French govt. and the Pasteur Institute ).

          That the Chinese have just “found” some old bat-shit containing the virus which they had “forgotten about” is no more credible than the rest of the lies they have been spewing to divert their responsibility for this global pandemic.

          There is perhaps no direct evidence this was a bioweapon but I think the western govts. total panic reaction to the outbreak seems to suggest that they were at least very concerned of this possibility.

          Whether a weapon or simple genetic tampering in more benign viral research, it seems pretty evident that this was a leak from a biolab and all the species hopping fairly tales are a cover story which those too scared of another interpretation are willing to cling to.

          Guardian is currently dissing Sen. Tom Cotton, frivolously dismissing the idea as a “conspiracy theory” as though just those two words instantly removes any need for providing any logical basis for reaching a conclusion.

          • Viruses evolve both via mutation and by natural recombination and reassortment.

            But the can also be engineered in the lab through those processes.

            A number of viruses are known to have recombined in the wild:

            https://academic.oup.com/mbe/article/26/1/177/973843

            Recombination, ie horizontal gene transfer, also occurs between and among viruses, prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Humans genomes contain viral sequences.

            My late, great teacher, discoverer of recombinant DNA, Joshua Lederberg, got the Nobel Prize at age 33 for his PhD thesis, typed by his wife.

            Recombination is how bacteria engage in sex.

          • Exactly right John.
            I have known about this for decades.
            It is how we acquired the technology for gene splicing and the entire science of genetic engineering, way back in the 1970s.

          • Exactly right John.
            I have known about this for decades.
            It is how we acquired the technology for gene splicing and the entire science of genetic engineering, way back in the 1970s.

            BTW…Lederberg won his Nobel for discovering bacterial conjugation, the process by which bacteria exchange genes. It is not limited to related bacteria.
            That this occurs is evidenced by such phenomena as antibiotic resistance.
            Once one bacteria evolves the gene for such resistance, it can and does spread to other bacteria.
            In fact, it may not even be necessary for an evolution to occur.
            It may be that there are some bacteria around which have long had such a gene, and it just takes a while for that bacteria to meet up with others than can make use of it.

            Lederberg’s Nobel was in 1958.
            Recombinant DNA as an idea is attributed to Peter Lobban, and the first paper’s on the subject appeared in 1972 and 1973.
            Several Nobel’s related to this idea were awarded starting in 1978, with others in 1980.
            Somehow the guy who first proposed the idea did not share in any of those awards.

            This entire subject ought to be familiar to anyone who has looked into topics in virology anytime over the past several decades, particularly with regard to influenza viruses and pandemics they have caused.

          • Even those who say 5G radio waves are harmful (prevent binding of O2, etc.) are dismissed as making “conspiracy theories”. I don’t see a conspiracy in a physical-chemical-biological hypothesis. It’s an hypothesis of noxious effect.

            Saying glyphosate/Roundup causes a few types of cancer (esp. non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) is not in any way shape or form a theory of a conspiracy. There is no conspiring of Monsanto of trying to harm its own customers and nobody has proposed even a hypothesis of why Monsanto would want to do such thing.

            Whether some radio wave can cause harmful effect at low power was still considered a SCIENTIFIC QUESTION some years ago. There was research on it, paid by the EU. Now it’s a “do dragons exist” question according to random YouTube jerks; and my hypothesis is that most random Internet jerks have iso-stupidity with the MSM, the commentariat, the Deep State talking heads (I’m repeating myself) and the “leaders” (except those “populist”) of most countries.

          • The A/H1N1 “pandemic” (NOT a pandemic) “pig” (not on pigs) flu was a recombination of THREE flu viruses.

            You believe that happened by chance?

            Me neither.

          • Thanks for the comments on recombinant DNA, such a wealth of top people on WUWT.

            There is no conspiring of Monsanto of trying to harm its own customers and nobody has proposed even a hypothesis of why Monsanto would want to do such thing.

            The aim is not to harm customers but to make a fortune and create a monopolistic situation with patented seed strains and create a soil where NOTHING else can grow. If there is a minimal , deniable risk to customers and the consumer, that will be risk weighed against the probability of legal attribution and likely penalties. Hey , cost – benefit , right?

            Whether that is regarded as sound business choices or a conspiracy is a matter or POV.

            Paying accredited scientists to produce favourable PR literature is par for the course in these legal games. That probably is a clear conspiracy where it can be established.

            Calling something a “conspiracy theory” is simply a lazy deceitful tactic to attempt to dismiss an argument with out bothering to produce a counter argument. It is typically used by those with a naive faith in those positions of power, usually a good indication of being in denial rather than having a sound reason to refute it. In the latter case you state your sound reason.

            Some folks think there is barium in aircraft exhaust. I have solid reasons to explain why contrails sometime last hours or expand over time. I never need use CT to dismiss it because I have sound factual explanations.

          • Nicholas,

            Of course you’re right about conjugation, how bacteria recombine DNA.

            As I mentioned, horizontal gene transfer can and does occur even in us multicellular eukaryotes, although it’s harder.

            And, yes, bacteria can pick up drug resistance from others which evolved de novo or inherited it. Some strains have it naturally because some of our antibiotics, such as penicillin, are based upon the antibacterial defenses of wild organisms.

        • This is a picture of the Bat Lady. She exists.

          And a link to the false story about her.

          https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8210951/Beijing-authorities-hushed-findings-Chinese-scientist.html

          There is information that the story on the internet that came out China:

          That was built around the real ‘Bat Lady’ is a false story, that alleges the Bat Lady try to warn officials and there was a cover-up…. blah, blah, blah,

          The story built around the real Bat lady, will fall apart if it is investigate.

          • It said the genomic sequence was 96 per cent identical to another virus they found in horseshoe bats in Yunnan.

            That is about as “identical” as a human and a water buffalo.

            It was this fact that sparked now discounted conspiracy theories that Covid-19 was man-made.

            In what way is the fact that a P4 biolab is doing experimental research on viruses AND creating their own variants to study a “conspiracy”. Conspiring to do what , do their jobs? You’d have to be a real wacko tin-foil hatter to believe that, wouldn’t you !

            Of course the magic words “conspiracy theory” allows you to dismiss anything without the need for a rebuttal or anything requiring the slightest thought.

            Shi told the respected science journal Scientific American …

            HAHAHAHA !

            OK, it’s the Daily Mail

          • Thank you for the link, but… (sigh)

            I guess all the news sources are now infested with their own set of viruses. Sometimes I just sit in awe, watching as all content disappears beneath one pop-up after another. Blocking them in settings is futile.

            / rant

          • For a second, I thought she looked like Barack Obama.

            What is the main point(s) of the false story and who is pushing it?

          • Greg,

            Not so. Humans and bovines share about 80% of their genes, ie the protein-coding sequences.

            At 96% similarity, we’re in human-chimp territory. Common chimp (I assume bonobo as well) and human genomes are strikingly similar, encoding practically identical proteins. DNA sequences that can be directly compared between the two genomes are almost 99 percent identical. When DNA insertions and deletions are taken into account, humans and chimps still share 96 percent sequence identity.

            Far from water buffalo similarity, although all mammals are close.

          • “That is about as “identical” as a human and a water buffalo.”

            Humans and water-buffalo ancestors diverged sometime back in the late Cretaceous, say 25 million generations ago. Mammals have very low mutation rates.

            RNA-virus have very high mutation rates, typically on the order of one mutation per replication, and have generation times measured in hours or days rather than years.

            So, yes 96% suggests that the lineages separated not so very long ago.

        • Greg, you are right on! I have a large family and became very adroit at picking out very clever lies by very clever children. The Chinese lies are nowhere near as sophistcated. The cobbled together ‘events’ and Rube Goldberg science concocted to fit is like a joke with an obvious punchline. Researcher collects batshit identifies cov19 and then forgets about it lying around in a virus research facility….that happens to be next door to a wet market, etc. The fact that a doctor who tried to warn about what really was happening was muzzled and has mysteroously then died of it! I suspect he may have got his intervenously. On top of that, they didn’t allow French and US CDC experts in to investigate and get a legup on what we are dealing with.

