The hubris and the nexus at the heart of the pandemic

It might be a simple relatively uneventful post at Zerohedge. It is about one ‘factchecker’ organisation now quietly deleting its old factcheck on the origins of the Sars-Cov2 virus. The old factcheck flatly rejected any claim that the virus was man-made. Now, ‘Politifact’ is no longer sure.

What is more interesting are the links that open up from this post. First, you must read this post by Zerohedge in February 2020. Then, it opens doors to several other interesting and useful posts. First, there is a paper by two China-based (yes!) scientists with this remarkable conclusion:

In summary, somebody was entangled with the evolution of 2019-nCoV coronavirus. In addition to origins of natural recombination and intermediate host, the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.

The authors are Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao. They were funded by the China’s National Natural Science Foundation! The paper has been scrubbed off the internet. But, Zerohedge has the full text in the post.

Way back on the 31st January 2020, there was a detailed blog post that lists the reasons as to why the virus was most likely man-made/lab-made. The author of this post acknowledges insights from this peer-reviewed paper. 

What is interesting is that these are from the very early days of the pandemic. So, for more than fifteen to sixteen months, there has been some very successful stonewalling.

Recently, Nicholas Wade’s post at Medium.Com, later reproduced by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has stirred the hornet’s nest again. It is a very well written piece. In its wake, some scientists have penned an open letter asking for honest investigations into the origins of Sars-CoV2.

Dr. Kristian Andersson picked holes in it. Ms. Alina Chan then picked an important hole or two in Dr. Kristian Andersson’s arguments. Easy to see them in Dr. Alina Chan’s twitter handle. She put together a credible set of arguments for the lab-leak theory last year.  You can see that in this very engagingly written article in the Boston Review of Books in September 2020. Of course, now we notice that a few others had done so way back in Jan.-Feb. 2020.

Attorney Michael Senger believes that the lab-leak hypothesis weakens the case he has been building for China’s lockdown trap hypothesis that he has been building. Easy to locate his twitter handle and read his arguments. He argued that the lockdowns were weaponised by China to cripple economies and societies. For a while, it did look like a persuasive hypothesis: i.e., that the virus was relatively non-lethal except for those who are quite old, had co-morbidities or were obese or both and resided in certain latitudes. Many called it a PCR Test Pandemic. I felt that those arguments were compelling.

If the virus was indeed lethal and had been ‘cooked up’ in the lab with Gain-of-Function features, then lockdowns are indeed necessary. So, he fears that it weakens the case that China weaponised lockdowns and popularised it cleverly.

But, with lethal second waves and myriad complications that occur to some of the infected patients, the lab-leak or man-made virus hypotheses have become very compelling to the point of becoming the only viable hypothesis. Clearly, Sars-Cov2 infection is not a ‘garden variety’ flu for many millions. China’s stalling and obstruction of investigations, the deletion and alteration of records, etc., are themselves are very clear signs of a troubled or bad conscience. Otherwise, the investigations would have been heartily welcomed as an opportunity to slap the accusers hard and set the record straight.

But, coming back to Attorney Michael Senger I really cannot understand why both hypotheses cannot co-exist. After all, a lethal virus and a crippling lockdown constitute a very potent double whammy.

Key questions:

(1) What did China do in the nine days in Jan. 2020 when it learnt of the human transmission of the virus but didn’t alert the world?

(2) Why did China ban travel from Wuhan to the rest of China but permit travel to the RoW? Countries banning or attempting to restrict travel from China were roundly criticised with the help of friendly media

(3) How is it possible that China has not had any further waves at all? By any chance, did China have an antidote ready? If so, was the leak not an accident but a deliberate bio weapon release?

Also, Sir Richard Dearlove’s interview (only five minutes) says a lot, really:

https://mobile.twitter.com/LBC/status/1388809199786893312.

Listen to what he says about academics and scientists in the West, carefully.

This article in NY Post is useful for the number of links it gives. One link that has shown up twice in the article above is this. Unfortunately, given the American involvement in this endeavour, I doubt if we would find the origin or ‘Patient Zero’ of the infection.  In fact, the  United States is as much interested in covering it up as much as China is, if not more. That is why previous warnings sent by the US Embassy officials way back in 2018 to the US State Department were not acted upon, perhaps? See Josh Rogin’s article in Politico.

Rogin writes that the U.S. Congress is finally investigating the origin of the virus. But, we have no idea of the kind of research that was being pursued in the Wuhan lab or labs. Whether it is was scientists’ hubris or arrogance or curiosity or all three that they were simply playing with ‘gain-of-function’ research on viruses or was there something more dangerous going on (bioweapon) with or without American participation. 

Either possibility should make many million families and sufferers around the world both angry and frustrated. If scientists were ostensibly engaging in research to prevent the world from experiencing some dangerous virus with extraordinary properties, is it not criminal that they ignored the very real risk that they will be creating that very lethal virus themselves and  unleashing it on the world in the process?

In fact, natural selection is very unlikely to create a virus with the properties that the scientists were conjuring up in their laboratories, all in the name of helping the humanity. What a terrible farce?!

Simply and horribly, this is likely to become another Chernobyl or Fukushima – a catastrophic illustration of mankind’s hubris and intransigence clashing with Nature, as fate again reaps a once unimaginably tragic toll….

Daszak’s statement in The Lancet is either incompetence, or is meant to be a smokescreen for the wanton hubris and greed that have fueled the dual-use or “gain-of-function” research detailed below: As one possible related project which may have overlapped with this one, coronaviruses have been seen as a viable vector for an HIV vaccine for years – a project with hundreds of millions of dollars dangling over it….

