Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 01, 2020

Novel Coronavirus Defies Conspiracy Theories As Data Shows Its Coming Decline

There are first signs that the novel Cornoavirus  (nCoV19) epidemic will come to an end within a month or so. An analysis from the Chinese media house Caixin provides the newest numbers (machine translated):

[O]n January 31, 2020, 2102 new cases of new coronavirus were diagnosed nationwide, 46 deaths were added, and 5019 suspected cases were added which increased by 6.1%, 7.0%, and 4.3% respectively compared with the previous day, and increased by 21.8%, 29.0%, and 23.3% respectively compared with the average of the previous three days.

There are some 12.000 recognized infected persons in total. More than 99.9% of all nCoV19 cases are in China. The growth per day is still strong but not exponential. With people now traveling less from, to and within China the epidemic will likely stay contained.

We had documented in an earlier post that neither the infectiousness nor the mortality of the novel Cornoavirus are especially severe. This New York Times graphic also explains that.


More from Caixin (machine translated):

As of January 31, the cumulative number of severe cases accounted for 15.8% of the confirmed cases, and the mortality rate (accumulated death cases accounted for the cumulative confirmed cases) has remained at the level of 2.2% for 3 consecutive days.

Both numbers are relatively low and here are the first signs that the epidemic is coming to a halt:

The current situation of the new coronavirus epidemic situation is still serious, the epidemic situation is still spreading and spreading throughout the country, and the number of newly diagnosed cases has increased. At the same time, the growth rate of confirmed cases nationwide has also shown signs of decline. The number of newly cured cases on the 30th and 31st days exceeded the number of new deaths.

The declining growth rate proves that the quite extreme quarantine measure China has taken are very effective.

New test kits for the novel coronavirus have been developed and were approved by the Chinese regulator NMPA (vid). These new kits allow new patients to be tested in just 30 minutes. People who have a normal flu can now be early on distinguished from those who have caught the virus.

The graph of new suspected cases per day (yellow) is flattening while the number of newly confirmed cases per day (red) is now linear and starts to show a slight decrease.

 Source: Dxybigger

Unless something unforeseen happens we are now coming near to the top of the epidemic. The number of new infections per day may soon start to decrease.

All this is good news. The Global Times is already pushing for new economic measures to increase growth when the epidemic is over.

But there is also bad news in that some people use the epidemic to profit from it.

There have been a number of conspiracy stories which make totally unfounded claims that the virus is a bio weapon or that it escaped from a high security bio lab in Wuhan or was intentionally created or released by Chinese researchers. To use such fantasies to then dox a researcher is irresponsible.

The novel coronavirus is NOT a bioweapon. No military will develop a weapon that kills only 2% of those affected by it. A real bio weapon would also spread much faster.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory are first class medical research institutions with many global cooperation agreements. The laboratory was built after China had been hit by the SARS epidemic. It is the only one in China that has a Bio Safety Level of 4:

BSL-4 labs are rare. However some do exist in a small number of places in the US and around the world. As the highest level of biological safety, a BSL-4 lab consists of work with highly dangerous and exotic microbes. Infections caused by these types of microbes are frequently fatal, and come without treatment or vaccines. Two examples of such microbes include Ebola and Marburg viruses.

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

  • Personnel are required to change clothing before entering, shower upon exiting
  • Decontamination of all materials before exiting
  • Personnel must wear appropriate personal protective equipment from prior BSL levels, as well as a full body, air-supplied, positive pressure suit
  • A Class III biological safety cabinet

A BSL-4 laboratory is extremely isolated—often located in a separate building or in an isolated and restricted zone of the building. The laboratory also features a dedicated supply and exhaust air, as well as vacuum lines and decontamination systems.

The U.S. has at least 13 such labs. Some of those are used by the military and may be used for bio weapon research. But most are medical research facilities.

The laboratory in Wuhan is specialized on viruses that are typical for the larger area. Some of its leaders are researching why bats are not affected by the viruses that they carry and which can kill people. SARS is known to have emerged from bats. Knowing how a bat's protection mechanism works could help to create better vaccines.

To jump from those facts to unfounded speculations and to accusing the researchers of having developed the nCoV19 or of spreading it is truly nefarious.

Aside from conspiracy nutters there is one serious suggestion that the novel coronavirus may indeed be something special.

A number of Indian researchers have self-published a paper that claims that the 'building plan' of the novel coronavirus, its RNA, contains elements of the HIV-1 Aids virus RNA. The paper was NOT peer reviewed and two researchers in microbiology I have contacted have, like me, doubts about its conclusions.

The paper confirms that the novel coronavirus is related to the virus that caused the SARS epidemic:

Our phylogentic tree of full-length coronaviruses suggests that 2019-nCoV is closely related to SARS CoV [Fig 1]. In addition, other recent studies have linked the 2019-nCoV to SARS CoV.

The researchers then sequenced 6 strings which form a part of the RNA of the novel corona virus. They find that there are four short insertions that distinguish it from the SARS virus:

We then translated the aligned genome and found that these inserts are present in all Wuhan 2019-nCoV viruses except the 2019-nCoV virus of Bat as a host [Fig.S4]. Intrigued by the 4 highly conserved inserts unique to 2019-nCoV we wanted to understand their origin. For this purpose, we used the 2019-nCoV local alignment with each insert as query against all virus genomes and considered hits with 100% sequence coverage. Surprisingly, each of the four inserts aligned with short segments of the Human immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) proteins.

The inserts in the 1387 units long string which also occur in HIV-1 have a length of 6 to 8. They are in my estimate too few and too short to make a statistically viable case. But the researchers suggest, without providing a statistical model or calculations, that these are not only significant but probably artificial:

Although, the 4 inserts represent discontiguous short stretches of amino acids in spike glycoprotein of 2019-nCoV, the fact that all three of them share amino acid identity or similarity with HIV-1 gp120 and HIV-1 Gag (among all annotated virus proteins) suggests that this is not a random fortuitous finding. In other words, one may sporadically expect a fortuitous match for a stretch of 6-12 contiguous amino acid residues in an unrelated protein. However, it is unlikely that all 4 inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike glycoprotein fortuitously match with 2 key structural proteins of an unrelated virus (HIV-1).

The math that would support the assertion that it is unlikely that short sequences in parts of nConV19 and HIV-1 amino acid strings are identical is not in the paper. I doubt that the researchers made the necessary calculations.

The researchers then show that the insertions may help to form a part of the binding structure that allows the virus to attach to a host cell. They conclude:

This uncanny similarity of novel inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag is unlikely to be fortuitous.


Taken together, our findings suggest unconventional evolution of 2019-nCoV that warrants further investigation.

What those researchers found is interesting. It suggests that something modified the SARS virus RNA by adding four small elements from HIV-1 to create nCoV19. If this is proven correct it might help to find a vaccine against nCoV19.

But the conclusions are in my view too strong and not substantiated enough to make them fully acceptable. While the similarities may not be 'fortuitous' they may make evolutionary sense and may have evolved through some natural process which is not 'unconventional'. If a host (a bat or human) carries the HIV-1 virus and the SARS virus might the replications of those viruses mix?

The presented paper nowhere tests or discusses that hypothesis.

The authors may well deserve more research money for the 'warranted further investigations' but that should be decided only after other experts have discussed their proposition.

Posted by b on February 1, 2020 at 20:08 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Hey guys! There's new info on this virus.
They've put AIDS genes in it
Coronavirus Contains "HIV Insertions", Stoking Fears Over Artificially Created Bioweapon

UPDATE: Diez En Punto stated that China discovered the Elisa test works to quick test for Coronavirus. You know - the quick test for AIDS that is done in 15 minutes and costs pennies to make. GEE, that's interesting. They did not mention aids.

New incidents are starting to level out and probably won't exceed 30,000 total.

It is now proven Wuhan virus is man made because it has 4 AIDS virus genes inserted into it


It became low lethality when it mutated. But with aids genes in it, well . . . . you don't want to catch it EVER, even if you survive the initial illness. Despite it becoming less lethal after mutation, "They" are still pushing the huge outbreak mantra - Lets all hope the mutation that made it less lethal is not programmed into it, only to have it "wake up" at a certain set number of re-generations only to give huge populations airborne AIDS, the fact they are not giving up on this being a major killer is starting to get spooky.

Posted by: John Doe | Feb 1 2020 20:16 utc | 1

Have full confidence that Chinese leadership decisive moves and the nature of new virus will put it to halt in weeks.
Meantime it is getting pretty clear what is the extent and are the ridiculous short term interests of our western Media.
The name for it is terrorism.
Media terrorism.
We should have been warned of it before.

Posted by: augusto | Feb 1 2020 20:34 utc | 2

Thanks b for this Update to calm hyperventilating

John Doe @ 1

Rubbish. You are citing Zerohedge who doxxed the Researcher. ZH has become immersed in click bait articles.
Twitter suspended Zerohedge after the complaint from Buzzfeed. see b's link. ZH may face legal action.

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 1 2020 20:37 utc | 3

JD #1

Duh, that is precisely the case and one of the reports b is refering too. It was rushed just as you were to get your post in key position. More data and verification needed here.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 1 2020 20:37 utc | 4

In the meantime the Australian govt's proposed evacuation and quarantine measures for Australian expats in Wuhan, which include flying them to the Christmas Island detention centre (formerly used for housing boatpeople refugees) at a cost of $1,000 each(?) which the evacuees will have to pay themselves, leaving them there in hot humid conditions for an indefinite period of time, and then dumping them in Perth from which they have to make their own way back to their home cities, reads like a Kafkaesque nightmare - with perhaps the observation that Franz Kafka would never have dreamt of anything as cruel as this.

The Aussies in Wuhan would be better off staying put if they don't want to be fleeced and more importantly want to keep their families together. Their children are likely to be Chinese-Australian and while they may have Australian citizenship, the Chinese parents may not have dual citizenship. Evacuation is likely to involve some kind of forced separation of families that could have long-term consequences including family break-up and divorce.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 1 2020 20:47 utc | 5

From what I understand of this "epidemic", is that this is one giant nothing-burger. If this isn't a bioweapon then why the extreme measures of quarantine? Sure it's not very effective but it's clear the Chinese leadership considers this outbreak the result of a bioweapon.

Or was this used to distract the masses from something else?

Posted by: Ian2 | Feb 1 2020 20:48 utc | 6

Coronavirus Special - Episode #19 both hosts are Westerners who have lived in China and married Chinese, according to them everyone should be extremely skeptical regarding Chinese media claims as there are no media that are really independent of the government.