        • I had read segmetns of that elsewhere and wondered then how many died in vilages?
          would think somedid but most developed immunity.
          interesting about Hendra in Aus and Nipah in asia appearing almost simultanously..
          and Aus now has Lyssa a rabies like as well from the blasted fruit bats
          a young Aussie lass went to Africa and looked at bats living ON a hospital roof who were loaded with Hendra but the medicos were oblivious to it
          when asked how many patients died of Hendra they appeared to think it of little importance as their death rates from all sorts of diseases with similar effects were high anyway and no testing was available/done.
          the hendra vax forced on show horses and pony clubbers in qld nsw is nasty
          3 mandatroy vaccines regardles of adverse events shown on dose 1 or 2 have killed horses even before dose 3
          curiously Racehorses who travel more and more often are exempted??
          youd have to wonder why…if you didnt know how many horses were killed or ruined for performance after the vax.
          and many eventers are worth near as much as a racehorse is. but they dont matter, nor do little kids best mates it seems

      • The over reaction is simple politics. If any leader did not take extreme measures and people continued to die, they would be blamed, rightfully or wrongfully.

        • So, as people are dying by the hundreds or thousands, you’re just going to happily go to work, ride public transportation, fly, visit restaurants and bars, attend church, sporting events, and concerts? Realistically, under these circumstances, anyone over the age of about 35 is going to hunker down no matter what the government says to do. Survival instinct.

          I’m a conservative, but these “nothing to see here” talking points are complete rubbish and make us look like complete idiots.

          • No, I will happily and proudly go to work when I can’t work from home, wearing the protective gear that will keep the spread down, not touching others, remote meeting, even online machine tests. I will accept much of the rest as necessary for a brief period: canceled trade shows, closed restaurants delivering to homes, no conventions, no theaters….

            But I am terrified by one thing only: idiots who think that shutting down a world economy and making everyone stop living is not going to crash all of us into the most bleak world imaginable. I’m certainly not worried about my own death when compared to what the Elites have in mind for the rest of us.

            Remember that it’s the ones with the best intentions who are most scary.

          • “Realistically, under these circumstances, anyone over the age of about 35 is going to hunker down no matter what the government says to do. Survival instinct.”
            This is my view as well.
            This was no centrally organized shutdown, at the beginning.
            It was a series of self interested decisions by individuals, business leaders, etc.
            The politicians were among the last to react with shut down orders, an early exception being Trump ordering restrictions on travel from China.

        • Yes, it was between a “rock and a hard place, damned if you do, damned if you don’t” type of situation. A couple of brave leaders took riskier positions and it might work out for them. A couple of countries were better prepared.

          Revenue of media companies has reportedly increased, proving again that fear sells. China once again proves how immoral communists are.

      • Just Jenn – April 12, 2020 at 6:45 am

        . So what gives? Why the panic pandemic? The misinformation, the fixing of the results, and the constant fear mongering?

        If you have to ask, ……. then I am absolutely sure that you will not accept “the TRUTH” of the matter even if it is told to you.

        The lies, untruths, half truths, etc. about the Russians aiding Trump to get elected POTUS, … did nothing to prevent him from being elected POTUS, …… and did nothing to aid in the impeachment proceedings of Trump after being elected POTUS.

        And the Democrats are still suffering greatly from their own affliction of “Trump Derangement Syndrome” and with the help of the current “coronavirus pandemic” they have greatly exacerbated their fearmongering and misinformation claims about POTUS Trump in a futile attempt to deny him a 2nd Term as POTUS.

        • I work with quite a few socialist democrat types and some couldn’t even hide their glee that this made Trump look bad.

          Someone said something like, “they would burn down the house to rule over the ashes.” There is truth in that. I just hope that it doesn’t take personal tragedy for a few of these people to wake up. We went on lockdown only about 4 weeks ago. I hope they return with a little more sanity.

      • I can guarantee that people making those decisions have access to information we don’t have. And the information they have tells them that the sickness is much worse than the cure (social distancing).
        Tell me how you would deal with a disease that “could” have an contagion factor (R0) of 5 or 6, and hospitalization factor of 15%, average of 2 weeks, and death factor of 1%?
        And if you say “let it spread and live with the results”, I know you are a fool, who wants what he wants and doesn’t want to think about the ramifications of the results.
        This virus is Novel. I don’t know why everyone conveniently wants to ignore that, or deny that it matters. Your average person does not understand the ramifications of that. I come here to find people with a deeper understanding of cause and effect. There seems to be an unusual amount of low grade evidence processing and conclusion driven analysis, on this subject, that I have not seen here before.

        • I can guarantee that people making those decisions are more worried about being blamed for making informed decisions than for creating a panic based on not enough information.

          • Solutions?
            Or just more castigation of their motives?
            Is it your impression that politicians that will face re-election are more afraid of dead people voting them out of office (the victims of the disease), or of those that lost their businesses and jobs voting them out of office ( the victims of the restrictions )?

          • Oh, well, iffen YOU guarantee it, then who is anyone else to disagree or have a contrary opinion?
            I am right there with Russ on his thought.
            And I would add a certain group of highly vocal and prolific commentators seem to have no concept of what the word “opinion” means, or how it applies to them personally.
            What I can guarantee is, your guarantees are at best an opinion.
            And not necessarily a well informed or carefully considered one.

          • And my guarantee is no longer valid. The back-story I had been referring to is now public. Now we will see how the chattering class will deal with this very ugly reality (same link as posted by BuckeyeBob below on this page) :
            https://www.facebook.com/WayneDupreeShow/videos/565333511002518/?hc_location=ufi

            Frankly I am shocked that this is public. I am sure there will be a concerted effort to remove this from public viewing.
            The Wuhan Plague Virus is a combination of a bat carnivorous and HIV protein gp41. The only place this would have happened is the Wuhan Institute of Virology. This is a synthetic bio weapon, and there are only three reasonable scenarios for its release:
            1) accidental
            2) criminal – single actor, or small group
            3) intentional – an act of war on the global community.

            Regardless of how the virus got out, the CCP developed it. They had responsibility for containment. They had the opportunity to isolate the area in Wuhan and quarantine those exposed. They had the responsibility to shut down air travel. They had the responsibility to inform the WHO that they were dealing with a released bio-weapon. They either are lying about their current infection data, or have a solution that they have not shared with the rest of the world.
            They failed in each of these specified responsibilities.
            They are criminally negligent in the release of this contagion, and have shown a wanton disregard for the safety of the public.

          • Nature Medicine, 09 November 2015:

            A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence

            Vineet D Menachery, Boyd L Yount Jr, Kari Debbink, Sudhakar Agnihothram, Lisa E Gralinski, Jessica A Plante, Rachel L Graham, Trevor Scobey, Xing-Yi Ge, Eric F Donaldson, Scott H Randell, Antonio Lanzavecchia, Wayne A Marasco, Zhengli-Li Shi & Ralph S Baric
            https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.3985

            An international team of scientists published this research: we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone

            Some secret conspiracy by the CCP / CIA / CDC !

            Risky research yes, but bio weapon purpose, no.

          • Russ R. – April 12, 2020 at 9:04 pm

            They are criminally negligent in the release of this contagion, and have shown a wanton disregard for the safety of the public.

            Geeee zuuuu eeeeee, …… Russ R., …… the US Democrat’s blatant refusal to “close” America’s southern border with Mexico and their blatant refusal to arrest, convict and imprison “illegal immigrant” criminals ……… shows a wanton disregard for the safety of the American citizens.

          • I can almost guarantee nobody from the CDC will be personally held-accountable for the economic consequences of their lockdown recommendations.

