A theory I saw about how COVID may have escaped from the Wuhan lab

Don’t worry there @bobot. Once you’ve had your COVID shot and Gates’s chip infiltrates your gizzard you’ll be part of the hivemind. And happily so. Always so, so happy.

[/sarcasm] in case it wasn’t obvious.

You’re here, so that counts. Buzz away!

(Not buzz off.)

I don’t disagree with the first paragraph, but I don’t think that that makes the lab leak hypothesis implausible. Diseases escape from labs from time to time, and there was a lab in the city that studies the kind of disease that first arose there. That’s enough evidence to make the theory “plausible” (not “likely” or “certain”). Absent some kind of evidence that it didn’t escape from the lab, isn’t “plausible” where we should end up?

It seems to me that if we look at the probabilities from a Bayesian perspective we have the following elements. Consider these two elements separately:

(a) It is possible but very unlikely that the Wuhan lab would have had the requisite progenitor strains (and hidden that fact), and that the recombination occured accidentally in cell culture passage in the lab, then infected a lab worker. There are far more possible ways this could have happened in the wild.

(b) The first known cases emerged close to the Wuhan lab, something very unlikely to happen by chance, given that the Wuhan lab is specifically a world leader in this type of virus, and it is not located close to any wild habitat where this might have been particularly likely to occur.

It seems to me that from a Bayesian perspective these two things kind of offset. It’s quite hard to say if one is overwhelmingly more unlikely than the other, and either explanation (lab escape or natural phenomenon) requires one of the two unlikely things to have happened.

Good analysis.

The fact that item a) is much more likely to occur in the wild and item b) totally involves the hand of man implies that item b) will be vastly, vastly more attractive to the CT mindset. That doesn’t make it more likely to be true; just more likely to be believed to be true.

I want to say that I don’t really have a good sense of how “likely” the lab hypothesis is. I just don’t think it’s crazy. I agree that people who are inclined to believe conspiracy theories are more likely to believe it for that reason, not really on its merits.

Coincidences do happen, and the emergence of a wild bat-coronavirus in the wet market of a city where there’s also a lab that studies such viruses might be just a coincidence. But it is not obviously so. Certainly the existence of coincidences doesn’t mean that we should ignore a plausible causal relationship between events.

As far as conspiracy theories go, this one is less on the crazy side. The lab’s location is an extremely suspicious coincidence. The Chinese government’s infamous love of secrecy makes “pretend we had nothing like that in the lab” quite believable.

I’m comfortable with the general consensus that the virus wasn’t engineered. But it does rest on a fact that can be reasonably doubted. The way this virus is effective is not at all along the lines we’ve established as effective in our current virus engineering/building to date. But it’s not utterly unbelievable that an unadvertised research line in a secret skunkworks could have figured it out.

There is more evidence that SARS-CoV-2 originated outside of Wuhan all together than there is evidence that it came from a Wuhan lab.

It is known that there are coronaviruses in nature in the Yunnan province that utilize the same receptor (ACE2) to infect human cells.

There is also evidence that SARS-CoV-2 was already in Italy in Sept. 2019.

The precursor to all modern coronaviruses has been around for 500 years. They are endemic in bats. New zoonotic transmissions to humans typically occur when a vector animal harbors two viral strains at the same time. They easy recombine with each other in the animal to make a new virus that is able to infect humans. As for the SARS coronaviruses, this has happened three times since 2003 (although then SARS-CoV-1 is thought to have been around since the 80’s).

So nature provides these opportunities all the time with all kinds of viruses. There is no need to speculate, with no evidence other than imagination, that these are coming from a lab. It only distracts from learning how these viruses jump animals to humans.

Well that’s a rather unpersuasive point. Yes, it’s totally believable that this occurred naturally. I think that’s most likely. But we really can’t trust we know what the Wuhan lab was working on.

And I don’t think concern for species jumping viruses will go down considerably over this CT. IMHO.

Does the lab in question study live, frequently infected with coronaviruses, bats?

We’ll never know. Any evidence that the spread of the virus originated with lab has been scrubbed by China. There is no strong evidence that a lab was involved, but unless we find conclusive evidence of another source we’ll never be sure.

That passage has more than 3 words FYI. Here are some of them.

According to this, it seems like they capture bats, draw the blood, collect other samples, and release them. Remember, transmission to humans appears to be mainly from an intermediary species infected by two different coronaviruses. According to what I’ve read, people don’t get SARS coronaviruses directly from bats.

Well, yes. I read those too. But I didn’t see the connection between ‘not derived from anything previously used’ and ‘thus necessarily was not derived’. I mean, it’s proof of something, yes. But seems a long, long way from proof of the broader question.

Creating viruses is complicated. It is not insignificant that this virus’ key attack strategy is not derived from previous research on building them.

Yeah, I’m not even sure it should be considered a “conspiracy” theory. The only conspiracy required is that the Chinese government lie about and cover up facts that are embarrassing to them. But they do that already. They lied about known human-human transmission for weeks!

And lied to their own people about it. And THEN threw the Wuhan officials under the bus and blamed them.

I think there is good evidence that this virus originated outside of Wuhan. Wuhan only became the center of the pandemic because one more people carried it to the Wuhan animal market creating a superspreader event in that city.

Here’s an article of the possibility that it originated in Yunnan. That means there was likely a SARS-like coronavirus in some intermediary host in those caves that transmitted it to the miners. Other people may have been occasionally infected in the subsequent years but it wasn’t until it mutated for human-to-human transmission and moved into a superspreader event, that it was detected. Remember, there was some evidence that people in Italy had it way back in Sept 2019. Frontiers | Lethal Pneumonia Cases in Mojiang Miners (2012) and the Mineshaft Could Provide Important Clues to the Origin of SARS-CoV-2 | Public Health

And that’s how we know you don’t have any background in molecular biology.

I had to look this up, because I was curious. Wuhan has a population of 11 million people in it. That is huge, it’s not like some small town that has a wet market, a pathogen lab, and not much else. Just like any major capitol city, it is going to have lots of academic, government, and private research facilities. To me, that makes the coincidence pretty meaningless.

Even if the SARS-CoV-2 originated someplace outside the city, probably at a boundary where humans interact with nature, it still makes sense that it’s first noticed in Wuhan. That is a major city, with lots of hosts, and the medical infrastructure to identify and react to a new disease.

Oh? What’s the closest bat coronavirus research lab to your town?