Posted by: TJ | Feb 1 2020 20:49 utc | 7

It’s vastly more likely there’s foul play behind the sensationalism around this virus than the virus itself.

Posted by: Cesare | Feb 1 2020 21:00 utc | 8

From the PNAC manifesto----"...advanced forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool. "

Posted by: Robert Browning | Feb 1 2020 21:01 utc | 9

Not with you on this, simply because we do not have clear access to reliable information and data on circumstance in China.

Therefore it is premature to suggest anything, beyond that the virus is not contained.

ZH states it did not dox but used publicly available information.

Posted by: ~~~ | Feb 1 2020 21:05 utc | 10

First, Table 1 does not line up with the boxes in Fig. 2. Check it out.

Now the math:

There are 20 naturally-occurring amino acids. The probability of a specific 7 aa sequence is therefore the reciprocal of

20 to the power of 1/320 million. And that is just one of the four inserts. But the above assumes equal probablity occurrence of all 7 aa sequences. Biology is biased towards functional solutions. How often does this sequence appear in naturet?

Type 'GTNGTKR'; into this link:

It searches a nonredundant database containing essentially all reported protein sequences. There are of billions of amino acids of biological sequence in the database.

Look at your result: There are 64 100% hits in the DB, to this sequence, fom wuhan virus plus other proteins also from all kinds of organisms. Search the top 64 by 'virus' HIV does not appear, but "uncultured marine virus" does appear. The words "HIV" and "human don't appear in the top 64.

The probabiity this is an over-representd sequence is something like 64 / expected # of hits in database.

Expected # of hits = size of database / 320 million.

But the bigger picture is that viruses mutate rapidly. You can't do much without seeing a multiple alignment of many wuhan virus isolates including the one from patient zero or as close to that as possible. Then ascertain the root sequences for the inserts and use those as a starting point to compare to the tree of all HIVs and SIVs.

Then do a deeper stat analysis than I did above. And do this for all 4 inserts and multiply the probabilities together.

- but thats the rushed version

- Shyaku

Posted by: Shyaku | Feb 1 2020 21:12 utc | 11

"Reciprocal 20 to the power of 1/320 million" should be "reciprocal of 20 to the power of 7 = 1/320 million."

That's what happens when you try to rush science on a mobile device while sitting on the toilet.

Posted by: Shyaku | Feb 1 2020 21:15 utc | 12

Maybe the conspiracy theory about China creating the Corona virus is wrong but....

I don't find this unsurprising at all but see it as the thrashing around of a dying immoral empire desperate to damage competitors at any cost

Posted by: Ike | Feb 1 2020 21:16 utc | 13

Using the latest data from the Chinese CDC (Feb 1) 40% of confirmed or suspected cases are already outside Hubei province (ie Wuhan) and growing. But 96% of the deaths are in Hubei/Wuhan. The death rate outside Hubei province is ~0.1%.

That could imply two different things :

1) The virus is spreading but it didn't get time to kill people outside Hubei (the virus has been spreading since November) as from infection to death it may take 2 or even 3 weeks.
2) The virus is less letal than we are seeing from the confirmed numbers and Hubei, the real number of infected in Hubei/Wuhan is an order of magnitude what has been able to be tested and confirmed until now.

I hope it's 2) and the measures of containment pursued by the Chinese government can reduce the impact of the virus.

Hubei vs Rest of China

Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 1 2020 21:24 utc | 14

@ !0

ZH states it did not dox but used publicly available information.

Sure, that will be their defence except; they posted the Researcher's photo, name and coordinates and asked if this is the guy responsible, then suggested someone may want to pay him a visit.

Unlikely ZH has deep pockets as does the lab or the government of China ?

They are overdosing on coronaV for clicks. A different editorial output since the change of ownership.

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 1 2020 21:24 utc | 15

@Ian2 #6
If you look at the infection graph up to 1/25 - it isn't clear at all that the spread isn't going to go exponential.
Why not institute the province wide travel ban to be safe?
Note the province wide travel bans were instituted around 1/24 and 1/25.

Posted by: c1ue | Feb 1 2020 21:28 utc | 16

@6 Ian2 "If this isn't a bioweapon then why the extreme measures of quarantine?" To ensure that this outbreak peters out into one giant nothing-burger?

Or would you consider that to be too obvious a case of cause-and-effect?

"Sure it's not very effective but".... if this outbreak does indeed peter out then the conclusion will be that this quarantine has been very effective in turning this into one giant nothing-burger.


…."it's clear the Chinese leadership considers this outbreak the result of a bioweapon" No. That is an unwarranted leap of illogic. What is clear is that the Chinese leadership decided that extreme quarantine was required if this outbreak is to peter out into one giant nothing-burger.

Which they did, and it has.

Or, in short: you credit the Chinese leadership nothing, yet marvel about how this outbreak has petered out into a "nothing-burger".

How odd. The outbreak just.... stopped. Of its own accord. Apparently.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Feb 1 2020 21:32 utc | 17

In the past most people that died, died from infections.
I think that's true.

And it stays true until the several antibiotic agents...sulfas and the moulds and so on...for awhile.

The niche created in the hosts by the aba, and technically-driven behaviors, permitted the host to be infected by viruses more than before.

Now, a dynamic equilibrium is developing and returning to a similar balance between viruses and bacteria...

These tend to become less virulent with time.

We take the same precautions our grandfathers took.

We stay away. We wash our hands a lot. We wear gloves. We don't touch our eyes. We wear glasses. Soap and hot water are probably the best public health devices. Keeping out of crowds is good too. And so is keeping your pants on. Oh yeah, we never worry about getting sick.

Posted by: Walter | Feb 1 2020 21:38 utc | 18

TJ @7 those two youtubers are well known for their anti-Chinese propaganda:

Posted by: PaulZed | Feb 1 2020 21:46 utc | 19

@19 PaulZed

Do you have a an argument that is not ad hominem?

Posted by: TJ | Feb 1 2020 21:51 utc | 20 now you're believing in chinese party official numbers and ? If their disinfo was correct, why did the US close down entry ? Me thinks you'll be eating chinese crow soon. As for zerohedge, they were twitbanned because they doxxed the chinese researcher, not because they posted disinfo.
...might be related to this ...

Posted by: paul | Feb 1 2020 22:02 utc | 21

I posted the statement below elsewhere. My guess is that the Wuhan Cov is certainly not designed as a weapon, but was created for research purposes, and probably can cause AIDS. Just my guess, of course --

It really begins to look to me like some seriously mad scientists at the Wuhan lab in China cooked up very novel virus that kills 4% and gives the survivors AIDS. And unlike HIV, it spreads through the air like the flu. And then these stupid mad scientists somehow let it escape from their super-secure level P4 facility. This is not even a usable weapon. Presumably, with the awesome power of modern bio-engineering, it was only a matter of time before some mentally abnormal scientists managed to accomplish all this stupidity.

One thing that must happen right this minute is that all commercial air transportation all over the world must be brought to a complete halt.

Hope I'm very wrong.

Posted by: blues | Feb 1 2020 22:06 utc | 22

Pepe Escobar: China’s virus response has been ‘breathtaking’
Chinese President Xi Jinping is leading a scientific ‘People’s War’ against the coronavirus

"Ghebreyesus (WHO) for his part could not but praise Beijing for its extremely swift, coordinated response strategy – which includes fast identification of the genome sequence. Chinese scientists have already handed over to Russian counterparts the virus genome, with snap tests able to identify it in a human body within two hours. A Russia-China vaccine is under development.

"Crucially, the government directed everyone to install a “Wuhan Neighbors” applet downloaded from WeChat. That determines “our home’s quarantine address through satellite positioning, and then lock on our affiliated community organization and volunteers. Thenceforth, our social activities and information announcements would be connected to the system.”

Theoretically, this means that “anyone who develops a fever will report their condition through the network as soon as possible. The system will immediately provide an online diagnosis, and locate and register your quarantine address. If you need to see a doctor, your community will arrange a car to send you to the hospital through volunteers. At the same time, the system will track your progress: hospitalization, treatment at home, discharge, death, etc.”

So here we have millions of Chinese citizens totally mobilized in what’s routinely described as a “people’s war” using “high technology to fight against illness.” Millions are also drawing their own conclusions when comparing it with the use of app software to fight against the police in Hong Kong.


The biogenetic puzzle

Apart from crisis management, the speed of the Chinese scientific response has been breathtaking – and obviously not fully appreciated in an environment of Total Information War. Compare the Chinese performance with the American CDC, arguably the top infectious disease research agency in the world, with an $11 billion annual budget and 11,000 employees.

During the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014 – considered a maximum urgency, and facing a virus with a 90% fatality rate – the CDC took no less than two months from getting the first patient sample to identifying the complete genomic sequence. The Chinese did it in a few days.

During the swine flu in the US in 2009 – 55 million infected Americans, 11,000 killed – the CDC took over a month and a half to come up with identification kits.

The Chinese took only one week from the first patient sample to complete, vital identification and sequencing of coronavirus. Right away, they went for publication and deposit in the genomics library for immediate access by the whole planet. Based on this sequence, Chinese biotech companies produced validated essays within a week – also a first.

And we’re not even talking about the now notorious building of a brand new state of the art hospital in Wuhan in record time just to treat victims of coronavirus. No victims will pay for their treatment. Additionally, Healthy China 2030, the reform of the health/development system, will be boosted.

Posted by: daffyDuct | Feb 1 2020 22:20 utc | 23

Whether this is a bioweapon or just a sample accidentally released from the lab in Wuhan is impossible to say. But what's clear to anyone reading the news is that things aren't normal as the state wants us to believe. With an infection capable 14 day incubation period, every discovered case will be a potential epicenter.

Posted by: paul | Feb 1 2020 22:21 utc | 24

For those that may have missed it,

"Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the Chinese coronavirus — which has killed 171 in China and infected more than 8,100 people — could “help” to bring jobs to the United States because companies will be moving operations away from impacted areas.

During an appearance Thursday morning on Fox Business, Ross said that he didn’t “want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease,” and expressed sympathy for the victims. But he said the pneumonia-like virus would be a consideration for American businesses that are scrambling to determine how the outbreak will affect their supply chains. He pointed to the 2003 SARS epidemic, the “African swine virus” and now coronavirus as “another risk factor that people need to take into account.”

Secretary Wilbur Ross says coronavirus will be good for American jobs: "I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America."

