Author Topic: Theories on the origin of Coronavirus (split from Is it OK to go Caving)  (Read 3035 times)

Offline mikem

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Global Moderator Comment Discussions of the origins of Coronavirus split from "Is it OK to go Caving"

As Pete says, most bat borne diseases are passed to humans in caves by wading through their faeces & disturbing the dry material into dust that we breathe in.

There's also rumours circulating that the Wuhan research station was trying to combine a Coronavirus with an immune-deficiency virus - which would give you something very similar to what we have now...
« Last Edit: June 10, 2020, 10:45:06 pm by PeteHall »

Online PeteHall

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There's also rumours circulating that the Wuhan research station was trying to combine a Coronavirus with an immune-deficiency virus - which would give you something very similar to what we have now...

Whether or not it is ever proven, all the anecdotal evidence does suggest that the virus came from the Wuhan lab, not a jump from one species to another in the wild/ wet market. Either way, the risk of catching it from UK bat is zero.
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Online JoshW

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There's also rumours circulating that the Wuhan research station was trying to combine a Coronavirus with an immune-deficiency virus - which would give you something very similar to what we have now...

Whether or not it is ever proven, all the anecdotal evidence does suggest that the virus came from the Wuhan lab, not a jump from one species to another in the wild/ wet market. Either way, the risk of catching it from UK bat is zero.

The only "evidence" I've seen that suggests it came from the Wuhan lab is from certifiable nutcases on youtube. If there's any evidence from a respected source, I'd be willing to take a look.

Online PeteHall

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I used the term "anecdotal evidence" not "evidence". It is very likely that there will never be conclusive evidence one way or another.

I am certainly not one for conspiracy theories, however in this case the coincidence of a new bat coronavirus, breaking out in a market right next to a lab doing experiments on bat coronaviruses, is statistically improbable, to say the least. Perhaps we should start another thread int he "idle chat" board for conspiracy theories about the origins of coronavirus  :lol:

Whatever your view, the origin of the virus has absolutely no impact on caving in the UK, other than to say that it is statistically impossible (or at least very close to impossible) that you will catch it from a bat while caving int he UK.
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Offline mikem

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Although the very reason there is a Coronavirus lab there is because of the prevalence of it in the local population.

Offline Speleotron

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Although the very reason there is a Coronavirus lab there is because of the prevalence of it in the local population.

Citation needed!
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Offline andrewmc

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I used the term "anecdotal evidence" not "evidence". It is very likely that there will never be conclusive evidence one way or another.

There is quite good evidence in that DNA studies support a natural (i.e. random and disorganized) jump of the species barrier rather than an engineered virus.

Quote
I am certainly not one for conspiracy theories, however in this case the coincidence of a new bat coronavirus, breaking out in a market right next to a lab doing experiments on bat coronaviruses, is statistically improbable, to say the least.

When you say 'statistically improbable', on what numbers are basing these statistics? Or is an (uneducated) guess?
Coincidences happen all the time; in fact the _absence_ of coincidences is statistically improbable.
https://xkcd.com/882/

Online pwhole

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That link is wonderful ;)

Offline mikem

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Offline Speleotron

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Ah OK I thought you meant humans! However, that lab was working with bat-like coronaviruses in the years before this outbreak, so it's not implausible that somebody dropped a petridish. Here is a quote from a 2017 article about the lab in Nature:

"But worries surround the Chinese lab, too. The SARS virus has escaped from high-level containment facilities in Beijing multiple times, notes Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey. Tim Trevan, founder of CHROME Biosafety and Biosecurity Consulting in Damascus, Maryland, says that an open culture is important to keeping BSL-4 labs safe, and he questions how easy this will be in China, where society emphasizes hierarchy. “Diversity of viewpoint, flat structures where everyone feels free to speak up and openness of information are important,” he says."

https://www.nature.com/news/inside-the-chinese-lab-poised-to-study-world-s-most-dangerous-pathogens-1.21487

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Online al

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An open culture?? That really would be a good idea!
Old ... but not old enough to know any better

Offline mikem

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US security services reported no panic in communications amongst Chinese officialdom to suggest it had escaped by mistake...

Offline cavetroll

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US security services reported no panic in communications amongst Chinese officialdom to suggest it had escaped by mistake...

... to suggest they were aware it had escaped by mistake

Offline Duck ditch

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Is this lab escape conspiracy really gaining credence? 
Trump is pushing it for political reasons but I don’t hear many other voices. Trumps conspiracies are too numerous to mention. New ones added weekly. 
We may never find out with certainty where covid 19 came from.
It took 12 years to decide SARS jumped from bat to Civet Cats and that evidence isn’t That strong. MERS started in Saudi Arabia so I’m doubting we will find out how that began.
Before Labs existed we had pandemics.
 This Covid 19 probably came from bats.  Then onto another species.  I’m hoping pangolins and the maybe the world will condemn the trade in them.  Seems reasonable to me after all coronavirus is natural.
Of course China needs to be criticised for keeping it quiet but today we need to work together as a world.  The leading scientists are suggesting it isn’t going to go away easily.
Ps.  Putin died some time ago.  His double has contracted Covid 19.  They are searching for the next lookalike.


Offline Speleotron

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I'm not saying it did come from a lab, I couldn't know that. I'm just saying that it is a possibility and seems more likely than most conspiracy theories:

1) There is a lab in the city where the outbreak started that works with bat coronaviruses.

2) Other virus labs in China have previously released the SARS virus by accident.