            Perhaps the CDC swamp will be drained. But I doubt the media will ask questions except gotchas regarding the Trump administration’s response. We have already seen how the constant sniping and attempts to undermine Trump’s support is having some impact. But the media never had a mea culpa over their Russiagate reporting, so don’t hold your breath.

          • AntonyIndia – It strayed from research into bio-weapon, with the spicing of a known pathogen. What is possible naturally is research. Creating a synthetic version specifically to infect human cells, with viral RNA previously unable to make the cross species jump is creating a bio-weapon.

            Cogar – I guess you equate con men with terrorists. Both breaking the law.

        • Exactly what information do they have and why does the public not have the same information? Outside of national security concerns, a republic is run for the people. We (ideally) make policy after informed debate and listen to more than a narrowly-focused group of “expert” bureaucrats.

          Any government employee withholding information from the public regarding this virus and the disease belongs in prison, IMO.

    • “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.” – Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

      “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations

      “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution.” – Christiana Figueres, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary

      “We’ve got to go straight to the heart of capitalism and overthrow it.” George Monbiot April 12, 2019

      • well now peple SEE what hapens when a sudden and prolonged change like no biz making things no flight or travel just like the ext reb and the rest want
        sorta think its going to lose the appeal to the younguns and others too;-)
        silver lining in the cloud

        • Why does eating chocolate slow down reporting? The Brits only consider Easter a chance to go to the beach or do some DIY. Beach is off limits and the DIY shops are shut.

          Neither do I see any Sunday blips in the UK data.

          However, look at what happens in Catholic countries like Spain and Italy.
          Since the confinement came into force, the has been a massive weekly swing in the rate of change of daily totals. ( trough is Mon-Tues ).
          https://climategrog.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/2019-ncov-d-logistic-fit-italy.png

          Some social behaviour patterns we could speculate about there.

          • “Why does eating chocolate slow down reporting?”

            Because the bureaucrats that count the bodies only work nine to four weekdays. It’s the same in Sweden, body counts drop precipitately every sat.-sun. only to bounce back up mon.-tues.

      • What do you read from the 12% flat lining? Deaths are still on an encouraging down turn but case numbers staying level. In an epidemic case numbers should be dropping well before deaths. We should see that %age rise up faster and cases drop first. More garbage data from NHS?

          • That is certainly one possibility. I have numbers indicating this is happening in France, though the down turn is now irrefutable. 8000 peak down to 1800.

            IMO UK data collection and collation is such a mess it’s not worth spending time trying to explain such fluctuations.

            I just wanted to point out the Vuk’s “hospital mortality ” leveling out is not the good news it may appear to be to an unquestioning reader. I wish he would stop calling it that.

        • Maybe a great proportion of the people who are most vulnerable have already caught it and died.

          There’s only so many people over the age of 70 with one or more serious pre-morbidities like hypertension, diabetes, COPD, coronary artery atherosclerosis, etc.

      • The numbers do not include people who die away from hospital. Those who die at home or in nursing homes are not included….that could be as high as 25% extra deaths. Note also that your chance of being treated within an Intensive Care Unit disappears if you are over 70 with multiple co-morbidities.

  2. Report : “Bats live for up to 30 years and don’t seem to suffer much in the way of symptoms from coronaviruses, so bat number RaTG13 may well still be alive.”
    Does that mean these bats have some kind of resistance, maybe a clue how to deal with this?

    Aside, bats have always got a bad rap – from vampires, Dracula, now this. Has it been possibly known for aeons how dangerous they are?

    • People fear bats because they see (use sonar) in the dark and we do not. That gives them magical powers that people have decided is from evil sources.

      The bats develop antibodies, just like us. They become immune to the virus, just like us. In fact that is how this virus was isolated. Not from finding the virus, but by finding the antibodies. The bats with antibodies led the researchers to the caves where the virus was active. They caught enough bats to find some infected with the virus, but not immune to it, yet.
      That is the key to this. These are the first thoughts of Shi Zhengli, the Bat Woman:

      “I wondered if [the municipal health authority] got it wrong,” she says. “I had never expected this kind of thing to happen in Wuhan, in central China.” Her studies had shown that the southern, subtropical areas of Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan have the greatest risk of coronaviruses jumping to humans from animals—particularly bats, a known reservoir for many viruses. If coronaviruses were the culprit, she remembers thinking, “could they have come from our lab?”

      Many times the first answer to a question is the correct one, because you have not given you mind time to think of other possible solutions that are more “palatable” for your conscience. This virus came from one of the two labs in Wuhan. No other scenario makes sense. There is a missing researcher from the Wuhan Institute of Virology that the CCP has expunged from existence. That researcher Haung Yan Ling is most likely patient 0. There are conflicting accounts of what happened. Anyone with real knowledge of this issue that is still alive, knows they are a problem for the CCP.
      It could have been an accident, she could be the patsy in a larger plot. But this virus only was spread in the market. It did NOT originate there.

    • That makes sense bonbon, those that Dracula doesn’t kill, survive with the same ‘power’ as Dracula himself. Maybe that’s how the myth came about? Don’t know where the ‘live forever’ thing came from, although that could be a reference to the virus.

    • You can read more about that here:
      https://harvardtothebighouse.com/2020/03/23/no-monkey-ever-reheated-a-frozen-burrito-what-the-expanse-tells-us-about-the-covid-19-pandemic/

      Basically in 2013 the researchers (Zhengli Shi and Xing-Yi Ge) were trained by Dr. Ralph Baric at UNC, received several million in grants from the NIH to do gain-of-function or dual use research on coronavirus (useful for vaccines). While at UNC, they isolated and enhanced isolate a bat coronavirus from nature that uses the ACE2 receptor. They eventually returned to the Wuhan lab.

      And we know what happened after that. Worth reading that article, very long, detailed. There are a LOT of well known actors involved and a LOT of money was spent researching this type of virus.

      • That Harvard blog is quite biased. I checked one quote about (US) Dr. Baric and the blog was totally off.
        “Harvard to the Big House” motto “where criminology, behavioral economics, and evolutionary anthropology make babies” might apply more to themselves.

  3. “the gene for ACE2 receptors, the lock to which a coronavirus’s spike protein can fit as a key.”

    IMO the severe morbidities and mortalities we’re seeing with this illness are largely due to an ACE/ACE2 imbalance in the lungs that elevates inflammatory factors, and medical treatments that exacerbate that problem leading to ALI and pulmonary microvascular thrombosis.

    ACE and ACE2 act in a counter-regulatory manner: ACE promotes inflammatory response, ACE2 promotes counter-inflammatory response.

    ACE inhibitor (ACEi) and ARB meds inhibit ACE expression, but not ACE2 expression, so ACE2 expression is increased. Thus inflammatory response is lowered in people on these meds.

    ACE2 expression decreases when cells with ACE2 expression are infected with Corona-chan. Counter-inflammatory response is lowered.

    ACE expression increases in hospital patients on ACEi/ARB meds because those treatments are stopped upon hospital admittance (or so I’ve read; see link below). Inflammatory response is elevated.

    Also, ACEi decrease PAI-1 production. PAI-1 inhibits tPA, which breaks down blood clots, preventing thrombosis. So stopping ACEi treatment in hospital patients increases risk of thrombosis.

    And that, apparently, is what k!lls most ICU patients on day 10-14: pulmonary microvascular thrombosis.

    Two obvious, possible treatments: don’t stop ACEi/ARB meds in infected patients, and prescribe an anti-coagulant to all symptomatic patients until the body can eliminate the virus.

    ACEi/ARB treatments aren’t the only thing that elevate ACE2 expression. Basically any insult/injury to the lungs does so, like heavy chronic air pollution and smoking.

    An MD addresses some of this:
    https://twitter.com/KO_Sulli/status/1248397968140464196

    Posted by Marinus in another thread (https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/04/11/of-quinine-and-chloroquine/#comment-2963634)
    https://www.radboudumc.nl/en/nieuws/2020/radboudumc-researchers-publish-new-insights-into-covid-19

    Study referenced in link above
    https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202004.0023/v1

  4. Bats?

    As if!