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 30, 2020
“I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America, some to [the] U.S., probably some to Mexico as well,” Ross said. He then said Apple was “talking about figuring out how to replace some of the Chinese production.” Apple had plans to assemble some phones and computers outside China before the coronavirus outbreak.

“I think there’s a confluence of factors that will make it very, very likely more reshoring to the U.S. and some reshoring to Mexico,” Ross said.

The White House has been pressuring companies in China to move operations to the United States. President Trump recently signed a partial trade deal with China meant to create new incentives for U.S. companies.

Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said that American companies would have more reason to be concerned about gun violence or measles outbreaks stateside “in terms of actual risk to their health than coronavirus.”

“You have somebody of that stature who makes an irresponsible comment, speaking on matters in which he has no expertise, and there’s no scientific or historical evidence to what he’s saying,” Benjamin said of Ross."

Posted by: daffyDuct | Feb 1 2020 22:31 utc | 25

Thanks, Mr. B. Excellent work, as always. I am very glad that my assumptions were wrong. I was fully expecting a full-Skripal moment or full-Assad moment, later this week, where some group of "independent" WHO/CDC types would be trotted out to say it's "highly likely" that China's illegal virus weapon experiments got out of the Wuhan lab, as the supply chains go pop and the PRC's 2020 GDP takes a dip towards recession. I'm also glad the PRC went the full court press on the virus and full transparency. I think they deserve a lot of credit.

Posted by: casey | Feb 1 2020 22:36 utc | 26

Like I said earlier the mortality rate was vastly overstated because it did not include those cases which were mild and were written off as a typical cold in a season when people get colds. Now that more people are being tested, more people are diagnosed but aren't very sick. But the hype has proven useful to technocrats, demonstrating their god given right to enforce draconian quarantines and travel restrictions over something as mundane as a cold virus. Perhaps it will linger on long enough that they can mandate everyone be vaccinated with an untested and this unsafe vaccine.

Interesting report right here.

If I understand it correctly (bit of a cold so a bit foggy) this virus may target Asians mostly (like SARS). They say Asians have more lung cells of a type AT2 that expresses an enzyme ACE2, which provides a receptor that allows the virus to infect the cell. Once the infection takes hold it down-regulates ACE2 expression. Paradoxically ACE2 helps reduce the severity of symptoms. Once it is down regulated symptoms might become more severe.

This may explain a 2 step approach we see. Initially no symptoms or more likely no noticeable symptoms. Then after ACE2 is down regulated more severe symptoms , at least in some people. So not a long incubation period, it just seems that way.

With flu it comes on fast but after symptoms are gone you are still infectious for a time even though you look healthy. This is true with some other infectious diseases so it is not unusual that healthy looking people can spread virus

This is still a cold virus as I said before. Its really not anymore serious than influenza or a nasty cold, at least not that the numbers show. More details on the ages and comorbidity of victims, as well as ethnicity could shed more light on matters but keeping people in the dark helps transmit fear which seems to be the main objective.

So let it run its course, humans will develop herd immunity. It will either mutate itself out of existence or mutate enough to become endemic with most humans having partial immunity which minimizes symptoms. The war between viruses and humans has been a constant war for millions of years with our collective immune systems upgrading to meet each new threat. There are always casualties though, mostly the elderly or sick.

Posted by: Pft | Feb 1 2020 22:41 utc | 27

I've been following coverage of this extraordinary situation for the better part of the day, focusing on valuable information and this post is the best researched and most significant input I have found.

Mention of those who spread conspiracy theories for profit is a measure of the value of this source of information.

In my view, that is what Alt News sites should do even though the efforts of people like B won't receive deserved attention by National / International media. It took a lot of work to bring these things to you and I. I will send him some money, everyone needs it. What say you?

Giving in to my own weaknesses I have to chortle heartily that the Dark Bulgarian Prince @ ZH has been outed for the cad he really is. I've been doing the Snoopy Dance since I read the news twitter banned the sob permanently. I hope they stick to their guns on that.

Please indulge me for quoting a line from a Spider Man movie.

"With great power comes great responsibility".

Great power is granted to each and every American in their Constitution. The right to Free Speech. A right and a great power that should not be abused.

Posted by: Bubbles | Feb 1 2020 22:49 utc | 28

I agree with b's assessment here and earlier that this outbreak is relatively serious, but also mild and now, it seems, contained. What needs to be explained is the reaction internationally. While hysteria is to some extent expected since the media need something to be apopleptic over, I find the response by governments interesting. Here in Australia all flights from China have been banned. This is astonishing: 25% of Australia's tourist dollar comes from massive tours out of the PRC. All our major universities depend on Chinese students paying high fees ever since major public funding cuts over the last 20 years, and the university year is 3 weeks off commencing; now is when all those kids would typically start coming back. China is our major trading partner. With the bushfires having already smashed our economy, this may well push Australia into recession.

But it's shutting the stable door. Plenty of people from Wuhan have already travelled here and back. There's little point taking these kind of measures. So why do it? Public pressure? I doubt it. There's seems to be a protocol activated in relation to China that will create pressure in tandem with the US. I wonder whether the real weaponization of the CV is in the moral justification it's offering for underlying foreign policy aims in relation to China.

Posted by: Patroklos | Feb 1 2020 22:51 utc | 29

"Machine translated" is Dickensian. Remember, first and last,rhetoric only is real. The rest is rumor and newsprint and that's rhetoric, too.

Posted by: Lawrence Magnuson | Feb 1 2020 22:58 utc | 30

Yeah, Right | Feb 1 2020 21:32 utc | 17:

Anyone that implements this kind of quarantine measures can stop anything such as the common flu in it's tracks. All it takes is political will and resources.

I wouldn't be so casual in dismissing the bio-terrorism angle. I know you're well aware of the geopolitical situation we're all in. Robert Browning @ 9 posted something that Thom Hartmann wrote back in 2003. I have no doubts on the depths of depravity that some people would go to in achieving their goals which blues@23 mentioned. And daffyDuct@28 post reminded me of Patrick Clawson's suggestion. The argument of the low morality rate shouldn't be dismissed as the opposite would not achieve plausible deniability.

AFAIK, perpetrators of bio-attacks are difficult to prove and we may never know the whole truth.

Posted by: Ian2 | Feb 1 2020 23:01 utc | 31

b is way off the mark on this one, unfortunately.

The data - in the form of a published Chinese scientific paper January 29th - shows that the infectivity (the R0) is much higher than the Spanish flu at 4.08. The case fatality rate is 6.5% which puts it almost on a level with Sars. You can decrease the R0 by way of drastic measures such as making people stay at home and isolating cities.

The West is not doing that, nor is it likely to do so.

And just as infectivity can be reduced, fatality can be increased. A dozen cases in a country and patients get huge medical attention. However, thousands, tens of thousands and even the best of medical systems will begin to fail. There are not all that many ICU beds in western europe or North America.

Posted by: Tsar Nicholas | Feb 1 2020 23:01 utc | 32

Estimates of economic impact for chinese growth?

Posted by: Passer by | Feb 1 2020 23:01 utc | 33

The Canadian media, of course, is using the Coronavirus outbreak to fuel its propaganda onslaught against everything and anything China and Chinese. This has been ongoing since the Canadian government arrested and detained Meng Wangzhou of Huawei on behalf of the Trump administration.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 1 2020 23:02 utc | 34

Viruses reproduce by inserting their own RNA into cells and overwriting the instructions of the hosts DND, forcing the host cell to produce more copies of the virus instead of the cell's normal functions. If the host cell is already infected with another virus it's possible for the viruses to exchange information (or even take some genetic information from the host cell). If that information is useful to the virus (i.e. makes it more infectious) than that virial strain will become more dominant.

About the possibility of it mixing with HIV, I'm not a virologist but as I understood the Coronavirus is a respiratory infection while HIV is a immune system infection, so they wouldn't target the same cells in the host organism system. In a big enough population I'm sure random chance would eventually result in some mixing, but this coronavirus supposedly jumped from Bats to people only a month ago, which seems unusually fast.

Note that I agree with b in that the media is blowing this coronavirus all out of proportions to the public information. However, this makes me want to know if there is any non-public information that the media and the governments are sitting on or if this is just another example of never letting a crisis go to waste and they are blowing this thing up to promote Anti-China sentiment.

Posted by: Kadath | Feb 1 2020 23:07 utc | 35

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 1 2020 23:02 utc | 38

Post Media? It's owned by American Hedgefunder types last I knew. When someone buys into a huge money losing media organization that has next to zero chance to be profitable for multi millions of dollars, they do it to spread propaganda and influence thinking. In that case the thinking of Canadian version of Britain's footballers. Not the brightest element, but definitely loud and proud.

It' all about creating division btw, like balkanizing a region so it's easier to plunder.

Posted by: Bubbles | Feb 1 2020 23:12 utc | 36

Is the following analysis incorrect in its conclusion that the coronovirus did NOT come from the seafood market?
"How the virus entered humans from bats is unknown. At the onset of the outbreak in Wuhan, it was suggested that transmission occurred at the Huanan Fish Market, because the initial infected individuals all had been in the market, which sells exotic meats as well as fish. However an epidemiological analysis of the first 41 hospital admitted cases indicates otherwise. Specifically, the first case, which occurred on 1 December 2019, had no contact with the Huanan Fish Market. Furthermore, none of the other 40 patients had contact with that first patient, and 13 had no contact with the Huanan Fish Market. There are two implications of these observations. First, the Huanan Fish Market was likely not the origin of the outbreak. Where the virus entered humans is currently unknown. It is possible that the initial infections occurred in a different market, or even outside of the city."
If the above is correct, the next most likely suspect is the BSL-4 lab. Maybe that's a genuine research lab, maybe it's a bioweapons lab...either way they presumably have virus samples, and the bat virus research angle is promising, regardless of one's ultimate intent. Some of those virus samples are more dangerous, some less so. A BSL-4 is highly secure. Viruses are very, very small. No doubt every conceivable reassurance has been given by everyone associated with that lab that no virus could ever escape. The same was told me regarding a state of the art pig breeding facility - bacteria, much larger than viruses, could never get in and harm the pigs. They all died. There will never be a facility 100% secure from a virus entering or leaving. That is just too much to ask.
I would very much like to see more regarding the research from India as I don't begin to possess the skills needed to analyze it. I will endeavor to get in touch with them doesn't seem anyone has tried to reach them for more information.
I hope like hell b is entirely correct on this matter, as he usually is. I must confess I have a bad feeling about it.

Posted by: Bruce | Feb 1 2020 23:13 utc | 37

IN this day and age, if you don't take conspiracy theories seriously, you are the "nutter".

