As we continue our fight against the coronavirus some things are clear. The virus originated in China, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) lied for well over a month about the scope of the problem and the danger posed by this pathogen. A great many people are dead and many more will die, because of Beijing’s actions.
Here’s what we still don’t know. Where did this thing come from?
So, let’s take a look at the two leading theories in some detail and the facts that support them.
The official Chinese government line is that the coronavirus was first transmitted to humans in a seafood market in the city of Wuhan. According to the CCP somehow the virus was communicated from an animal host to a living human being inside this market.
The evidence to support this contention can be pretty neatly summarized as “the CCP says so.” A patient zero, the first person infected in a pandemic, has never been identified at this market. The animal from which the virus originated at the market has never been identified. While many of the original small group of individuals infected with the virus had connections to the market at least 40% of them did not.
That said, if you feel comfortable with relying upon the word of a brutal Communist regime that lies as a matter of course, which engages in forced organ harvesting, operates slave labor camps and “disappears” pretty much anyone who dares speak the truth – I guess your inquiry is concluded.
For the rest of us, those who have not yet become mindless drones, perhaps a little further research is justified.
The evidence to support the theory that the virus escaped from a Chinese bio lab is substantial.
China’s top BSL-4 lab, which is known to work with coronaviruses, is located just outside the city of Wuhan where the pandemic began. A second Chinese bio lab, also known to work with coronaviruses, is located in Wuhan itself only 900 feet from the seafood market in question.
Most researchers believe that the coronavirus now sweeping the world originated in horseshoe bats. The bats which are hosts to this disease do not live near Wuhan. Bats are sold as food in China, but none are sold in the seafood market where the pandemic allegedly began. The particular bats which harbor the coronavirus live in an area almost 600 miles from Wuhan, however, researchers from both the BSL-4 lab outside Wuhan and the lab in the city itself are known to have collected specimens of the bats in question and to have brought them to the labs for study.
Work in both labs on bat coronaviruses has been well established and documented. In 2017 Dr. Shi Zhengli, a researcher at the BSL-4 lab who had been publishing pieces related to bat coronaviruses for years, published research showing that horseshoe bats collected from a cave in Yunnan Province were very likely from the same bat population that spawned the SARS coronavirus in 2003.
Between 2015 and 2018 U.S. State Department personnel assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan made several visits to the Wuhan BSL-4 lab. They were so concerned about conditions at the lab that they sent at least two messages to Washington warning that the Chinese were conducting “risky studies” on bat coronaviruses at the facility. The messages to Washington specifically warned of safety and management weaknesses at the lab saying in part “ the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory.” The messages also explicitly stated that Chinese work with bat coronaviruses raised the risk of a pandemic.
“Most importantly, the researchers also showed that various SARS-like coronaviruses can interact with ACE2, the human receptor identified for SARS-coronavirus. This finding strongly suggests that SARS-like coronaviruses from bats can be transmitted to humans to cause SARS-like diseases. From a public health perspective, this makes the continued surveillance of SARS-like coronaviruses in bats and study of the animal-human interface critical to future emerging coronavirus outbreak prediction and prevention.”
Sloppy Chinese research practices and issues concerning the handling of bats specifically have been reported before. A Chinese documentary called “Youth in the Wild – Invisible Defender” records researchers engaged in casual handling of bats containing deadly viruses. The video shows Chinese lab personnel without goggles or facemasks and with exposed faces and wrists collecting bats and thereby subjecting themselves to a substantial risk of infection.
Tian Junhua is one of the key researchers involved in bat coronavirus research. He is known to have on at least one occasion failed to wear protective gear while collecting bats in a cave and to have come into contact with bat urine. Interestingly, on that occasion, Mr. Tian self-quarantined for 14 days, exactly the time period now recommended for quarantine in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Tian works for the office of decontamination and biological disease vector prevention and control within the Wuhan Center for Disease Control (CDC). This is the Chinese lab, which is located only 900 feet from the seafood market the CCP now says was the point of origin for the virus. Until the recent outbreak, research on bat coronaviruses was not required to be handled only at the BSL-4 lab outside the city.
All references to Mr. Tian or his work have now been removed from the Wuhan CDC website.
In addition to Mr. Tian, at least one other name has surfaced as a possible patient zero for the pandemic. A Western blogger in China – Matthew Tye -reported earlier this year that a worker – Ms. Huang – at the BSL-4 lab outside Wuhan had died of the coronavirus after a lab accident and exposure to the coronavirus. The lab denied the report, but subsequently, Ms. Huang’s photo and biography were removed from the institute website, where they had been posted earlier along with other researchers.
Screen captures of internet postings from the Wuhan Institute of Virology included one for a job opening in November that sought researchers to study links between “coronavirus and bats.” A second job posting on December 24 revealed the Institute was looking to hire multiple researchers. It stated, “We have discovered a new and terrible virus and would like to recruit people to deal with it.” These postings have since been taken down.
In February, Chinese researchers published a paper titled “The Possible Origins of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus.” The paper began by confirming that the coronavirus came from an animal known as the Intermediate Horseshoe Bat. The paper also mentioned that the CDC lab near the seafood market had used, for one study alone, 605 horseshoe bats.
The paper concluded that the first case of transmission of the virus to a human probably involved a lab worker from one of the two Wuhan labs who accidentally exposed himself to bat blood or urine. “The killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.”
The paper was quickly quashed by Chinese authorities and vanished from the international research website on which it had been posted.
Chinese government officials have refused to provide samples of the Chinese coronavirus strain to US researchers. They have directed labs in China to destroy all data on samples of the virus and gene sequencing information.
The Shanghai lab which published the new coronavirus’ genome in Januray has been closed for “rectification.” Several of the doctors and journalists who reported on the spread of the virus have “disappeared.”
So, if you want to continue to believe the story Beijing has been peddling to the world for months now, that this pandemic is a naturally occurring event in which it had no hand, feel free to do so. I think I’ll follow the evidence.
This thing didn’t climb out of a bowl of bat soup in a market. It jumped the fence at a lab. And the Chinese know it.