Nicholas Wade on that Wuhan lab and origins of the Kung Flu

Posted On: Thursday - May 13th 2021 8:41PM MST
In Topics: 
  China  Science  Kung Flu Stupidity

Note: This stuff is interrupting the natural flow of the stupidity analysis on this site. However, after reading 600-odd comments under Ron Unz's latest piece of speculation and then getting into the Nicholas Wade article, I feel the need to stay on the topic of the origin of the Kung Flu today. Note also, that the title of the previous post referred to Ann Coulter, but I got into Mr. Wade's article more than she did and more than her column.

Bat Woman Shi Zheng-Li working in the Bat Cave:

"Lets's go down to the lab, and see what's on the slab."

The article I just finished reading, Origin of Covid — Following the Clues published on May 2nd by Nicholas Wade, is a mostly-non-technical discussion in which the author maintains that the COVID-19 virus originated in a certain virology lab in Wuhan, China. This is as opposed to a natural origin, meaning that the virus evolved in steps from being contagious in, and harmful to, bats to being contagious in, and harmful to humans.

First of all, in regards to the Ron Unz "Fort Detrick!!" anti-Americans theory, Mr. Unz brought up Mr. Wade's paper early on in his article (linked-to above) to bolster his position. No, it bolsters only 1/2 of his position - no, the virus didn't come from the "wet markets", the paper claims. OK, but while it does that, a whole lot of the discussion is about the specific Wuhan lab, how the research got funded and accomplished there, the purposefully much lower levels of safety used for this experimentation on a virus this dangerous, and specifics of the head researcher, one Dr. Shi Zheng-li aka “Bat Lady”. (No, Dr.. Shi has neither the rear end nor the furin cleavage that Bat Woman has - she is Bat Lady - so no, errr, human interest story here....) Though he gives the 3rd option of the DIRECT transfer of this virus from bats to humans, the author comes up with arguments against that too, so Nicholas Wade's main point is that this Kung Flu came out of the Level-4-capable Wuhan Institute of Biology. I don't know how Mr. Unz missed this point - was he skimming again?

Peak Stupidity left off in the previous post at the discussion of the reduced level of safety at this lab, using level 2 procedures to save on hassle, for the creation of a dangerous virus that should have been done under level 4 procedures. Let me go to Mr. Wade's 4 arguments for the lab-creation of this Coronavirus vs. a natural progression from animals. The 1st 2 are non-technical, but the 2nd 2 do require some scientific* thinking. I will use his headings:

1) The place of origin:
This is the simplest argument. The author notes that the type of bats that are usually implicated in these new viruses that come out live in caves in Yunnan province, 1,500 miles from Wuhan. They don't travel far. Yet the outbreak was in the city of Wuhan, right where the lab doing this research was. There's that common sense thing again... BTW, the researchers, including Dr. Shi herself, would go to these bat caves (OK, no more Batman/Batwoman/Robin jokes, for now) themselves and gather batshit** (guano) for the research. Miners in these caves have gotten ill and died in the past. This direct contact is discussed in that "3rd option" portion of the article after these 4 points.

2) Natural history and evolution:
Herein, Mr. Wade explains that the normal evolution of viruses from being ones that affect animals to ones that affect humans involves a number of steps. The changes in the virus from one step to the next can be observed. It's like detective work, from what I gather from the author's discussion.

For SARS-1, there were a total of 20 changes (from mutations) in the virus seen, showing the evolution. This strains of this latest virus seen in Wuhan in humans "showed limited genetic diversity".

3) The furin cleavage site
OK, no jokes this time. The definition:
The furin cleavage site is a minute part of the virus’s anatomy but one that exerts great influence on its infectivity. It sits in the middle of the SARS2 spike protein. It also lies at the heart of the puzzle of where the virus came from.
OK, but this is unusual:
Viruses have all kinds of clever tricks, so why does the furin cleavage site stand out? Because of all known SARS-related beta-coronaviruses, only SARS2 possesses a furin cleavage site. All the other viruses have their S2 unit cleaved at a different site and by a different mechanism.
Then the author explains that this furin cleavage would be formed not from the mutation process but from the recombination process. But:
Beta-coronaviruses will only combine with other beta-coronaviruses but can acquire, by recombination, almost any genetic element present in the collective genomic pool. What they cannot acquire is an element the pool does not possess. And no known SARS-related beta-coronavirus, the class to which SARS2 belongs, possesses a furin cleavage site.
There's more, if you're up for it.