That said, conspiracy theories that blame China seem disqualified by what sounds like a blatant propaganda intent. What is more likely - if a bioweapon is involved - is that it would be from the US or a US ally and it would be intended not to kill everyone in China, but to be part of "maximum pressure". Obviously it isn't necessarily the case that every bioweapon is intended to bring about genocide. It's not hard to imagine that a bioweapon could be used as another way to put pressure on a government the Hegemon would like to bring to heel or destroy.

Of course, this virus could just be from bats. If so it's smart of China to be doing research on how bats function as disease carriers.

Posted by: paul | Feb 1 2020 23:19 utc | 38

"...Let's not forget that the post 9/11 anthrax "attacks" used a strain directly from a US gov't lab... so the US has a history of lying about such things..."A P@29
That is putting it mildly-the US has been using bio-weapons against the Chinese people since the earliest days of the People's Republic.

Joseph Needham ".. was asked to analyse some cattle-cakes that had been scattered by American aircraft in the south of China at the end of World War II, and found they were impregnated with anthrax. During the Korean War further accusations were made that the Americans had used biological warfare. Zhou Enlai coordinated an international campaign to enlist Needham for a study commission, tacitly offering access to materials and contacts in China needed for his then early research. Needham agreed to be an inspector in North Korea and his report supported the allegations..."
And, of course Needham, a scholar and scientist of the first rank, was correct.
Not that this stopped his being blacklisted and blackguarded by the "west" -which is to say by the criminals involved- including his biographer Simon Winchester and wikipedia's unfailingly vigilant Secret Police editorial apparatus.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 1 2020 23:22 utc | 39

B, you should read a just published

Posted by: fairleft | Feb 1 2020 23:26 utc | 40

B, you should read a just published article (see url below), which estimates 75,815 have been infected in the Wuhan area. People and the government are doing their best, but the virus seems to spread with great ease. The next two weeks seem critical, it's too early to be overly optimistic.

"In our baseline scenario, we estimated that the basic reproductive number for 2019-nCoV was 2·68 (95% CrI 2·47–2·86) and that 75,815 individuals (95% CrI 37 304–130 330) have been infected in Wuhan as of Jan 25, 2020. The epidemic doubling time was 6·4 days (95% CrI 5·8–7·1). We estimated that in the baseline scenario, Chongqing, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen had imported 461 (95% CrI 227–805), 113 (57–193), 98 (49–168), 111 (56–191), and 80 (40–139) infections from Wuhan, respectively. If the transmissibility of 2019-nCoV were similar everywhere domestically and over time, we inferred that epidemics are already growing exponentially in multiple major cities of China with a lag time behind the Wuhan outbreak of about 1–2 weeks."

Posted by: fairleft | Feb 1 2020 23:33 utc | 41

B linked to this;

"A Pro-Trump Blog Doxed A Chinese Scientist It Falsely Accused Of Creating The Coronavirus As A Bioweapon"

Seriously, what's wrong with those people? What's wrong with America and Americans that such garbage is so common and titillates so many even across 'class' lines?

Is the media failing America? Is it the Government? Is it both? What about that Citizen's United US so Called Supreme Court decision that legalized a new era of the Robber Barons of old?

Bernie Sanders says that has to change. Just saying.

Also saying I'm super happy the Dark Bulgarian Prince of trump Porn has been banned by Twitter. What makes me laugh most is the possibility the Dark Prince of Doom Porn, fear mongering and Gobbellian Propaganda may have to face the fact he needs Twitter more than Twitter needs him and his far right cult followers.

Posted by: Bubbles | Feb 1 2020 23:35 utc | 42

The real question is will China finally stop buying Iranian oil?

Posted by: Jezabeel | Feb 1 2020 23:39 utc | 43

Congratulations, b, seems like it's the first time you get to agree with your cherished NYT!


"The novel coronavirus is NOT a bioweapon. No military will develop a weapon that kills only 2% of those affected by it. A real bio weapon would also spread much faster."

That's clearly wishful thinking on your part. Just as there are chemical substances that were developed which don't kill or permanently maim an adversary, but just incapacitate them temporarily (think of tear gas), a B-weapon that doesn't kill but instead disrupts a whole city of 8-10 million people for weeks and months on end sounds very desirable. Not so much in terms of military warfare, but all the more regarding economic warfare. It sounds perfect to tackle an otherwise unaccessable giant like China.


I'm sure this is purely coincidence, but life has a strange habit of grouping events in a funny way. My oh my.

1. 3 months ago, a rather large delegation of the US military visited the city of... Wuhan. There, they took part in the 2019 Military World Games. This US delegation was 3 times the usual size they sent to previous games.

2. 2019 also saw a convention called "Event 201"". If I may cite:

"The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hosted Event 201, a high-level pandemic exercise on October 18, 2019, in New York, NY. The exercise illustrated areas where public/private partnerships will be necessary during the response to a severe pandemic in order to diminish large-scale economic and societal consequences."

You may wonder what disease the "high-level pandemic exercise" was tied to, if any in particular. It was... Corona. Apparently, the virus nobody had ever heard of was much on the authorities' minds.

Strange, funny.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Feb 1 2020 23:44 utc | 44

Tsar Nicholas at 36 may be referring to the Lancet paper. His analysis seems to be correct. The infectiousness of the virus is scary, and people throughout China seem to get that. Many or even most people are just staying home, being hermits, going out only to the grocery store.

"Underscoring the apparent ease with which the illness may be spreading, a recent statement by the government of Xinyu, a city in Jiangxi province – which is adjacent to Hubei – said 17 new cases had been confirmed in the city, and that 15 of the afflicted patients were infected by a single person. The statement has continued to attract attention since it was published on Thursday."

Posted by: fairleft | Feb 1 2020 23:46 utc | 45

"what happened to this website? Folks are all up in arms at zerohedge for doing a good job."

Posted by: AuGold | Feb 1 2020 23:38 utc | 48

" Zero Hedge is essentially Alex Jones for crazies who can read."

Posted by: Bubbles | Feb 1 2020 23:49 utc | 46

China lost a quarter of its total pig population last year to African Swine virus. We have the 'coronavirus', and I just read a report that there has been an outbreak of bird flu (H5N1) requiring the culling of 20,000 chickens. It seems that China needs to have a hard look at their animal husbandry practices, and probably needs to close the markets for wild animals permanently. New strains of influenza keep coming from China, because of the practice of keeping pigs and ducks together (mutations). It's not an accident that these breakouts keep originating in China.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Feb 1 2020 23:52 utc | 47

i have a question. when was the last time the news on the other side of the world covered 1 death from a virus? i don't know a whole lot about the science behind this thing, but i do know a lot how about how news is made and distributed.

Posted by: volmarz | Feb 1 2020 23:58 utc | 48

The Mexican beer industry is not taking this as lightly as b. I think I am on their side.

Mexican beer maker rebrands in order to avoid association with the coronavirus.

(it's a joke - The Postillion is the German equivalent of The Onion) :-D

Posted by: Mister Wiggles | Feb 2 2020 0:16 utc | 49

Once this is over, health authorities should really explain things in a clear way, otherwise people will grumble more and more with every new crisis, until they're fed up and stop complying.
Current extreme measures aren't really put into place to fight against this specific epidemics, because indeed a 3% death rate won't end any society. They're taken because it's tricky in the very first weeks to guess if we're facing a Big Bad that can wipe out a third of a country, or even mankind, or if it's your average SARS that can be put down in a few months. And in such cases, better safe than sorry.
We're not in the 14th century anymore, which means that current high levels of international travels make sure that, by the time one country is facing a new deadly epidemics, odds are that it will have already spread across several other countries. So, basically, either we manage to quarantine the disease early on, when we don't know how bad it is, or we risk having a global pandemics that won't be stopped and that can kill a good deal of the world population. The latter is probably why we haven't yet have any major use of bioweapon: current US, Russia or China know they can't expect to infect each other and stay safe, unlike what might have happened during the early Cold War, or unlike what might happen to a quite closed country like North Korea.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Feb 2 2020 0:18 utc | 50

Now the rush of opinions from opinionaters has subsided, I again commend B for the most informative read on this subject I've found today

Naturally it's understood that substantial input isn't always appreciated by those who aren't endowed with critical thinking skills nor inclined to make best efforts to acquire such abilities.

When certain "Pro-Trump Blog Dox" people for no valid reason, why the trump cult are the first to take up torches and pitchforks. And otherwise 'armed theyselves'.

What a Dark Comedy a desperate America has become.

Posted by: Bubbles | Feb 2 2020 0:23 utc | 51

: bevin | Feb 1 2020 23:22 utc | 44 check see


Posted by: Walter | Feb 2 2020 0:25 utc | 52

So Event 201 in October sponsored by Bill Gates simulating a global coronavirus pandemic, , Netflix release of Pandemic in January, starring Bill Gates predicting a coronavirus epidemic (a production already in the making long before the first virus infection), ground zero in Wuhan which hosts 2 BSL-4 labs working with coronaviruses, China using tech to enforce quarantines and mandatory mask wearing, vaccines widely hailed as the solution to our problems and vaccination may well become a necessary condition for international travel, a first step toward universal mandatory vaccinations for everyone (actually second step as children and military are used as guinea pigs for the first step).

Then there is reports of Harvard and Canadian scientists being investigated/charged due to secret links with China and sending or trying to send pathogens/cells to Beijing/Wuhan . Perhaps unrelated to coronavirus , but this cant be ruled out.

In July 2019 two researchers with ties to China were removed from the NML in Winnipeg by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for a possible “policy breach.” Dr Xiangguo Qiu, who helped develop a treatment for the Ebola virus, her husband Keding Cheng, a biologist who has published papers on coronavirus strains such as SARS-CoV, and Chinese students working under them had their security access revoked for Canada’s only level-4 lab. One month after Qiu, Cheng and the students were escorted off premises, CBC reported that live Ebola and Nipah viruses had been shipped to Beijing in March 2019 for research. Yet Beijing has no BSL-4 labs so these were probably diverted to Wuhan. As for what viruses were sent, a declaration is just that, impossible to prove what viruses were actually sent.

Dr. Charles Lieber, the chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard was arrested. Helied about his contact with the Chinese program known as the Thousand Talents Plan, which the U.S. has previously flagged as a serious intelligence concern. He also is accused of lying about about a lucrative contract he signed with China's Wuhan University of Technology. The arrangement between Lieber and the Chinese institution spanned "significant" periods of time between at least 2012 and 2017, according to the affidavit. It says the deal called for Lieber to be paid up to $50,000 a month as a Strategic Scientist, in addition to $150,000 per year "for living and personal expenses. Lieber was also awarded more than $1.5 million by WUT and the Chinese government to establish a research lab and conduct research at WUT.