    Everyone knows that the source of Corona is a tiger from the Bronx zoo.

    I saw it on CNN.

  5. “the gene for ACE2 receptors, the lock to which a coronavirus’s spike protein can fit as a key.”

    First comment went into moderation for some reason. Retry with changes
    —————————————————————————–
    IMO the severe morbidities and mortalities we’re seeing with this illness are largely due to an ACE/ACE2 imbalance in the lungs that elevates inflammatory factors, and medical treatments that exacerbate that problem leading to ALI and pulmonary microvascular thrombosis.

    ACE and ACE2 act in a counter-regulatory manner: ACE promotes inflammatory response, ACE2 promotes counter-inflammatory response.

    ACE inhibitor (ACEi) and ARB meds inhibit ACE expression, but not ACE2 expression, so ACE2 expression is increased. Thus inflammatory response is lowered in people on these meds.

    ACE2 expression decreases when cells with ACE2 expression are infected with Corona-chan. Counter-inflammatory response is lowered.

    ACE expression increases in hospital patients on ACEi/ARB meds because those treatments are stopped upon hospital admittance (or so I’ve read; see link below). Inflammatory response is elevated.

    Also, ACEi decrease PAI-1 production. PAI-1 inhibits tPA, which breaks down blood clots, preventing thrombosis. So stopping ACEi treatment in hospital patients increases risk of thrombosis.

    And that, apparently, is what ki!lls most ICU patients on day 10-14: pulmonary microvascular thrombosis.

    Two obvious, possible treatments: don’t stop ACEi/ARB meds in infected patients, and prescribe an anti-coagulant to all symptomatic patients until the body can eliminate the virus.

    ACEi/ARB treatments aren’t the only thing that elevate ACE2 expression. Basically any insult/injury to the lungs does so, like heavy chronic air pollution and smoking.

    An MD addresses some of this:
    https://twitter.com/KO_Sulli/status/1248397968140464196

    Posted by Marinus in another thread
    https://www.radboudumc.nl/en/nieuws/2020/radboudumc-researchers-publish-new-insights-into-covid-19

    • I don’t agree with author’s statement that hypertensive and diabetic persons have reduced ACE2 expression, unless he means those not treated with ACEi/ARBs, which increase ACE2 expression.

      Angiotensin I is converted to angiotensin II (AngII) by ACE. AngII mediates vasoconstrictive, pro-inflammatory and pro-oxidative effects through agonism at AngII receptor type 1 (AT1) [8]. ACE2 converts AngII to angiotensin 1-7 (Ang1-7), which through binding Mas receptor (MasR) mediates anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and vasodilatory effects [8]. Hence, the ACE2/Ang1-7/MasR axis opposes the actions of the ACE/AngII/AT1 axis.

      COVID-19 appears more severe in patients with hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes [9, 10]. These disorders are associated with decreased baseline levels of ACE2 expression [3]. We postulate here that SARS-CoV-2 binding to ACE2 may attenuate residual ACE2 activity, further skewing the ACE/ACE2 balance to a state of predominant ACE/AngII/AT1 axis signaling, in which AngII causes pulmonary vasoconstriction, and inflammatory and oxidative organ damage, ultimately progressing towards ALI/ARDS [11].

      This theory is supported by a recent publication by Liu et al, demonstrating that serum AngII levels in patients with COVID-19 were significantly higher than in non-infected individuals, and more importantly, were linearly associated with viral load and lung injury [12].

      https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m406/rr-19

      • “On a close reading, the ChemRxiv paper is itself seriously flawed, and provides nothing that I or my colleagues consider meaningful evidence of a mechanism by which SARS-CoV-2 could “attack” hemoglobin. I do plan to work on a second piece further discussing the problems with this paper, but for now, here is a summary of that work: the authors claim to provide evidence that certain viral proteins can bind to isolated porphyrin (without the iron and not bound to any protein). They also argue that the virus may somehow force the heme out of the protein, and subsequently the iron out of the heme, to allow this sort of binding. This is all based on rather rudimentary analysis, relying solely on protein sequence similarity and questionable modeling of molecular docking. Notably, the work was entirely performed in silico (via computer models), which is usually an initial screening step that has to be verified with in vitro (experimental, e.g., in a test tube or petri dish) data. The authors themselves state in their abstract that “[t]his paper is only for academic discussion, the correctness needs to be confirmed by other laboratories”. Aside from this introductory disclaimer, the authors do a poor job of qualifying their results and emphasizing the highly preliminary nature of their work. It is easy to see how a reader without a healthy dose of scientific skepticism could overinterpret the results given the strong language used throughout the manuscript.”

        https://medium.com/@amdahl/covid-19-debunking-the-hemoglobin-story-ce27773d1096

    • icisil

      “Basically any insult/injury to the lungs does so, like heavy chronic air pollution and smoking.”

      Actually, and perhaps a little surprisingly, somebody on WUWT (I think Willis in his article today) had a link to a study that showed current smokers were actually LESS LIKELY to be in the ICU. This was proposed to be due to the observation that smoking causes downregulation of one or other of the ACE enzymes (one of which apparently acts as the door that allows the virus to enter the cell) in the lungs.

      Obviously, smokers suffer from many conditions that might increase their chances of death but it seems in the meta-analysis that it gave them a better chance of staying out of ICU than some of their neighbours.

      I’m sorry I don’t have the link right now : [

  6. Here is the relevant quote, a real wake-up call from 1985 :
    “Society is an integral part of the biosphere, both the biosphere as a whole, and regionally… Rather than viewing a deep fall of the potential relative population-density, as merely a fall in the relative value for the society as such; let us examine this as a fall in the relative level of the biosphere including that society… This must tend to be adjusted, by increasing the role of relatively lower forms of life… [which] ‘consume’ human and other higher-level forms of life as ‘fuel’ for their own proliferation… In that variant, human and animal
    pandemics, and sylvatics, must tend to resurge, and evolve, under certain kinds of ‘shock’ to the biosphere caused by extreme concentration of fall of population-potential.”

    Some might plead potential relative population density is merely academic, as it is not visible to the senses, but the biosphere, if we attempt to go green and lower that measure, will simply consume us when we follow the senses refusing to be human.

    Decades of deliberate take-down, culminating only now in green insanity, have lowered that potential and this SYLVATIC was guaranteed, accurately forecast, along with SARS,MERS,Ebola,…. These are shock waves.

    We are being turned into fuel for viral proliferation.

    I think that is the sentiment lurking thick in the air…

    • It gets even worse.
      Obama et. al. tuned the Biosphere into a fuel source, aka Ethanol!

      Now the true face of COVID appears – WE ARE the fuel for a Biosphere Pandemic, more correctly a SYLVATIC virus.

      It just shows the sheer utter incompetence blaming it on CHINA, while we are being consumed as bio fuel!

      So feed the most vulnerable to a Virus to appease the financial out-sourcing, globalization, that turned us into fuel for a fast-evolving lower life-form? Over 3 decades!

      Sure it smells easy meat.

      Trump an Brexit happened with a realization that something was about to simply eliminate us. Trump and BoJo must fast realize what virus did this – Monetarism after Bretton-Woods, or their winning side will lose!

  7. Bat–animal and bat–human interactions, such as the presence of live bats in wildlife wet markets and restaurants in Southern China, are important for interspecies transmission of [coronaviruses] and may lead to devastating global outbreaks.

    So, while remembering Mencken’s admonition:

    Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong. link

    The solution seems obvious.

    • Yeah mate, but it was a Seafood Market not a “wet market” and it had never sold a single bat, let alone one of the Horseshoe variety! The market is 280 meters from the virology lab* that had been experimenting with bat coronaviruses in conjunction with the mighty US of A for over ten years! The actual breakthrough, the real science, was done in US Universities and labs, funded by grants from the government of the most exceptional United States of America!