4) A Question of Codons:
Here's where you need to go back to high school bio class ... or not. Chemistry is not to understand here really, only arithmetic. There are 4 kinds of "DNA unit" formed in groups of 3, to specify the amino acid to be placed(?). Yet there are only 20 amino acids in DNA. These 64 combinations can make specify one of the 20 amino acids in various ways then. The thing is, different species' DNA uses more of one combination than another to do this. Mr. Wade says that this COVID-19 virus has it's amino acids specified more by the same combinations of DNA units as humans do than would be expected. This is his proof or conjecture that this virus didn't slowly evolve but was created directly in the lab to affect humans.

All that said, let me get away from the science and more into the poltics. Nowhere in the paper, or even my previous common-sense thoughts in the matter, is it said/thought that this virus was created to kill people. It was created to do experiments that could help in a future pandemic by helping in the formulation of a vaccine. However, isn't this putting the cart before the horse? The risk seems so much bigger than any reward, and Mr. Wade agrees completely:
The benefits of the research in preventing future epidemics have so far been nil, the risks vast. If research on the SARS1 and MERS viruses could only be done at the BSL3 safety level, it was surely illogical to allow any work with novel coronaviruses at the lesser level of BSL2. Whether or not SARS2 escaped from a lab, virologists around the world have been playing with fire.
Unlike Mr. Unz's theory, Mr. Wade's paper does not ascribe the creation of the Kung Flu in that Wuhan Virology lab to nefarious purposes. His conclusion is very much what my common sense had told me ***. The Chinese are not particularly quality or safety concious. Mr. Wade's relating that this dangerous research, meant to be done with level-4 safety, was done with level-2 safety for convenience is a good demonstration of this.

Additionally, Mr. Wade's paper demonstrates the 2nd part of my common sensical conclusion, also having to do with Chinese characteristics, or at least that of modern Chinese society. Face it, nobody wants to lose face or own up honestly to mistakes there. Mr. Wade describes this in one of his 4 points in the political section, near the end of this paper:
China’s central authorities did not generate SARS2 but they sure did their utmost to conceal the nature of the tragedy and China’s responsibility for it. They suppressed all records at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and closed down its virus databases. They released a trickle of information, much of which may have been outright false or designed to misdirect and mislead. They did their best to manipulate the WHO’s inquiry into the virus’s origins, and led the commission’s members on a fruitless run-around. So far they have proved far more interested in deflecting blame than in taking the steps necessary to prevent a second pandemic.
Well, readers, I may add another post tomorrow, as Nicholas Wade's political conclusion is pretty interesting too. Here's hoping you all aren't sick of reading this "origins of the Kung Flu" stuff. I will agree right away with anyone who says "Who cares?! It's the PanicFest, stupid!" Yes, indeed, the use of this virus that is so far from the Black Death 2.0 as to be laughable to introduce previously-unheard-of Police State measures and to enable a year-long-and-running Infotainment PanicFest is the BIG STORY here.

I'm just writing these recent posts because the otherwise honorable and lucid Ron Unz has been kind of a dick about this one, going down a rabbit hole based on the claims of one commenter on his blog (believe it or not!) and because I hate that anti-all-things-American attitude of his and a lot of others'. It's fairly interesting too, but not enough to beat out 100 other flavors of stupidity we could be posting about.

Note: For those somewhat more technically inclined, commenter Late-2-the-Party give a link to the NerdHasPower site with this article from back in mid-March of '20. I say "somewhat technically inclined" because this material really has no higher math in it. Biology is a pretty descriptive science, rather than quantitative, so, other than looking a a piece of DNA sequence, I think a non-virologist could get through this, were he so inclined. I'm not, sorry to say.

[UPDATED 05/18]
Just added a quick comment about, and link to, a more technical and fundamental paper supporting man-made origin of the Kung Flu.

* The author says "think back to high school", but I'll be damned if that did it for me. However, you don't need the chemistry to understand what he's getting at.

** Some say Dr. Shi is just plain batshit crazy, but, well, I thought I'd finished the bat jokes, but, nah...

*** Admittedly, I have figured it could be the natural evolution seen before OR the Wuhan lab leak, with about equal preference, as I didn't know any of this molecular biology that Nicholas Wade discusses.