Lieber was also the principal investigator on at least six U.S. Defense Department research grants. He was the principal investigator on more than $10 million in grants funded by the National Institutes of Health (an organization currently working on the coronavirus vaccine)

In addition to Lieber’s arrest, the justice department also released the names of two other researchers, both Chinese nationals, who had been charged on Tuesday in connection with aiding China. Yanqing Ye was charged with acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy. The statement alleges that Ye “lied about her ongoing military service at the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), a top military academy directed by the CCP .
Zaosong Zheng was arrested and charged with stealing 21 vials of cells from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and attempting to smuggle them out of the United States.
What these cells were, infected or otherwise, is unknown.

Posted by: Pft | Feb 2 2020 0:39 utc | 53

"they actually were on to a worthy lead in terms of questioning "

Posted by: augold | Feb 2 2020 0:11 utc | 57

The last time the Dark Bulgarian Prince was onto a worthy lead was when he questioned why Holder let all the Wall St. mobsters off scot free after they crashed the US based financial system and wrecked countries like Greece.

Posted by: Bubbles | Feb 2 2020 0:41 utc | 54

shyaku @ 10, 11

Thank you so much for crunching the numbers, and introducing the mainstream (if not the original) gene sequence search tool, blast. (Next, someone will claim that blast has been hacked to produce your result. :eyeroll:

It is sad to watch massively innumerate people fall for "its an HIV sequence", when we are talking random letters of a 20 letter alphabet. People don't even get the Birthday Problem.

It is pure scaremongering/propaganda to claim that seven amino acids can be definitely identified as coming from spliced in HIV DNA.

If there is one thing this entire nothing-burger has demonstrated, its that the public is by and large numerically and scientifically illiterate and can be bamboozled by anyone with a typewriter and a vivid imagination.

Posted by: john brewster | Feb 2 2020 0:48 utc | 55

@Shyaku #11, #12: I apologize for being pedantic, but 20^7 is 1.28 billion, not 320 million.

Posted by: S | Feb 2 2020 1:07 utc | 56

I've posted this before at the end of a very long thread, but I think it's important enough to make the point again. According to the US Center for Disease Control during the 2019-2020 influenza season - to date - in murka, 15,000,000 people have experienced the influenza infection; 140,000 of these have been hospitalized and 8,200 have died. I don't do links so you will need to research this your own selves. Anecdotally - a fair number of my friends/acquaintances have been clobbered by this flu and spent up to a week in bed. That's not the point. The point is there have been no calls for quarantine; no cancelled flights; no travel advisories... perhaps if there had been, some of those 8,200 people would not have died. A little bit of balanced reporting from the main stream would be nice - and thank goodness we have b.

PS to john brewster : well said. Especially the final paragraph.

Posted by: Miss Lacy | Feb 2 2020 1:15 utc | 57

@ seedeevee 51

your lack of comprehension is exposed.

That was the complaint. ZH inferred the researcher was responsible and by reference disclosed to joe public who would not have known of this BSL4 website and of this researcher's coordinates. Not only listed his coordinates but suggested he be paid a visit.

Should the family who lost loved ones to this virus take up ZH's suggestion; pay the researcher a visit?

In some jurisdictions, under criminal law, that suggestion registers as aiding to do harm.

ZH reached out to Dorsey at Twitter. No response. It may be some time before their account is reinstated.

And No. I am not sporting as do commenters at ZH.

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 2 2020 1:19 utc | 58

Tsar Nicholas claim of a 6.5 percent fatality rate is surely grossly exaggerated, when one takes into account the undoubtedly large number of unreported cases.

Posted by: lysias | Feb 2 2020 1:19 utc | 59

It is absolutely irresponsible, as B put it, to publicize the identity of anyone, official or no official, inviting press hounding or assault, on baseless speculation alone, when the scale of that publicity is global and the stakes are nothing more than a deadly disease. Those engaging this behaviour can't control the consequences of their initiative.

I don't care if the condemnation for the above behaviour came from Twitter, Facebook, the White House, or the Vatican. I will condemn it likewise.

Keywords here are: speculation, libel, irresponsibility.

If there was a functioning justice system the author of such writings would loose his journalist license, ie. lose access to a platform where his practice can endanger public safety.

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Feb 2 2020 1:24 utc | 60

Sorry b. Your now suspiciously confident assertion that the nCov is not an engineered artifact, essentially on the basis of it not neing effective and based on your skepticism of the math, is not convincing.

Your skepticism of the Indian scientists work, the patents on Cov held by DARPA, the suspicious proximity of the Wuhan biolab and other facts seems remarkably premature.

Did men in dark suits show up at your door with uncomfortably assertive attitudes? ...

Posted by: Arch | Feb 2 2020 1:44 utc | 61

If there was a functioning justice system the author of such writings would loose his journalist license,

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Feb 2 2020 1:24 utc | 71

Anyone can start a blog and abuse the exceptional right to Free Speech granted to US citizens in the US Constitution. I don't think they need a license. Nor a lick of morality or ethical inclination.

Maybe if the likes of the author of those transgressions lived in Saudi Arabia, he might appreciate the essence of the power bestowed upon him by people who did put skin in the game to earn it.

Posted by: Bubbles | Feb 2 2020 1:45 utc | 62

Don’t relax. This thing has a long windup before the pitch.

Posted by: Fly | Feb 2 2020 2:12 utc | 63

First, I don't want to post it unless people ask, but I did a cut and paste of the essential arguments and conclusions of "Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag." Here is the plain language distillate I put together in an effort to better understand what they're saying, with my conclusions.
This is a SARS type coronavirus. Its spike glycoprotein contains 4 insertions, none of which have ever been seen in another coronavirus, all 4 of which are present in all human source samples of the Wuhan coronavirus, all four of which match up to HIV-1 sequences. [Note – they may be “short” sequences, but they are sufficiently long for each to perform a task making the base coronavirus more survivable and more effective.] It is considered unlikely a coronavirus would mutate to pick up 4 novel insertions so quickly, and it is obviously highly unlikely all 4 would match HIV-1 sequences. These insertions conveniently provide the new coronavirus with additional survival and infectivity advantage, as they are critical for the viruses to identify and latch on to their host cells and for viral assembly. The researchers express “surprise,” describe the findings as “uncanny,” state these findings are “unlikely to be fortuitous in nature” and “suggest unconventional evolution,” concluding that their “work highlights novel evolutionary aspects of the 2019-nCoV.” This is the politest accusation of a crime against humanity in history – certainly they know they are dropping a bombshell and don’t have time for peer review (and everyone will hide under the bed before commenting frankly – the peer review would never get out the door and the final report may not either). Perhaps most importantly – there’s no detailed quantitative analysis of the probabilities because it would of necessity be based upon assumption about which scholars can bicker indefinitely, and because the numbers are so far in one direction it’s not necessary. Just take everything “unlikely” and call it a one in ten shot. Multiply them together. You folks are all very smart people. This did not come from the seafood market and Jeffrey Epstein did not kill himself. Be well.

Posted by: Bruce | Feb 2 2020 2:15 utc | 64

The researchers express “surprise,” describe the findings as “uncanny,” state these findings are “unlikely to be fortuitous in nature” and “suggest unconventional evolution,” concluding that their “work highlights novel evolutionary aspects of the 2019-nCoV.” Bruce Feb 2 2020 2:15 utc inspired by John Doe Feb 1 2020 20:16 utc
Lies, damn lies and statistics. Suppose that two customers that do not know each other buy the same combination of 10 food ingredients, not similar but the same! What is the chance of that, given thousands of ingredients available in the supermarket! Almost zero, on very large if the list come from a cooking recipe. Knowing context is the key.

ZeroHedge already posted "non-weapon" explanations. First, the uncanny sequences are present in MANY viruses. Second, some viruses mutate quickly and there are many of them, trillions, quadrillions? If a virus propagates better because of mutation, it follows a gazillion of not-so-beneficial mutations. Bacteria and viruses exchange genetic info, the notion of a "species" does not apply to them, this is why scientist talk about strains. Seems that an exchange made viruses more virulent.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 2 2020 2:36 utc | 65

I dunno how many of the band of morons slapping their infantile sh1t all over this thread believe they 'know science' one thing is for sure they do not understand the scientific method because if they did they would not be considering half baked 3rd hand untested garbage as the absolute truth.
Everything should have a rational basis & little of this Durden shit or the other rumours does, but even if the claims made were rational they are still meaningless unworthy of discussion much less consideration until others have repeated their efforts and verified the results.

I do particularly like the obviously amerikan f**kwits who try to cast doubt on the honesty of China's scientists being as they come from the nation with the most corrupt science the world has ever known.
Nowhere is the corruption more evident than in medical science but I detailed the NIH plagiarism over HIV a few days ago, that a disgrace that amerikan media covered up lest y'all stop believing the lies, we all know how FAA threw science & engineering in the can to help boeing stockholders get rich ignoring the deaths of boeing's passengers as an unfortunate necessity in the pursuit, but too few amerikans are aware of how endemic corruption is in amerikan science, how the EPA, the mob charged with protecting y'all, conspired with 3m & Dupont to poison millions of amerikans just so they can keep selling teflon. This was not a quick rort the conspiracy ran for more than 40 years, both halves of the amerikan empire party aided the deceit - and you imagine you live in a 'democracy' where freedom only really covers the freedom to lie to the 99%. Did you know that bag of microwave popcorn you are feeding into your face is coated with a cumulative poison that your body cannot break down or expel? No? Thank amerika's corrupt scientists for that.

Posted by: A User | Feb 2 2020 2:37 utc | 66

Arch @ 74

Sorry b. Your now suspiciously confident assertion that the nCov is not an engineered artifact, essentially on the basis of it not neing effective and based on your skepticism of the math, is not convincing.

Shyaku @ 11 did the math, using industry-standard tools. Seven amino acids is simply too short a sequence to be unique.

I do not like your verbiage: "suspiciously confident", "not convincing". You use the passive voice to try to inflate what is nothing more than your personal opinion. What you really said was "I am not convinced." "I am not confident." But that doesn't sound as accusatory as your cheap high school debating language.

Finally, the cherry on the sunday is the insulting:

Did men in dark suits show up at your door with uncomfortably assertive attitudes?