      *Now since bulldozed into oblivion.
      *Circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence.
      Nat Med 21, 1508–1513 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.3985
      https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.3985
      ***US funding (USAID-EPT-PREDICT from EcoHealth Alliance)

      • Yeah mate, but it was a Seafood Market not a “wet market”

        References to this as a sea-food market seem to spring from western journalists with no idea what a “wet market” is so they rewrote it as sea-food market. Seas are wet right? That must be it.

        China shut down all wet markets after this happened, I guess they would know what kind of market it is.

  8. Seems like the internet has been scrubbed of all current treatments or possible treatment for the virus. Only current deaths and infected are popular.

  9. Well, the facts are:

    1. The bats are found in caves of Yunnan – 1000 km away from Wuhan

    2. NIH has paid $3.7 Mio in grants for Wuhan Institute of Virology exactly to study the coronaviruses of horseshoe bats.

    3. The Wuhan scientists went the long way to Yunnan, searched the caves for the horseshoe bats and brought a lot of them to the Wuhan Biolab Level 4.

    4. In the year 2015 the Wuhan scientists – together with american colleagues – created a huge number (not just one!) of recombined viruses based on SARS and the bat virus SHC014:

    To answer the question ‘do the SARS-CoV like viruses circulating in bats have the potential to infect humans’, a recombinant virus was created in which the gene encoding the spike glycoprotein of SARS virus was swapped with the gene from a bat virus called SHC014. The SARS-CoV that was used (called SARS-MA15) had been previously passaged from mouse to mouse until it was able to replicate in that host. The use of this mouse-adapted virus allows studies on viral disease and its prevention in a mammalian host.
    https://www.virology.ws/2015/11/19/bat-sars-like-coronavirus-its-not-sars-2-0/

    5. The “patient zero” was a Wuhan scientist: an information that appeared first in Chinese sources, but was eradicated later.

    6. Some tellsay also that the laboratory bats were sold to local restaurants for big money.

    • How about a bit of Robert Service-like poetry on this:

      ‘I’m not as wise as these professor guys, but strictly between us two,
      The wet market that bought those bats, and gave the world a surprise, was at,
      The city that’s known as Wu .. ‘

    • These bats are not “tasty”. They are not the type of bats preferred so why would restaurants want them? After absolutely hitting it out of the park on your fist 5 facts, the sixth one was not where the “big money” is.
      China has had one child policy for forty years. That means two people have a child, that child grows up and marries another one child spouse. They have one child. Eventually the four grandparents who labored their whole life building buildings, roads, bridges, mining coal, iron, working in factories, and doing all the WORK that made China what it is today, are going to be old. And weak. And vulnerable to chronic, expensive disease.
      When your population is 1.3 billion and half of it is too old to work, and a drag on the economy, is there a solution to that? There didn’t use to be one that society would tolerate.

        • Level 4 labs are not like labs doing normal research. They deal with WMD on a daily basis. The students are “the best China can produce”. They are treated like rising stars within the CCP.
          They have a deep knowledge of the seriousness of the viruses they deal with. This is the pinnacle of the biology industry in China. They are knowledgeable on Top Secret information and are monitored regularly to insure the safety of that information.
          The government invests a large sum acquiring the bats, and transporting them to an expensive facility for research. The idea that they would be smuggled out of this facility and sold on the black market is close to the lowest probability of the possible scenarios.
          Another low probability scenario is that a PhD student that had reached this level of sophistication in a Top Secret position would walk away from her position, and no one would know where she was and what she was doing. And who she was doing it with. If she was available the CCP would produce her to dispel the rumors.
          You can learn a lot by evaluating what is possible, and what is extremely unlikely. Especially if someone with opportunity, means, and motive, is trying to convince you that scenario is what happened.

          • You are rather idealistic.
            Cheating you is the chinese nature.
            They even do not mention they cheat you.
            It is ablsolutely common in their culture.

          • They are also shrewd. These bats are Intermediate Horseshoe Bats. They are a type of “microbat”, meaning they are small – Body mass is ~ 14 gms / 0.5 oz.
            They are essentially flying mice. And they need maneuverability to catch insects, so they maintain a small mass. Not really any meat on those bones.
            The tasty ones are fruit bats that weight in at over a kg. They have the ability to grow large because what they eat is not as difficult to catch.

            I am not very idealistic when I am accusing a government of “wanton disregard for the public safety of the people of Earth” at best, and at worst “mass murder of its own citizens and the citizens of every country where people have died”!
            Normally I am more optimistic, but this is where the evidence goes, and it is a path that I wish lead to a better place.

          • All the popular bats for eating are megabats (fruit bats):

            In East Asia, specifically southern China, bats are sometimes eaten and can be found in some markets.[4] Specific bat species eaten in China include the cave nectar bat, Pomona roundleaf bat, Indian flying fox, and Leschenault’s rousette.[14] Additionally, the greater short-nosed fruit bat is hunted for medicine, but not food.[14] Bat meat is not especially popular in China

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bat_as_food

      • Russ,

        I’ve been forced by the best evidence to come around to your view. While anti-Communist, I at first was willing to accept the wet market, bat to pangolin scenario, despite the proximity of two bioweapons labs, one Level 4.

        But as more facts have emerged, I have to admit that the preponderance of evidence favors accidental or even intentional release from the lab.

        A less damning alternative for the Xi regime is transmission from a bat guano-gathering farmer. However the horseshoe bats of Hubei don’t seem to harbor the closest relatives of the CV now killing so many around the world. These bats haven’t been throroughly surveyed, so Whu knows?

        But it’s looking as if the ChiCom regime has more to answer for than covering up the initial spread and shutting up the heroic alarm sounders.

        • The CCP is an international criminal organization.
          The leadership is directly liable for the destruction caused by the release of this deadly virus, and the actions taken to suppress discovery of the release, until it had infected the Chinese public, and the rest of the world.
          They need to be labeled as a rouge government in all international organizations, and treaties.

    • had been previously passaged from mouse to mouse until it was able to replicate in that host.

      So we start to get an idea why species hopping is becoming the norm instead of a very rare occurrence in nature.

  10. When I first saw the part of the title “The bats behind the Covid-19 pandemic” I thought it would be stories about Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, but I was wrong, my bad, and almost certainly demonstrative of a character flaw. I should be sorry…….

    • The bats in your barn have more legal protecion than you do.

      Yeah, I’d say you should be worried.

    • Don’t worry Monbiot has bats in the belfry. Protected or not, I guess they are a permanent feature by now.

    • If they are in your house, then I would be actually worried. To think they are even protected and illegal to take any evasive action against bats in your house during habitation season, and yet they allow these giant windmills to execute them by the millions globally, doesn’t make any sense to me. Same for raptors..if you shoot a raptor you are in big trouble, but if the windmill does it in, they have a permit authorizing them to do so. Just batshit crazy.

      • Earthling2, you are right on! Looks like batshit crazy is the new norm, at least for some people.

    • I have worse.
      Rats are around.
      Monstrous rats.
      They eat poison as if it would be bonbons, and nothing happens!!!

  11. Lets install wind turbines around the openings to bat caves in China to reduce the risk of future pandemics! /s

    • For one thing, they’re bigger, with more meat on the bone, ie megabats rather than microbats.

      Not that long ago, megabats were suspected of being flying primates, based upon similarities in brain morphology. But genetics show they’re bats, not primates.

      Fruit bat cookery in Indonesia:

      • How extraordinary John! I watched the entire video. It’s something I might have tried before I knew they carried so many viruses, except chef was quite heavy handed with the chilli. How would you know if it tasted like chicken. Didn’t ‘look’ particularly appatising.

        • I’ve never eaten a bat, either heavily seasoned or just with salt and pepper, so wouldn’t know. Glad you liked the video. Bats and rats are popular in parts of China and SE Asia, where there are great cuisines. The cooks and consumers must know.