An immediate international moratorium on all dual-use gain-of-function research must be instated and all existing experimentation must be autoclaved, only greed and hubris have ever been served by attempting this type of genetic manipulation. Humanity does not need a vaccine against HIV derived from a coronavirus, nor do we need to be tinkering with genetic material that holds the potential to wipe a significant percentage of us off the face of the Earth.

Failure to embrace such a ban may effectively become a death sentence for our species, assuming we aren’t already on our last mile. [Link]

The article from which the above quote was taken links to a prescient article written in March 2019 in vox.com:

All over the world, bio research labs handle deadly pathogens, some with the potential to cause a pandemic. Sometimes, researchers make pathogens even deadlier in the course of their research (as Science Magazine reported last month, the US government just approved two such experiments after years of keeping them on hold)….

The emphasised portion is mine. There was no link there. What were the two experiments that the US Government approved? Where? It was not that difficult to find. I found the article in ‘Science’ published in February 2019 that referred to two experiments funding for which were approved. They were not to be done in China. The title of the article is, ‘Controversial experiments that could make bird flu more risky poised to resume’ and the article can be found here.

…. The cost-benefit analysis for pathogens which might kill the people exposed or a handful of others is vastly different from the cost-benefit analysis for pathogens which could cause a global pandemic — but our current procedures don’t really account for that. As a result, we’re running unacceptable risks with millions of lives….

…. Severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, had an outbreak in 2003. Since then it hasn’t reoccurred in the wild, but there have been six separate incidents of it escaping the lab: one in Singapore, one in Taiwan, and four times at one lab in Beijing.

Professor Mark Lipsitch must have had his moment of epiphany when the Sars-Cov2 virus broke out:

“If an enhanced novel strain of flu escaped from a laboratory and then went on to cause a pandemic, then causing millions of deaths is a serious risk,” Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard, told me.

Professor Mark Lipsitch comes across as someone who believes that the risk-return trade-off in such experiments is not worth it:

After a deliberative process that cost $1 million for [a consultant’s] external study and consumed countless weeks and months of time for many scientists, we are now being asked to trust a completely opaque process where the outcome is to permit the continuation of dangerous experiments,“ says Harvard University epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch. [Link]

Well, if one read the article in vox.com, it appears that we should be grateful to Gods that more pandemics had not erupted or that, given the risks and the safety standards that these laboratories were running, it was an accident waiting to happen.

In 2014, an article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists appeared with the title, ‘Threatened pandemics and laboratory escapes: Self-fulfilling prophecies’. It has several important points to make:

From 1938 to 1972, the VEE vaccine caused most of the very outbreaks that it was called upon to prevent, a clear self-fulfilling prophecy….

…  In 1995 a major VEE animal and human outbreak struck Venezuela and Colombia. There were at least 10,000 human VEE cases with 11 deaths in Venezuela and an estimated 75,000 human cases in Colombia, with 3,000 neurological complications and 300 deaths. VEE virus was isolated from 10 stillborn or miscarried human fetuses. 

Genomic analysis identified the 1995 virus as identical to a 1963 isolate, with no indication it had been circulating for 28 years. It was another case of frozen evolution, but unlike the vaccine-related VEE outbreaks, the 1963 virus had never been used in a vaccine….

…. It is hardly reassuring that, despite stepwise technical improvements in containment facilities and increased policy demands for rigorous biosecurity procedures in the handling of dangerous pathogens, potentially high consequence breaches of biocontainment occur nearly daily: In 2010, 244 unintended releases of bioweapon candidate “select agents” were reported. …

…. Looking at the problem pragmatically, the question is not if such escapes will result in a major civilian outbreak, but rather what the pathogen will be and how such an escape may be contained, if indeed it can be contained at all….

…. The advisability of performing such experiments at all—particularly in laboratories placed at universities in heavily populated urban areas, where potentially exposed laboratory personnel are in daily contact with a multitude of susceptible and unaware citizens—is clearly in question.

If such manipulations should be allowed at all, it would seem prudent to conduct them in isolated laboratories where personnel are sequestered from the general public and must undergo a period of exit quarantine before re-entering civilian life. The historical record tells us it is not a matter of if but when ignoring such measures will cost health and even lives. Perhaps many lives. [Link]

On the current pandemic, what makes it interesting or troubling is the timing of its occurrence. It broke out ten months before an American Presidential election where the incumbent, very opposed to China’s trade and economic policies and confronting them, was poised to win. Then, in May 2020, Chinese military engaged in a border clash with the Indian army that claimed lives on both sides. Then, India managed to contain the first wave but has been badly affected by the second wave of infections and deaths that have compressed the experience of the first wave of infections of six months into six weeks.

So, the questions that some ask are:

(a) Was the Sars-Cov2 virus an accidental lab leak or a deliberate leak?

(b) Was it a bioweapon research?

If the answer to question (a) is that it was a deliberate leak of a bioweapon, of course, then the consequences are explosive. But, that would be impossible to establish. 

In fact, it is the timing of the pandemic that raises such interesting questions. It might well be an accident that was waiting to happen given that it has been widely flagged for years. Note the highlighted text above:

In 2010, 244 unintended releases of bioweapon candidate “select agents” were reported.

It could be yet another instance of human arrogance, hubris and indifference to the consequences on others. So typical of humans, esp. so-called experts and scientists. What matters to them is their ego and their achievements and not the consequences on the world.

Specifically with respect to the current pandemic, to conclude, unless whistleblowers come up from America or China or both or unless Daszak, Fauci and Dr. Ralph Baric are questioned/interrogated persistently, we are unlikely to find the truth about the virus whose infectious properties have defied any logical explanation based on biology and natural process. It has been and continues to be a colossal crime against humanity. The reason that we have not yet gotten to the bottom of this is not that China is covering up (which it has) but America is very much a partner-in-crime.

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