I will trust b, who has a long track record, rather than some person with a minimal number of posts.

Posted by: Arch | Feb 2 2020 1:44 utc | 74

Posted by: john brewster | Feb 2 2020 2:38 utc | 67

Posted by: Bruce | Feb 2 2020 2:15 utc | 80

"Brown also said that the entire idea of the coronavirus working as a bioweapon is pretty silly. “The fatality rate [of the coronavirus] is 200/10,000, which is currently lower compared to many other viruses including SARS, so if it was meant as a bioweapon, it is not a good one,” Brown said. “So let's debunk the bioweapon idea that we are seeing in the news.”

As the virus has spread, so too has misinformation about it. The new focus on the scientist is the culmination of several conspiracy theories that have gained traction since the beginning of the outbreak early in January. One version of the hoax began in Facebook Groups run by supporters of the pro-Trump QAnon movement and the anti-vax community, where users claimed the outbreak was a population control plot by former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates.

Another version claimed that the virus was smuggled out of Canada to the Wuhan Institute of Virology by two Chinese spies posing as scientists. This narrative is muddled, but it seems to be based on a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation story from July about a possible "policy breach" at the National
Posted by: Bruce | Feb 2 2020 2:15 utc | 80
"Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg that resulted in Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, a researcher who regularly collaborates with Chinese scientific institutes, her husband, Keding Cheng, and an unknown number of her students from China being removed from Canada's only lab that is a biosafety level 4, the maximum containment level for dangerous pathogens.

On Jan. 25, hedge fund manager Kyle Bass tweeted this version of the hoax. His tweet was retweeted over 12,000 times and has gone viral as a screenshot on Facebook., one of the platform’s official independent fact-checking organizations, debunked it, and on Facebook, screenshots of Bass’s tweet now appear with a “false information" disclaimer. Eric Morrissette, a spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada, told, “this is misinformation and there is no factual basis for claims being made on social media.”

Posted by: Bubbles | Feb 2 2020 2:44 utc | 68

The best analyst on the web just said, “don’t worry”. I did for a few minutes. The data from China is incomplete. The Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic looks to be a little less severe than the Spanish Flu and Polio. My great-grandfather died of the Spanish flu alone in a hotel room. I remember the relief when the Salk Vaccine became available. China took an extraordinary step to quarantine 55 million people. Flights from China are cancelled. The USA is isolating all travelers from China for two weeks or until a negative blood test. This is expanding globally. The virus will place a stranglehold on Global Trade that will last for at least a year if not longer. Shortages and cabin fever will be a universal experience. The Elite won’t be safe in their Bolt-holes if they use the crisis to get richer and government collapses.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Feb 2 2020 2:54 utc | 69

The Pentagon has declared China a major military threat to the United States; The United States has been involved in a major trade war with China; The US has targeted Huawei; China as the largest exporter of goods and the second largest importer is now a dominant economy on Earth with a far higher than usual growth rate.

The American way, or the approach taken by those who dominate the US strategically, is that of full spectrum aggression. This takes very many forms. Even sweet words are among the weaponized tactics used in this regard: How to 'we win and you lose' is the name of the game.

China is the enemy, the target, for those who control the US and whose ambitions include global domination.

As to how this particular virus originated, I don't know. But I do know that the US has long pursued much research into biological warfare agents.

A week ago, I had occasion drive a friend late at night to the local hospital emergency ward, and while there for several hours, I was exposed to non-stop CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) television news. It was almost completely devoted to 'the virus', with occasional brief forays into American impeachment proceedings.

Not being used to television news, I found the repetition fascinating for a while, but at some point I just wanted to escape from it and since at that point I happened to be the only one remaining in the waiting room I tried to turn it off but couldn't find a way to turn the damn thing off. So I suffered. Sigh.

Anyway, I take it as a given that constant even frenetic media attention to such a matter is very likely to indicate a political agenda or agendas of some sort. Perhaps some of you have seen some of the compilations that have been done of numerous outlets with their news presenters all reading from the same script: seen that way, the brainwashing effort is revealing comedy.

Now whether this is a case of never letting an opportunity go to waste, or an opportunity planned and created and massaged and milked, I don't know.

I think a weak part of b's presentation is the sentence which includes "number of conspiracy stories which make totally unfounded claims that the virus is a bio weapon". First, the very term 'conspiracy stories' is a voluminously, and usually dismissively deployed, blanket ad hominem, which might be objected to as 'leading the witness, your honor!' But secondly, to concoct a biological weapon that might be deployed not for mass murder but for economic damage or political mayhem against one's new number one enemy strikes me as plausible.

Again, I'm not saying that that's what this is. I don't know what this is.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Feb 2 2020 3:33 utc | 70

I hope the analysis in this post is right, but I think it may be too soon to be confident.

It looks like the "new confirmed diagnoses" within China for February 1 will be above 3000. That's a big jump from prior days and might mean that the containment measures are not yet controlling the spread. There may be other explanations; perhaps there is a large backlog of people seeking diagnosis and treatment and the capacity to deal with these is catching up to the requirements.

Posted by: Samuel Conner | Feb 2 2020 3:37 utc | 71

Really, Zero Hedge has provided very good coverage of the Wuhan CoV crisis. Certainly they have made a fair number of messes by thrashing about, but they do provide much information that is unavailable anywhere else.

Of course they have their odd 'alt-right' audience to deal with, while MoA is not 'alt-right' but rather occupies its own niche.

Certainly no sense arguing about another website's shortcomings. It is what it is.

Posted by: blues | Feb 2 2020 3:37 utc | 72

Yeah, Right #17

What is clear is that the Chinese leadership decided that extreme quarantine was required if this outbreak is to peter out into one giant nothing-burger.

Which they did, and it has.

Or, in short: you credit the Chinese leadership nothing, yet marvel about how this outbreak has petered out into a "nothing-burger".

How odd. The outbreak just.... stopped. Of its own accord. Apparently.

BIG Thank you Yeah, Right. The propagandists were lying (in wait) for this story. I note there is a report that it may have been sourced from virus stolen from a Canadian Biological (warfare) Research institute. The errant staff at that institute are said to have 'posted' the (or many) stolen virus direct to Wuhan address. Did they steal the virus or were they fitted up with a suitably modified virus as they had already been observed stealing other samples? Conjecture, totally unfounded but... would you trust Canada and their alliances?

Perhaps there are HIV or similar inserts but are they active? Or are they inactive 'postmarks' or 'copywrite' of the originating lab so that outbreaks can be identified as to source laboratory. Good way to establish permanent monitor of labs at risk.

I say the propagandists need to be reminded here that this is a Canadian virus, originating in a Canadian scientific research station with poor security.

Posted by:

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 2 2020 3:47 utc | 73

ZeroHedge is clearly a clickbait site whose primary interest is making money by selling ads, I have a specific setting to deny them Javascript so they cannot annoy me with their stupid ads. I used to keep an eye on them because they were catholic in their tastes for clickbait, so they published stuff that commie pinkos like me might be interested in too, but I stopped going there lately as they have got more political and it's annoying to wade through all the right-wing hype.

Posted by: Bemildred | Feb 2 2020 3:51 utc | 74

Not much of this story makes sense to me. Looking at the 2019-2020 U.S. Flu Season: Preliminary Burden Estimates I would guess the US should be shut down coast to coast in the winter every year. I would suppose that China has a similar yearly problem with flue that we see in the US. China must smell something rotten to go to the great lengths they are going in confining large populations.

What that is I can only guess given the information at hand.

Posted by: dltravers | Feb 2 2020 3:52 utc | 75

Thanks for this update, b. I don't pretend to understand the mathematics of viral epidemics, and haven't heard that the infection rate is trending toward decline. However, the latest reliable news I've heard is that the death rate is circa 2% and the 'serious/ severe' infection rate is circa 16%, which more or less confirms the data in the intro to your report. To my way of thinking this means that Coronavirus is an annoying but survivable infection for people who are 'healthy' when it hits them.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 2 2020 3:53 utc | 76

Piotr Berman @82: Let's take your analogy and walk it through what the researchers found that generated their surprise. I believe it would look more like four people buying the same seven ingredients on the same day in the same supermarket, for a recipe no one has ever heard of previously, which if followed precisely creates a delicious but poisonous result, and which recipe just happens to have shown up about a month earlier in intercepted terrorist transmissions. These people would be arrested...yet they have done nothing wrong. It's just a recipe. Now I believe you are very much correct - knowing the context is key. Unless someone produces evidence these are not bona fide and properly credentialed researchers, they absolutely know a great deal more and have seen a great deal more than all of us put together. They put their names on a very controversial document. I don't think it is fair or productive to imply they might have just thrown something out the window to try to get a grant. The document is a blatant contradiction of what a lot of people have proclaimed rather loudly. I expect some of them have already tried to discredit it. Yet the logic is compelling.
One point that keeps coming up is an argument that this could not possibly be a bioweapon because it is not transmitting or killing efficiently. That is based on the assumption the official Chinese figures are reasonably accurate. Assuming they are, that the coronavirus might have come from the laboratory does not require it to be an effective bioweapon. It might be a precursor, it might be a prototype, and it might be a random bit of nastiness that got loose - and it might be a bona fide research project entirely intended only for the goodness of mankind, and just got away from them. That it isn't the virus of the apocalypse does not mean it could not have come from the lab.
Bubbles @86 you mentioned my post but I'm not sure quite why, sorry...

Posted by: Bruce | Feb 2 2020 3:55 utc | 77

Bubbles #53

" Zero Hedge is essentially Alex Jones for crazies who can read."

Thanks Bubbles, best bonmot so far on this thread. Couldn't agree more. Mind you I do go there for a scan occasionally. But then its certainly more illuminating than the Guardian which must be for masochists who can read.

I reckon John Doe #1 reads Gateway Pundit for intellectually uplifting literature.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 2 2020 4:02 utc | 78

To add to SteveK9 post @54: Reuters is reporting an H5N1 outbreak from a Chinese farm. Hmmm...Swine[2018], Bat[2019] and now Bird[2020]. "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action." This reminds me of those industrial explosions across China several years ago. IIRC, the (5???) explosions occurred a week apart. While I won't dismiss Hanlon's razor but what are the chances of an outbreak naturally occurring one after another like this?

VietnamVet | Feb 2 2020 2:54 utc | 88:

The virus will place a stranglehold on Global Trade that will last for at least a year if not longer.

Just in time for the general elections later this year. What a good excuse to explain away the current financial mess and kick your competitor in the nads.