          • John although asian food of just about every nation is readily available in Australia and indeed is delicious, I have not seen the more exotic protein served here. I did see rat’s being cooked with a blowtorch in Vietnam.

            Having said that, I’m sure that some of the native Australian protein would be considered exotic buy many people and what I’ve tried is really good eating. I guess it’s more about what’s safe to eat.

  12. Human Coronavirus NL63 has been in humans for centuries. It originated from bats and palm civets. It also uses ACE2 to infect cells. It is very contagious and one study showed 75 pct of children aged 2.5 to 3.5 had been infected with it. Most humans have been infected with it. Could be very well that SARS-CoV-2 will infect the vast majority of people unless there is vaccine.

    The are over 8 billion people in the world. Due to sheer numbers the chance bat and humans will interact in some way is high. It could be as simple as bat droppings landing on vegetable and a farm worker catching disease from that.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_coronavirus_NL63

  13. A paper for the American Society for Microbiology by Vincent C. C. Cheng and others in 2007 says on P. 683:-

    Coronovituses are well known to undergo genetic recombination which may lead to new genotypes and outbreaks. The presence of a large resevoir of SARS-CoV-like viruses in horseshoe bats, together with the culture of eating exotic animals in southern China, is a time bomb.
    The possibility of the re-emergence of SARS and other novel viruses from animals or laboritories and therefore the need for preparedness should not be ignored.

    So everyone took note and prepared for what is happening today, right?

  14. 12th of April, the date that changed history as no other.
    Yuri Gagarin a Soviet Air Force pilot in Vostok 1 completed the first orbit around the Earth on 12 April 1961.

  15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpQFCcSI0pU

    Came across this on a forum. It’s from someone who lived in China for 10 years and is fluent in Mandarin. He found the publish scientific paper about the discovery of the Horseshoe bat coronavirus and a small village where 6 people were infected.

    About three minutes in goes to the discovery without the wind-up.

  16. Great! Ugggh … as if Tiger King didn’t already reveal the seamy underbelly of “Animal Rescue” operations … now I read that “Pangolin Rescue” operations put humans in contact with virally compromised Pangolins. Thanks for NOTHING … actually worse than nothing … all you Animal “rescuers”. But since that type tend to HATE humans … perhaps the deadly transfer of this killer ChiCom-19 was … intentional?

  17. Lowering the curve, I’ve heard, doesn’t reduce the amount of deaths, just spreads them out over time – – primarily to avoid overloading the health care system & to avoid numbers spiking and scaring the public.

    If true, opening the economy won’t cost additional lives.

  18. BTW … I haven’t yet been tested for the ChiCom-19 virus antibodies … but I told the wife, that she and I SURELY carry the antibodies! How am I so certain? Because she and I eat mushrooms virtually every day. And aren’t most mushrooms grown in caves? Nourished by Bat guano?

  19. There’s no evidence that bats, pangolins, civets or unicorns were sold at the Wuhan Wet Market. The few discussions on the natural origins of SARS-CoV-2 published in the scientific literature are little more than handwaving conjectures and guesses. They also ignore lab techniques that super-charge lethal viruses and convert them into easily transmissible forms.

    SARS-CoV-2 look to be a chimeric, “gain of function” virus created in the lab from a horseshoe bat viral backbone. The SARS CoV is then injected into ferrets again and again to serially infect the animals. Ferrets have bronchial ACE2 receptors closest to humans. Serial infections of animal models clustered together continue until the exact mutation occurs to bind the bat SARS tightly to the ACE2 receptor. With that mutation a lethal virus gains the function of easy and highly efficient transmission. These are all well-known guided and accelerated “natural selection” simulation techniques used in bio-warfare and vaccine labs. This kind of “gain of function” research was barred in the US following Dr Baric’s lab techniques, but prohibitions were lifted in 2017 by the Trump Administration.

  20. If Covid-19 had surfaced back in the early 1900’s, we would not have been able to do anything about it, and, consequently, MILLIONS would have died around the world. At the very least, NOW, we have smarter people running things who recognized what had to be done, and they DID it! Many people may still die, but at least we have some sort of handle on the problem. We are not totally helpless, as in past pandemics. There have been studies on high-populations, where diseases spread rapidly, reducing the population and the diseases eventually taper off. I am NOT advocating for population control, as many liberals are. I’m just saying it’s a natural effect, and without ‘help’ from mankind, it will eventually take care of itself. By intervening, mankind is attempting to reduce the death rate and hope to end it sooner. Let’s hope that ‘WE’ are successful!

  21. And it is that everyone thus far has had the luck, strength, and gall to survive this long!

    You all are the lucky ones.

    You all are so far, the lucky ones. And that is how nature makes it, for we humans are a part of nature and not apart from nature.

  22. A quick update. The only country with quasi reliable data is South Korea. The reason is that it is unlikely there is a large pool of recovered/undetected thanks to their very rapid and very thorough contact tracing screening. Mean incubation 5 days, mean symptom to recovery ~10 days just doesn’t permit lots of ‘missed’ recoveries when contact tracing is less than two weeks.

    To 4/11 (yesterday per Statista), there had been 510479 tested, 14070 no result yet, 485924 negative, 10480 positive and quarantined. Of those, 20% remained asymptomatic after 14 days. So the attack rate with quarantine is 2.2%. It will be higher elsewhere with no contact tracing and only social distancing, but we won’t know until antibody testing is widespread. But Korea suggests herd immunity will take quite a while to develop. Was 2 years for the 1918 flu event.

    Active Korea cases 3026. Previously developed model based on NYC and NOLA, with one ICU mod to account for BoJo (developed using average for MI, NY, NJ) 3026*0.26 ICU*0.9 ventilator*0.5 deaths ~ 354 future deaths on top of 211 already (the initial church cult cluster was almost all under 40 so past deaths low and recoveries 7243 high) is 565/10480 CFR ~ 5.4%. Real bad. Half of SARS, with a much more infective virus.

    So I am less sanguine about about the future course of this pandemic.

    • The S. Korean titre for the was likely higher thus offsetting their ages. So, I’m more optimistic.

    • Just a word on the general idea of immunity to a novel human virus, and herd immunity…
      It seems entirely possible that this virus will now be endemic within humans, even if a vaccine is found and effective antiviral treatments are identified (which seems likely given how quickly one and possibly several treatments with some large degree of efficacy have been found) and approved for widespread usage.
      We really just do not have any experience, AFAIK, of what will become of a new virus that becomes introduced into people and then widely dispersed, during the period of time that we have been able to track such things.
      Just one look at one virus and how it is thought to have spilled over from one species to another in a sequential fashion, and then become endemic in people and has radiated out from what was one virus into many, can give some insight into what could possibly happen (Keeping in mind that the following may be well understood to be highly supported and factual, or may only be speculative in nature and not as well understood as has been asserted).
      First some background info:
      Some models of viral evolution places the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) of all coronaviruses in all species everywhere in the world as recently as only 8000 BCE (Before Common Era, roughly the same as BC, or about 10 thousand years ago…IOW since the start of the current interglacial era), although other models estimate corona viruses have existed and co-evolved for some 55 millions of years or more:
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3676139/

      It is thought that the origin of the human corona virus clade known as OC-43, one of the causes of the common cold, is thought to have spilled over into human from a zoonotic event involving bovine corona virus.
      This same bovine corona virus is thought to have spilled over into horses in or around the year 1790.
      The cross-over event into humans for OC-43 is thought to have occurred in or around the year 1890, and may have been the cause of a pandemic in that year which was assumed to have been a flu pandemic, but the actual infectious organism is in fact now known. Since models of viral evolution places the divergence of OC-43 at that time, some researchers have made the inferential speculation that these events were one and the same.
      Since that time, this OC-43 virus is thought to have diverged, using the same models of viral evolution, in the 1950’s, into the present diverse clade of viruses that cause mild infection (most commonly it is mild) in people and are in constant worldwide circulation.
      Now, not being virologists, many of us may have assumed, that the viruses that cause the common cold have always been a part of the group of viruses that are endemic in people, that a virus group which exists all over the world in so many species as all of the corona viruses have always existed within this species, and so forth. And this may yet prove to be true. But models of viral evolution based on known rates of mutation and divergence tell a different tale.
      In this view, it begins to become clear that as humans have prospered and spread out and multiplied, and taken various animals, domesticated them, and brought them with us as we spread and multiplied, we have caused a spreading and a diversification of viruses to follow right along with us and our human and animal companion groups.