Tuesday - May 18th 2021 11:22PM MST
PS: Thank you for that link, Late-2-the-Party.
Tuesday - May 18th 2021 8:43AM MST

Here's a url to a pretty technical article (from Mar 2020 by what appears to be a Chinese dissident)...garnered more than 1900 mostly well-informed, sophisticated comments with lots of resource references...not for the casual read, but strongly hypothesizes for man-made bug...
Tuesday - May 18th 2021 8:42AM MST
PS: Here's a url to a pretty technical article (from Mar 2020 by what appears to be a Chinese dissident)...garnered more than 1900 mostly well-informed, sophisticated comments with lots of resource references...not for the casual read, but strongly hypothesizes for man-made bug...
Dieter Kief
Friday - May 14th 2021 2:19PM MST
PS - I agreed with Ron Unz about Nicholson Baker's New York Magazine piece in which Baker leaned - after considering an impressive amount of aspects of this story in depth and quite carefully that yes: The virus came from the Wuhan Lab. A German physicist and nano-particle specialist at HH university supported these findings and added a few pieces of additional insight.
Plus - Antony Fauci more or less admitted that yes, the US did finance gain of function - öh: Inquiries? in Wuhan.

So yes. Ok.

After that point, Ron Unz is out in the left field, approaching flip-city one more time. - When I read his two long essays about Co-19, I - I sensed the fiction writer there. I couldn't help it: He got taken away one more time for the sake of the hottest and most attractive story that could possibly be written right now. And - fell for it again.
(It's very instructive to read the history of great scientific deceptions and self-deceptions. The Swedish Doctor Sebastian Rushworth just published a little book about CO-19 and he does have quite a few stories of this kind (scientific self-deception) on his web-site too. One is about the successs-story of Lobotomy, which took place not that long ago and stirred up a big frenzy and caused quite some deaths and a lot of suffering: But it took off (on a very thin factual basis (close to zero), and became one of the most horrific successes in the history of modern medicine). Rushworth has more of those stories and I think he is onto something here: Whenever something unusual happens, people will go for the story behind it - and this story-potential of what's going on can (can!) produce the most stunning real world effects.

(I even wrote that over at Unz' side: I think, Ron Unz crossed that line between truth and fiction (On a Sunday Morning Sidewalk - Chris Kristofferson!) one more time.


In a perfect world, people would quite easily understand the following: One of the two German poets with a wonder-nut in their hat in the second half of the twentieth century (Peter Rühmkorf) did develop this train of thought of mine above with regard to Magic, Medicine and Poetry in a little book called Agar Agar Zaurzaurim - he traced back the secret poetic formulas of the sorcerers and the doctors and the witches and witchers (those did exist too) to a time, when all these spheres were intermingled and laid bare the onomatopoetic groundwork of the basic early and recipies/ prescriptions***** and - magic lines/formulas: A whoop bop a loo lop a lop bam boo! - Hear now the: Rock 'n Roll Doctor's - advice!
****the time before the words recipe and the prescription meant different things...

(The important link here is this: All kinds of sanity incorporate links to the insane (traces of reason, that go a long way back. Those who do not respect these - powers - - - will fall for them, because Live is full of Traps (Old Moroccan proverb - and the title of a autobiographical novel about a loner and a drifter and a heavenly bum (= a dharma bum....) by the name of Drisss Ben Hamed Charhadi (I've read it - it's great fun!).
Friday - May 14th 2021 11:10AM MST
PS Thanks for the link to Wade’s piece. I’d figured that the coincidence of there being a virology lab there and the virus originating there made it possible that the virus originated in the lab. Now I see that it is not only possible, but probable. And the US federal government funding the research!
Mr. Anon
Friday - May 14th 2021 8:41AM MST

"Yes, nations have done this work to try to get the upper hand in a potential biological war. I just don't think this was a planned release by either side."

I don't think the release was planned. I tend to think it was accidental. However I don't buy the arguments given for doing this research in the first place - to get out ahead of a future pandemic. People like Anthony Fauci might believe that because he is an arrogant, not-too-bright prick. Maybe Daszak does too.

But was that the Chinese government's motive in supporting this research? SARSCOV2 is too crude to be a bio-weapon. Yet it is interesting how few people have died of COVID in China itself, only about 4,600 out of a population of 1.4 billion, according to official figures. Of course, those official figures could be a lie (ours are). Then again, maybe this virus is just version 1.0 of the kill-the-Gweilo-to-make-room-for-us bio-weapon.
The Alarmist
Friday - May 14th 2021 8:04AM MST

Arguing for Ft. Dietrick was the spread of so-called Vaping respiratory illnesses in the summer of 2019 which had a number of symptoms and pathologies now considered to be the hallmark of CV19. There was also a wonky variation of serious flu cases in the US before the CV19 “Pandemic.”