Posted by: Ian2 | Feb 2 2020 4:07 utc | 79

One additional point that is perhaps not quite so clear from the Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag comments I provided @80... It has been suggested that either the seafood market or another yet unknown source is a more likely explanation for this coronavirus than the nearby laboratory. There are four inserts to the coronavirus that are HIV-1 sequence, and if they were not intentionally inserted, they could have arisen from a SARS virus attacking a host with HIV-1. That they make the virus more efficient would be a product of natural efficient selection. It's important to note that there's no "junk." No bits and pieces of genetic flotsam and jetsam are showing up. Just four inserts that are also HIV-1 sequence, three of which are non-contiguous in the HIV-1 sequence (making it far less likely these three just happened to be the bits that got in), and all four just happen to make the virus more self sustaining and effective at attacking a host. It's just a little too perfect. Nature is efficient but nature is also a little bit messy. That there's nothing there besides the best, cherry picked, and in the correct format to be useful, is possible...but there's a lab just up the road and if somebody was trying to do something like this, it is a good deal more likely they'd only introduce the bits they wanted.

Posted by: Bruce | Feb 2 2020 4:21 utc | 80

Apropos colds and influenza. I rarely contract either malady. When I detect the early signs of a cold/ influenza I stay up all night and keep busy. 8 times out of 10 this minor sacrifice nips it in the bud.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 2 2020 4:28 utc | 81

Disclosure: 'Paveway IV' (me) banned from posting on ZH for, er... something. Not hating Iran enough, I think - not sure, don't care. It's their club - I was only a guest.

Re: Dr. Zhou's 'doxing'. Here's his employer:

Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Address: No. 44 Xiaohongshanzhong District, Wuchang District, Wuhan City, Hubei Province
Post Code: 430071
Email: [email protected]

ZeroHedge's PERSONAL INFORMATION RELEASE on Dr. Zhou from his WIV bio. Shocking: reveals all the above information plus his five-digit office extension and his university email. [insert sad trombone sound here] So the poor doctor will now start receiving endless emails about discounted auto insurance and mortgage refinancing at low, low rates (but only if he acts NOW). Those ZeroHedge bastards!

Unfortunately, what Tyler does get horribly wrong in Is This The Man Behind The Global Coronavirus Pandemic? from Jan. 29th is the basic nature and importance of Dr. Zhou's work. I encourage everyone to read the ZH article - Tyler does provide a factual background on Zhou and his research. It's Tyler's summary at the bottom that's... well, 'problematic'.

1. One of China's top virology and immunology experts was and still works at China's top-rated biohazard lab, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which some have affectionately called the real Umbrella Corp.

The Virology Institute alone has 325 researchers and 200+ staff. It's huge. The biohazard lab is a part of that. I assume Dr. Zhou periodically uses that lab for research - he doesn't 'work' there. It's not like he has a damn cubicle and desk in containment and shows up to the Level 4 lab with his Starbucks and a briefcase every morning wearing a biohazard suit. Maybe I'm wrong about that.

2. Since 2009, Peng has been the leading Chinese scientist researching the immune mechanism of bats carrying and transmitting lethal viruses in the world.

He just got his PhD in 2010 - he's not 70 years old. Leading? I suppose - he's one of the few on earth researching this particularly important subject area and WIV would be the place to do it.

3. His primary field of study is researching how and why bats can be infected with some of the most nightmarish viruses in the world including Ebola, SARS and Coronavirus, and not get sick.

That sounds kind of important, Tyler. Because... maybe... he can figure out how to keep people from suffering and dying from the same diseases, just like the bats. See the connection?

4. He was genetically engineering various immune pathways (such as the STING pathway in bats) to make the bats more or less susceptible to infection, in the process potentially creating a highly resistant mutant superbug.

Wha...?? I'm no virologist, but it seems he was doing the standard knockout editing of a particular signaling gene involved in immunity, except in a standardized bat kidney cell line. Other immunity-related genes don't get the signal - the scientists figure out what ISN'T working any more to determine what the signaling gene/pathway does. That's how they study this stuff. This isn't going to produce super-bugs in the petri dish - the altered bat kidney cells/genes have LESS immunity - that's the point. I'm not finding where he grew an entirely new bat franken-kidney and transplanted it in a live bat, then bred a new line of franken-bats with weak, disease-prone kidneys. Admittedly, I have no proof of this. Barflies are highly advised to avoid incontinent franken-bats trying to pee on them. That's never good for you.

5. As part of his studies, Peng also researched mutant Coronavirus strains that overcame the natural immunity of some bats; these are "superbug" Coronavirus strains, which are not resistant to any natural immune pathway, and now appear to be out in the wild.

Not sure where Tyler got this - I can't find anything remotely like this. And why does Tyler capitalize coronavirus? It's not named after the beer despite similar effects.

6. As of mid-November, his lab was actively hiring inexperienced post-docs to help conduct his research into super-Coronaviruses and bat infections.

Well, there ya go. Zhou should only hire highly-experienced post-docs with, say, ten years of experience. Wait... they would already be research fellows or scientists like Zhou by then. Too expensive! And for whatever reason Tyler actually posts the job description in the article that says nothing about researching Super-Coronaviruses. The research is on bat immunology, virology and cell biology, not enhanced Mexican beer viruses.

7. Peng's work on virology and bat immunology has received support from the National "You Qing" Fund, the pilot project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the major project of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

A-Ha! Chinese Academy of Sciences - that's suspicious as hell! I guess because... the Wuhan Institute of Virology is part of CAS. OK, then how about that suspicious Ministry of Science and Technology? There's the smoking gun, all right! How could that possible be related to... oh, never mind.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 2 2020 4:40 utc | 82

Zero Hedge viciously smeared a Chinese researcher and refused to apologize or even acknowledge that its behavior was cowardly, not to mention racist. Would "Tyler Durden" out a researcher at Fort Detrick and credit him with the creation of a bioweapon, even if it were true? Absolutely not!

The former investment banker's accounts would be frozen, child porn placed on his computer, and other less subtle reminders of his duty owed to his country. Like Trump, Zero Hedge attracts intellectual garbage and purveys it as well. It is ideologically toxic...but while Daniel Ivandjiiski remains ideologically focussed he will include articles from the left to give his minions targets at which to fling their feces. Pepe Escobar, for example, had fulsome praise for the Chinese response. He was drowned in filth, of course, since Zero Hedge has fear and loathing of China and is a champion of the righteous end times in which sovereign individuals triumph and human vermin perish of plague and their own nefarious stupidity.

But if objectivity counts, we have to consider bioweapon research as a potential source when looking at this emerging pandemic. Zero Hedge is not wrong to explore this idea, nor is it wrong to be playing a constant drumbeat of imminent catastrophe for our way of life. That's just the nature of the time we live in. The 1918 pandemic began slowly, surged, retreated, exploded, retreated again any number of times. People thought it was over when it was only just beginning. It gradually faded way, of course. But that was then. Now is a different deal in a different world.

China is not constructing new hospitals at break neck speed, literally driving workers to their deaths in paroxysms of collective altruism, just to demonstrate their superior organization and efficiency. They're doing it because they're frightened, because even now with this new corona virus, they are being visited with an old enemy avian flu H5N1. The threat of pandemics and mass mortality will not go away. This newest pathogen may or may not evolve itself into a genocidal bug, but the CCP is showing the world that such an event is inevitable and they are preparing for it.

We do not have an overpopulation problem to the same degree as China or India. On the other hand we are not equipped to deal with a real pandemic. Our privatized healthcare system will collapse under conditions the Chinese now endure. The pandemic is not winding down, b. It's only just begun. It has not actually stopped in China, it has only abated and backed off and emerged again with a new name.

Posted by: jadan | Feb 2 2020 4:55 utc | 83

ak74@104 - The 'ethnic-specific bioweapon' BS came from the misinterpretation of a non-peer-reviewed study published on Biorxiv. The study was on eight previously-obtained samples from lung donors, only one of whom was an Asian male and also a former smoker. Here's the damning sentence:

A comparison between eight individual samples demonstrated that the Asian male one has an extremely large number of ACE2-expressing cells in the lung.

Does this sound even remotely like a comprehensive ethnic-based study representative of the rest of earth's population? Why had no other study ever discovered this kind of Asian-specific abundance of ACE2-expressing lung cells? The Asian male lung donor may not even have been Chinese or ever lived in China. Maybe he was from Fukushima? I really wouldn't read too much into any construed mass ethno-specific bioweapon 'evidence' based on the study of these eight lung-donor samples.

Here's the only thing we can conclude from that particular study: if that specific lung donor was still alive with said lung(s), he might have been more susceptible to nCoV infection than the other seven non-Asian lung donors if they were also alive and re-lung'd. While that might be of some use to necromancers reanimating Asian dead, it doesn't really tell the rest of us anything helpful about nCoV.

We all have more than enough promiscuous ACE2-expressing lung cells to lure in any lonely nCoV virus looking for some company.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 2 2020 5:58 utc | 84

bruce @ 97

I believe it would look more like four people buying the same seven ingredients on the same day in the same supermarket, for a recipe no one has ever heard of previously, which if followed precisely creates a delicious but poisonous result, and which recipe just happens to have shown up about a month earlier in intercepted terrorist transmissions.

This is a very misleading analogy that ends with the usual boogeyman word, terrorist.

The analogy is misleading because the protein "supermarket" has only 20 ingredients (amino acids) on its shelves, whereas non-scientists will immediately assume from their everyday experience that the so-called protein supermarket has thousands of items.

Seven out of twenty is way less unlikely than seven out of thousands.

Again, the scare word "poison" is inserted. But it's much harder to sell making "poison" from seven common ingredients, such as sugar, salt, flour, milk, eggs, butter, and baking powder. Amino acids are as basic to protein as those seven items are to baking. The entire claim of the "poison" hinges on the likelihood of the arrangement of seven common items. It all comes back to statistics, of which the public is largely ignorant.

Posted by: john brewster | Feb 2 2020 6:34 utc | 85

bruce @ 97

I have further statistical questions.

It is well known to biologists that the DNA code is redundant, that is, in all but two cases, there is more than one 3 bp code for a given amino acid. Here is a plaintext transcription of that code from Wikipedia

Ala 4
Arg 6
Asn 2
Asp 2
Cys 2
Gln 2
Glu 2
Gly 4
His 2
Ile 3
Leu 6
Lys 2
Met 1
Phe 2
Pro 4
Ser 6
Thr 4
Trp 1
Tyr 2
Val 4

I have yet to see anyone do a correction for how the codon redundancy affects the statistical likelihood of finding this so-called "HIV" amino acid sequence.