      I would point out though that research into various viruses has led me to wonder just how accurate, well established, and even how well justified models of viral evolution really are
      At this point in time, rabies is endemic in a multitude of wild animals all over the world, including North and South America.
      Viral evolution models suggest that all rabies viruses have a common ancestor as recently as 1500 years ago.
      But rabies as a disease seems to be one of the oldest known infectious diseases, with far older historical documentation than this timeline would seem to imply.
      There are accounts of the known danger of dogs bites and a disease which sounds like rabies from as long ago as 2300 BCE.
      Some studies of rabies in bats have placed a genetic recombination event and cross over to mammals in the family carnivora, perhaps skunks or raccoons, as sometime around 200 years ago.
      Only bats in the new world are known to carry rabies, while more generally, bats and carnivora species harbor reservoirs of the virus.
      Other studies have asserted that all rabies in the Americas is a result of rabies being introduced from Europe around that time, sometime in the late 1700’s. I had thought this was a more or less established fact.
      Genotype 1 has been thought to have evolved in Europe in the 1600’s and spread to the rest of the word from there as a result of human exploration and colonization.
      But other studies have asserted that bats in the Americas can be shown to have existed as long ago as the 13th century, although the range of uncertainty seems to allow that it could have been a few hundred years before or after that.

      ranton/
      One way to interpret all of this uncertainty is that far too much weight has be given to individual studies over the years, and that such information has been incorporated into reference books and texts without proper respect for the uncertain or tentative nature of any particular finding in any area of science.
      I think we have all noticed such a tendency, which seems to me to have become worse in more recent years than was previously the case, for some new study to be accorded the status of “fact”, and said by authors to be “known”.
      I for one have certainly noted such a tendency in the world of so-called climate science, which seem to have all by itself resulted in the abandonment of proper utilization of the scientific method, which dictates that no result is given much weight unless and until it has been shown to be both verifiable and repeatable. Peer review seems to have evolved in the minds of many individuals into some sort of verification of a finding as being of a factual and authoritative nature, when in fact many findings are highly speculative, opinion based, mistaken, or otherwise erroneous. IOW nothing like a fact at all.
      Barely more than an opinion.
      In fact the entire discipline of CAGW seems to require as a matter of course that everyone everywhere swallow entire narratives, and to even question them, let alone actively dispute them, is more than grounds enough to any particular person to be not just discounted and ignored, but ridiculed and marginalized, and excluded from the world of publication.
      It has also led to a watering down of standards when it comes to conferring advanced degrees and positions of responsibility and esteem in academia, which over time has led to a general lessening of standards of scientific rigor across and ever widening array of disciplines.

      * My apologies for straying off the original topic on such a tangent, but so much of what is going on in the world these days seems to overlap with the obsessions of the warmista cult.
      Everything is politicized.
      Research funding has been sucked dry from other areas of endeavor.
      Academics standards have been diluted and lowered.
      We cannot even have a pandemic, or a close look at an issue in virology, without running right into the shadow of warmista jackassery.
      rantoff/

      • And a word was omitted from this sentence”
        “But other studies have asserted that bats in the Americas can be shown to have existed as long ago as the 13th century, although the range of uncertainty seems to allow that it could have been a few hundred years before or after that.”

        I meant to write,
        “But other studies have asserted that *rabies virus in* bats in the Americas can be shown to have existed as long ago as the 13th century, although the range of uncertainty seems to allow that it could have been a few hundred years before or after that.

        Sorry.

  23. The article appears to assert that horseshoe bats are THE source of coronaviruses.
    This is completely false.
    In one survey of one country which included a diverse sampling of bats, many species of bats were found to host a wide diversity of coronaviruses.
    And this was just one random study in one random place that sampled bats at random.
    The researchers basically decided to just go out and find some bats and look for viruses, particularly coronaviruses.
    In fact int seems likely given the overlap in the range of bats and the frequency of zoonotic events, that all bats everywhere harbor coronaviruses.
    Bats in particular seem to be able to exist with many viruses living within them and not causing any particular disease.
    The way they live, in dense colonies, wide fields of daily travel, and with long periods of hibernation, torpor, and sleep (bats are only active at night, which means that many bats must necessarily spend the majority of every 24 hour period in their gathering places, crowded together, during at least part of a year, particularly in higher latitudes, with the exception of bats living right on the equator which presumably means that they might theoretically spend only 12 hours nesting/roosting/hanging around), they spread viruses easily.
    And they have several distinctions with other mammals in their immunology, such as a absent or weak STING response (stimulator of interferon genes), a relative dearth of inflammasomes, etc.

    In short, it is a mistake to suppose that a limited number of bats have corona viruses, or even that there is anything like a comprehensive base of knowledge of what animals have what viruses.
    Again, a single research survey can easily find dozens to hundreds of new virus species in any particular random location one might choose to look.
    Broadly speaking, what we do know about bats or any other animal, and what viruses and other diseases they carry or host, is known by logical inference to be a tiny fraction of what is out there.
    Given that every place anyone looks, new viruses are found, there is not even any way to estimate what proportion remains undiscovered.

      • Our history of being hunter gatherer for 200,000 years suggests that we have a long history of interacting with all living animals on this planet on a intimate basis.
        Bats in remote areas less so, than other animals. They are not easy to trap or catch using primitive methods, and are active at night when we are not.
        So it is not surprising that they would have viruses that are foreign to our immune systems, while nearly all other animals we have a long history of catching and eating.

        • From what I have read from many sources, there is a large amount of effort going into studying bats and the viruses they harbor in recent years, and that this is not necessarily proportional to the number of viruses that might threaten people, or what animals have lots of viruses.
          Although it certainly does seem that we have been treated to numerous events in recent years in which bats have been the probable and proximate host for significant infectious diseases that have emerged into humans.
          And it does also appear to be the case that bats are able to carry around a lot of viruses without being particularly harmed by them, perhaps because of their immune system peculiarities and differences with that carried by many other sorts of mammals, in particular people.

  24. This very interesting article mentions bats that congregate in Texas. I remember being in Austin one summer, in August, when a lot of bats come to congregate underneath the Congress Street bridge downtown. Native Austinites told me that those bats feed primarily on mosquitoes during the course of their visit to Austin. That became apparent to me when, on the particular day in August which was hot and humid, I was walking on a riverwalk along the Colorado River and noticed nary a mosquito in sight. Very untypical, but welcome. Since that time I have acquired a great respect for the Texas bats and hope they continue to gorge on the Texas mosquito population.

    The article also gives new meaning to the term “bat s. . t crazy,” doesn’t it? Lol.

    • A famous spectacle in Austin, when the innumerable bats emerge near sundown.

      Imagine the scourges of mosquito-borne diseases without bats to control the vectors.

      • What we don’ tappear to know is where the virus in bats originated,or was acquired ,was it from their eating habits ?insects?or are they ‘naturally present ‘in bats .As several viral diseases eg dengue , yellow fever, are spread to humans by mosquitos , which spend part of their life cycle in water,
        could they be be the source ?

        • Good question.

          Working out the evolutionary history of viruses is hard, especially for RNA viruses, which mutate and recombine so readily.