And the Army has admitted they have tested bioweapons on US soil.

So Ron isn’t as far out in left field as one might think.
Friday - May 14th 2021 6:35AM MST
PS: Dieter, I really am tempted to write back on that 700-comment unz thread. I'm amazed that Mr. Unz used this Nick Wade article to bolster his case. It bolsters 1/2 his case - not a natural origin - but the article is mostly about the specific Wuhan lab and low level of safety and so on. The article is so far from bolstering Ron's Ft. Detrick theory, that I really wonder if he read that whole thing or just skimmed it, as he does many of the comments that he replies to.

Friday - May 14th 2021 6:17AM MST
PS: I like the skydiving analogies. Mr. Unz should have cut away the main by now, but he is sticking with his tangled lines. On the other hand, it's his drop zone, so nobody has to know when he hits the ground hard enough to knock a few teeth into his lungs. (Seen this, but it wasn't a bad opening, it was a too-low hook turn.)
Friday - May 14th 2021 6:15AM MST
PS: Indeed, Mr. Anon, even that term "Gain of Function" threw me for a loop for quite a while. WTF? Why do we want budding viruses to gain some more functions?

Yes, nations have done this work to try to get the upper hand in a potential biological war. I just don't think this was a planned release by either side. I mean, you do this shit after your 2 countries are seriously at odds, with your people here and their people there. Granted, I know the Deep State Neocon types don't give a crap about average people, but this would have been a really stupid way to wage bio-war.

Yeah, the Chi-coms took that UNC expertise and the US taxpayer grant money, and I'm sure once the Chinese get the hang of things, UNC and the US grant-givers could go fuck themselves, as it's been with other technology. If you read the last 1/3 of the article, my common-sense knowledge of Chinese poor Q/A and sloppiness is borne out by Mr. Wade's writing.
The Alarmist
Friday - May 14th 2021 4:52AM MST

Ron tends to cut away his reserve because he is sure the main is sound.
Dieter Kief
Friday - May 14th 2021 2:06AM MST
PS It is not wise to try to heal so to speak Ron Unz Mod.

Imagine somebody who jumped out of a plane and his parachute is not OK and somebody else jumps out of the plane too in order to convince the one with the malfunctioning parachute that there is something wrong with it - what good can he do, since the other one will stubbornly insist that, no: No problem there with this thing - you'll soon see - - right-wing loony, you!?

Ron Unz has a habit of wearing malfunctioning parachutes.

This Covid thing is perfectly clear: There has been something happening there...people watch that sound, look what's going down...
Mr. Anon
Thursday - May 13th 2021 11:53PM MST

"They did their best to manipulate the WHO’s inquiry into the virus’s origins, and led the commission’s members on a fruitless run-around."

It wasn't just the Chinese who manipulated the WHO's inquiry. It was the WHO itself. They appointed Peter Daszak to the investigating committe. Daszak is the director of the Eco Health Alliance, which recieved a grant from NIAID, Tony Fauchi's shop, to do research (including GoF research) on bat-borne corona viruses. A lot of this research was subbed out to the WIV. Fauci knew this, as the WIV co-PIs were listed on the grant paperwork. What Fauci told Rand Paul, under oath, was a damned lie. If there was nothing shady about the whole affair, why did NIAID quietly terminate the grant last April. By the way, Eco Health Alliance also receives funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The whole rationale given for GoF is crazy - of the "We had to destroy the village in order to save it" variety. We need to engineer deadly, highly infectious diseases in order to figure out how to fight them? Sure, that makes sense. But the likelihood of such an organism escaping laboratory confinement is pretty high. It's like saying we need to use actual human beings - and a lot of them - instead of crash-test dummies.

And I don't discount more sinister motives to all this. A pandemic virus was the ideal vehicle for ushering in the bio-tyrannical state so desired by our globalist overlords. So is it surprising that - hey, whatdya know! - we end up with one. I would also not discount the possibility that it was being engineered as a bio-weapon. Fauci and Gates have whatever their agenda is, but the Chinese government also has one. Does anyone doubt that they wouldn't use bio-warfare? (Hell, I'm not really sure our government wouldn't). WIV is a Chicom government lab. The people who work there might take Fauci's money (i.e., our money) but they take orders from Xi Jinping and his regime of thugs and murderers.
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