Also, no one is talking about the fact there are three "reading frames" for the DNA, which triples the number of ways the code can be interpreted during protein production, depending on the position of the "start codon". Absent these basic parameters for protein production, no scientist would make broad claims of human engineering of a virus.

Since you speak so confidently about the likelihood of the coronavirus being engineered, I would like you to point me at a citation that deals with the well-known statistical facts I have just mentioned.

Posted by: john brewster | Feb 2 2020 6:56 utc | 86

(Disclosure: I am not a biochemist, so I could slip up here.)The Wuhan CoV virus is quite unstable and it mutates quite quickly. The cells in plants, fungi, animals, etc. store their genetic info in double stranded DNA, which is the gold standard for genetic stability. DNA is only 'weaker' when single stranded, as when found in eggs and sperm, which come together during conception to re-form stable double stranded DNA. The data encoded in DNA can be, and is with regularity, mapped precisely onto RNA, which is chemically somewhat different. DNA is relatively 'stiff' and strong, while RNA is 'flimsier', but sort of 'bendy' or flexible, which enables it to produce proteins that the 'stiff' DNA can't. Some viruses have DNA, some have double stranded RNA, and some, such as the coronaviruses have super flimsy single stranded RNA. This means that the 'flimsy' coronaviruses mutate very often. (There exist both single and double strand kinds of both DNA and RNA viruses. Single strand RNA gives the most mutations, the common cold being an example.)

Some viruses such as smallpox store their info in sturdy double stranded DNA, and thus do not mutate so much, which would make them 'controllable' as weaponized agents. It would be foolhardy to use single strand based coronaviruses as weapons, since they mutate constantly, and thus cannot be effectively 'controlled'.

Bats. Bats are super-animals in regard to immune system power. They seem to be able to live with just about any virus there is. They are the only known creatures that can live comfortably with the rabies virus. It's just awesome. One thing people often don't know is that many common bats have teeth that are incredibly sharp and tiny. So if one bites you you will probably not feel it or know about it. But it will probably be carrying rabies, and so you will probably get rabies and die horribly. (Just so you'll know. Nature is amazing.)

Posted by: blues | Feb 2 2020 7:06 utc | 87

Posted by: blues | Feb 2 2020 7:06 utc | 108

... double stranded DNA, which is the gold standard for genetic stability. DNA is only 'weaker' when single stranded, as when found in eggs and sperm, which come together during conception to re-form stable double stranded DNA.

The DNA in eggs and sperm is double stranded, and multiple copies of the strands are present like a long knotted rope. You are conflating paired chromosomes with double stranded molecules. Viruses are much much smaller, and typically contain a single RNA or DNA molecule.

But yes, nature is amazing. And it does not observe the protocols of "intellectual property". Especially viruses -- they plagiarize, and shamelessly copy one another's test essays.

And therefore, I must concur with b, that the presence of HIV sequences does not amount to proof that a human researcher was tinkering with this one. Maybe, probably not. Also, it seems unlikely that it was deliberately released.

Posted by: Amerikanski | Feb 2 2020 8:00 utc | 88

@bruce 42

This absolutely astonishing:
What you cut/pasted is so malicious and inept, but effectively deceptive, that it's a jewel of it's kind.
Look accurately at the way it demonstrates that the virus doesn't come from the wildlife market. His babbling is convincing. It's pure smoke because the numbers he quote at this very moment mean that 2/3 of the patients were in touch with market.
Here is the magical text:
At the onset of the outbreak in Wuhan, it was suggested that transmission occurred at the Huanan Fish Market, because the initial infected individuals all had been in the market, which sells exotic meats as well as fish. However an epidemiological analysis of the first 41 hospital admitted cases indicates otherwise. Specifically, the first case, which occurred on 1 December 2019, had no contact with the Huanan Fish Market. Furthermore, none of the other 40 patients had contact with that first patient, and 13 had no contact with the Huanan Fish Market. There are two implications of these observations. First, the Huanan Fish Market was likely not the origin of the outbreak.

Especially, this smoking sentence:
"Furthermore, none of the other 40 patients had contact with that first patient,"
It is absolutely irrelevant to the matter it pretends to demonstrate.

And the number he quoted said that only one third (1+13) of the 41 patients had no contacts with the market.

Posted by: Parisian Guy | Feb 2 2020 8:59 utc | 89

Bruce @ 97

Assuming they are, that the coronavirus might have come from the laboratory does not require it to be an effective bioweapon. It might be a precursor, it might be a prototype, and it might be a random bit of nastiness that got loose - and it might be a bona fide research project entirely intended only for the goodness of mankind, and just got away from them. That it isn't the virus of the apocalypse does not mean it could not have come from the lab.

This is the type of analysis and critical thinking that was previously lacking in this thread. There is a presumption made regarding bioweapons, which involves some unstated measure of successfulness. I'm willing to consider a poorly crafted virus, or something which has mutated away from being as deadly as intended. Why are microbiologists seemingly held to some lofty standard of excellence?

john brewster @ 107

I think you can use this application of probability to determine the likelihood of finding a short HIV-1 sequence in a genetic code. While this doesn't factor in codon redundancy, it's at least an initial step forward. What surprised me was the chance of a short HIV-1 sequence randomly occurring should be in the same scale as correctly choosing a winning four-digit lottery number. So, it's by no means some extraordinarily unlikely event. On the other hand, four HIV-1 sequences would then be analogous to picking winning four-digit lottery numbers from four different drawings on the same day. I'm not a statistician, so it's possible this analogy is flawed in some way I'm not perceiving.

Posted by: psychedelicatessen | Feb 2 2020 9:44 utc | 90

Link didn't work, sorry. Maybe due to being a PDF?

Posted by: psychedelicatessen | Feb 2 2020 9:48 utc | 91

@104 PavewayIV

I too am a ZH reject, and I was disappointed when your comments stopped. I had never considered that you had been banned, your comments were never as raw and abrasive as mine. I and many others enjoy your humor. But I will add the MoA is little better.

You write:

"it seems he was doing the standard knockout editing of a particular signaling gene involved in immunity, except in a standardized bat kidney cell line."

Many of us believe that vaccinations are the cause of not only Autism, but the majority of nervous and mental disorders that are devastating the US. Baron Trump and Greta Thunberg are poster children for this. Many of us are convinced that big pharma are putting mercury, aluminum and all kinds of mysterious and dangerous compounds into these "vaccines", and it is destroying us.

To us, when you imply that this doctor was "heroically" working on vaccines, it makes us want to barf in our mouths. These vaccines are a gateway to extreme wealth, prestige and power.

Here is a great presentation by Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, a pediatrician, about how:

"not dozens, not hundreds, but thousands of stories from parents who took a very healthy child into their doctor’s office, and then found that their child lost much of their health.

Whether it was their speech, whether it was seizures, whether it was death, whether it was asthma, allergies, eczema – whether it was autism, whether it was learning disabilities, whether it was inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune diseases."

Even if Dr. Zhou is not a very evil man for creating this monster virus, he may well be a very evil man for his role in pushing vaccines.

Posted by: Ship Track | Feb 2 2020 10:04 utc | 92

Bubbles, seedeevee made the initial statement about an 'Academy Grad' because you linked us to a Twitter comment from AGTOoceans about zerohedge. You mistook the grad comment to be about you, so when seedeevee made it clear that he followed up on your link's source, probably more than most people do, you likely did not understand that he did explain what he meant by graduating from the Academy. Go back and check out your own link to the Twitter comment and see the bio of the Twitter user you linked to.

Posted by: Polemos | Feb 2 2020 10:07 utc | 93

@lysias #68

"Tsar Nicholas claim of a 6.5 percent fatality rate is surely grossly exaggerated, when one takes into account the undoubtedly large number of unreported cases."

The under reporting cuts both ways. it could easily mask a much higher case fatality rate.

One thing that is puzzling me, and really bothering me, is the number of deaths to cured. This number is in almost a 1: 1 ratio. What does that mean? Does it imply that people who fall ill are sick for a long time? Would a large number of deaths be better for an economy than a huge number of long term sick and disabled requiring medical care? That question does not mean I endorse death!

My #36 post was based on data from the following scientific apper, published January 29th. It is not peer reviewed, as there is not time for peer review in a fast moving situation such as this.

Posted by: Tsar Nicholas | Feb 2 2020 10:18 utc | 94

@all -

I cleaned out a number of trash comments and responses to them.


Posted by: b | Feb 2 2020 10:53 utc | 95

@100 Tsar Nicholas

The 1:1 ratio is mostly due to Chinese mortality, outside of China there have been 177 official cases with 1 death and 9 recovered to date which is really too small a sample size to extrapolate from. We also do not know whether the treatment pathways are simple or complex or require extraordinary measures.

Posted by: TJ | Feb 2 2020 10:56 utc | 96

@94 Tsar Nicholas

The 1:1 ratio is mostly due to Chinese mortality, outside of China there have been 177 official cases with 1 death and 9 recovered to date which is really too small a sample size to extrapolate from. We also do not know whether the treatment pathways are simple or complex or require extraordinary measures.

Posted by: TJ | Feb 2 2020 10:58 utc | 97

I don't think there is enough information yet to make any definitive conclusion. We of course immediately fall into our favorite memes to assign blame. The China haters as an experiment gone wrong with officials lying through their teeth. US haters as a plot to kill off the Chinese and crash their economy. In all likelihood neither is right although wont stop the media. Just waiting for the Guardian or Greta to blame it all on climate change.

The virus does seem to spread quickly. However medical sites that claim the infections are ten times higher, also fail to point out that if that is true then obviously the fatality rate is also much lower.

If overly concerned work on your immune systems rather than waiting for someone to profit with a vaccine. Plenty of information out there on how to very effectively do that. Herbal antivirals also do exist if you want to hunt for them. I used to get cold sores, haven't had one in 20 years since using one of these.

Posted by: Rancid | Feb 2 2020 11:09 utc | 98

@TJ #96 #97

Mortality rates outide China would not be showing up until about now as the paper to which I linked shows an average five day period between sickness diagnosis and death.

That is why comparing deaths today to cases today is misleading.

Posted by: Tsar Nicholas | Feb 2 2020 11:18 utc | 99

Bats, Gene Editing and Bioweapons: Recent DARPA Experiments Raise Concerns Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Posted by: dave | Feb 2 2020 11:20 utc | 100

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