          Studying relationships among viruses in different bat species suggests that they’ve been in bats a very long time. Whether bat viruses descend from those infecting their protobat ancestors or not can’t be well established. Some studies find that coronaviruses themselves arose fairly recently (~10,000 years ago). Others that they, like bats, date from the Eocene Epoch.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3676139/

          A Case for the Ancient Origin of Coronaviruses

          Lacking virus fossils, who can say? Molecular clock studies for such rapidly evolving and recombining nucleic acid containing entities necessarily have wide error bars.

  25. I would have been much more surprised had the corona virus family not be greatly represented in certain bat species then the other way around. If the corona viruses were killing the bats, they have less an opportunity to spread, mutate, and make new strains of virus. If they can live pseudo-comfortably in the bat host, then there is a lot of time for them to reproduce into new strains, so you get a lot of strains of corona virus in the host.

    Had the bats not had many strains of corona virus, I would be looking for yet another animal as the true source.

    Bats have a very strong immune system, so if the virus evolves in a bat, it too has to be very strong in that it reproduce quickly and spread quickly – not good when it enters a human host. The best thing we (humans) can do is learn to leave bats the heck alone. If we do not come into contact with them, they cannot directly spread the virus to us – they might still be able to deliver it through a second host but that is much less likely.

    It will be interesting to see if the SARS-CovID-2 virus permanently survives in human hosts. If it does, we are likely to see two things in the future – more strains of corona mutated from the first that cause pandemics and less deadly strains of the virus. A virus’s success after all is measured in reproduction success, not in the deaths it causes. Death is actually not a successful “strategy” for a virus.

  26. Bats in Australia, which are protected, carry a virus similar to rabies. They hang in trees in vast numbers, they can bite if you are unlucky, but mostly urinating and defecating constantly. Don’t walk under a tree full of bats in Australia.

  27. I told a group of international students a Coronavirus Joke. They all got it eventually but the chinese student got it right off the bat

  28. Not really relevant to anything, but: bats can pack extremely tight together on the roost…. think baby rats so close they can entwine their tails.

    Put a really high porch on a house I owned in Houston. Two support columns, 8×8 treated pine faced with Hardie siding, about 18′ tall.

    Six months later, I’m looking out the back door around daybreak and see bats flittering in and ducking into very small openings that were left at the top of each column between the core post and the facing. Over the next 10 days, I did a rough count and concluding there were over 20 bats homesteading one column and almost as many in the other, when you wouldn’t have expected there to be room for even a single bat in either.

    Didn’t gas them, instead looked on the internet and found instructions for building ‘bat excluder’ devices. Simple explanation of that is: they can leave home but they can’t come back. No prodigal sons, in other words.

    Point of this is: whatever one of the little bastards might be sick with, they all are likely to have it. Kind of like high density urban areas, the ones that we’ve been told we’ll happy living in once we’ve moved past the hydrocarbon age.

    • If you lived in Brazil, it would be against the law to block out those bats. They eat mosquitoes, who may carry Malaria.

  29. It was Bats ??? & I silly thought all this time, that it was the Green Monkey ??
    Thanks for correcting me …

  30. It’s a difficult feat for mammals to fly. We mammals have “tidal” lungs where oxygen rich air goes in and oxygen depleted air goes out by the same bronchial route, getting mixed up in the process. By the time inspired air reaches the alveoli where gas exchange occurs, its oxygen concentration is ten times less than that of atmospheric air. A bad design feature.

    How else could a lung be designed? – you might ask. Well, take a look at birds. (And other dinosaurs.) In the avian (bird) lung the air transport is unidirectional, not tidal, with the crucially important consequence that air arrives at the alveoli with the full undiminished atmospheric concentration of oxygen (20% or so).

    OK so how is this achieved? Do they only breathe in all their lives, with their lungs getting bigger and bigger till they die? No. That would be poor design. Instead the bodies of birds and other dinosaurs are permeated with a system of air sacs. They even fill some inner bone cavities, conferring the additional advantage of lightness. In-breathed air goes not to the lungs directly but instead it goes first to all the distributed air sacs. From those air sacs the air (still fully oxygenated) goes into the lungs, and via the lungs out of the body. A round trip in which the flow of air is unidirectional and oxygen reaches the alveoli with undiminished atmospheric concentration of oxygen.

    Therefore the efficiency of the avian lung is ten times higher than that of the tidal mammalian lung (and also the hepatic pump tidal lung of crocodiles). Both Saurischian and Ornithischian dinosaurs also had this avian type lung.

    There are enormous implications of this massively more efficient avian lung. The bird lung can be much smaller and still achieve the needed gas exchange for prolonged energetic flying. The lung does not need to expand and contract nearly as much. You don’t see a bird’s body expanding and contracting with breathing. In fact, it can’t – a bird’s rib cage can and does extend from the thorax all the way to the pelvic region. No need for a six-pack on a seagull. No need for a soft unprotected abdominal region to allow panting. There is only a small posterior membrane at the birds rear end where breathing related expansion and contraction takes place, but it’s small and hard to notice.

    That’s why a bird can take to the air in Scotland and land in Africa. Or remain aerobatically airborne for days on end like swallows or swifts. Mammals are incapable of anything remotely approaching this metabolic feat.

    What has any of this to do with coronavirus? There is the bat connection. Bats are mammals that do successfully fly, although not as far or fast as birds. The majority of a bat’s body is filled by a big pair of tidal lungs that compensate for their inefficiency by just working very hard. Now due to the extreme metabolic-energetic demands of flying with the wrong kind of lung, bats’ general metabolic rate is very high. This high metabolic rate of all a bat’s tissues has an important implication regarding viruses. The faster metabolising bat cells and tissues are able to tolerate a higher viral load than their more sluggish land-bound fellow mammals. This is why bats carry round so many viruses. Viruses like bats as hosts because more of them can cosy up together in the animal and they fly all over the place giving opportunities for travel and socialising. And also if jumping to other species if it’s really their lucky day.

    So it’s the high metabolic rate of bats necessitated by their flying that accounts for their high viral load and their role in communicating viruses.

    The Chixilub meteor has a lot to answer for.

    • Sauropods probably couldn’t have grown so gigantic if their bones didn’t have avian-style air sacs.

      The jury is still out as to whether pterosaurs had more dino-like or croc-like lungs. But the dinosauromorph ancestors of both saurischians and ornithischians appear to have bird-style lungs. As fellow ornithodires, pterosaurs are more closely related to dinosaurs than to crocs, within the archosaur clade. That pterosuars could fly so well suggests that they too might have had birdlike lungs.

      https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.180983

      Vertebral morphometrics and lung structure in non-avian dinosaurs

      “Whether the more extreme partitioning of the respiratory system implied here in basal dinosauriforms represents an ancestral condition for Ornithodira, or maybe even for Archosauria, remains unclear. Pterosaurs, the ornithodiran outgroup to dinosauriforms, have been reconstructed as having an avian-style respiratory system based on the presence of unambiguous PSP and inferred air sacs [59,60]. Their costovertebral morphology has been described as ‘crocodilian-like’, as the parapophysis migrates dorsally to lie on or at the base of the transverse process, and it has been suggested that pterosaurs therefore had more compliant, more homogeneous lungs [61]. However, the parapophysis also migrates dorsally towards the transverse process in many dinosaurian taxa, and our results showed greater similarity between dinosaurs and birds rather than dinosaurs and crocodilians. Further quantitative studies focusing on pterosaurs are clearly needed.”

    • John
      It would make sense that the pterosaurs also had the efficient avian lung.
      If they could find some vertebrae with ribs attached ventrally, the morphology of that connection would help confirm an avian respiratory anatomy.

      • The anatomical evidence is mixed, as per the link.

        But I agree both phylogeny and lifestyle suggest an avian-style repiratory system.

    • “…although not as far or fast as birds.”

      Perhaps not, although I believe there is no general consensus on this.
      Bats are widely recognized as being far more maneuverable than birds, however.

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