3) Many scientists expressed their concern to journals such as Nature about this lab in Wuhan.

4) RNA analysis suggests it isn't a man-made virus but this doesn't mean it wasn't a natural virus that was being studied and was released (like the SARS virus was released from other labs from time to time).

I agree that people shouldn't use the lab escape theory to divert attention from our poor response to the virus. However, Trump says so many things that statistically they won't all be wrong!

PS in a way it's worse if it came form the wet market because the wet markets in China and in Wuhan have been re-opened! Get ready for SARS-Cov-3 in a few years!
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Offline Duck ditch

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Sure. I don’t disagree with any of your post speleotron.
What about the USA seeding wuhan to try and ruin the Chinese economy. That sounds possible.  Economy is everything and trump hates China.
Trump scatter gunning conspiracies and getting one right? Possibly.  Can anyone name one.
Another virus could happen tomorrow certainly. It could easily be worse. Mixing species from different continents can’t be good surely.  Wet markets are everywhere. Yes this all all my opinion.
Conspiracies are weird.

Offline Speleotron

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Well if it was a US bio attack it's backfired in a big way. I never understood bioweapons to be honest as they would surely go all the way round the world and get the country who used it to. Unless you secretly vaccinate your population but you'd never get away with it. I think the accidental release of a natural virus from that lab is the only one of the conspiracy theories that isn't implausible and it has plenty of historical precedent.
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Online PeteHall

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Global Moderator Comment I've split out discussions on the origin of Coronavirus as there is clearly plenty of mileage here.
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Offline Duck ditch

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It fits the conspiracy’s narrative that Obama funded Wuhan Labs to a tune of I think the last sum was 3.7mllion.  It doesn’t fit the conspiracy narrative that trump kept funding it for the last 3 years.
It doesn’t fit the conspiracy that the amount of money isn’t correct or that they were doing useful work on how coronavirus.
Trump pulls the funding and spreads the conspiracy.  That’s Trump being strong.  Also defunding WHO even stronger.
So to continue my conspiracy. Trump pulls out of Wuhan Labs in April.  As it’s becoming increasingly clear that a US technician deliberately set the virus free back in November.  Now the US can now claim it’s all the Chinese lab technicians fault.  Also pulls out of WHO because Trump is dreading that the truth comes out and he can now claim WHO is a discredited organisation
I don’t believe this by the way.  Swap Trump for Obama and the conspiracy theory sites might run with it.   

Try this.  John McDonald was interviewed recently.  Behind him in his bookcase were several books on the Holocaust and books written by holocaust deniers.   I told this to someone who Instantly said that it proves the anti Semitic tendencies in the Labour Party. 
Of course it’s a mean trick because the bookcase in question belongs to Michael Gove.  If it was McDonald’s we wouldn’t have heard the last of it.

Conspiracy theories are weird. 




Offline mikem

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Which is one reason why Occam's razor is still used - the most straightforward solution is probably the correct one.

Online PeteHall

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I'm not saying it did come from a lab, I couldn't know that. I'm just saying that it is a possibility and seems more likely than most conspiracy theories:

1) There is a lab in the city where the outbreak started that works with bat coronaviruses.

2) Other virus labs in China have previously released the SARS virus by accident.

3) Many scientists expressed their concern to journals such as Nature about this lab in Wuhan.

4) RNA analysis suggests it isn't a man-made virus but this doesn't mean it wasn't a natural virus that was being studied and was released (like the SARS virus was released from other labs from time to time).

This seems to be what most people I talk to are saying. Albeit, I talk to engineers, not scientists and the approach is therefore different.

From an engineering perspective, we're not usually interested in absolute certainty. As an engineer, I ask:
 (1) Does it stand up?
 (2) Does it stand up if I poke it?
 (3) Is there a more efficient way to make it stand up?
I'd then apply a safety factor to account for uncertainties/ imperfections.

Applied to Coronavirus:
(1) a natural outbreak, or a lab escape both stand up as a theory; both are feasible, though with different uncertainties.

(2) At present, we just don't have enough information (and maybe never will) to see if either theory stands up when poked in the right direction. Neither theory has been proven beyond doubt, nor has either theory been disproved beyond doubt. So far, both stand up to the poking that has been applied.

(3) Is there a more efficient way to make it stand up? Well this is a matter of perspective. In my simple engineering mind, the idea that it escaped from a local lab, handling similar viruses and known to have let things escape in the past is a much more efficient (likely) solution that the idea that it naturally made its way from a bat in a cave, via another species in the wild that has yet to be identified and got all the way to a wet market, right next to a lab handling similar viruses (of all places in a 10M km2 country) without infecting anyone or leaving any trace, then suddenly started a global outbreak from that point.

Not sure how a safety factor fits my analogy, so I'll leave that for now  :)

I'm not saying this is what happened, time will (or may) tell, however it seems to me (and most people I talk to) that this is a realistic scenario, worthy of consideration.
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Offline Duck ditch

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No 3.  Sorry don’t know how to cut and paste.  This isn’t what is happening.  Humans are capturing bats and bringing them to the market. They are stuffed into a cage next to another live animal from somewhere in the world.  They get butchered and get sold as meat.   It’s not some random bat coming into town.  There’s labs all over the world working on viruses. Wuhan has a lab.  So has Oxford.  Your other two points are fair. 
I’m not saying it’s impossible that it escaped via a lab.  However I refer to mikems post above. 

Offline ZombieCake

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The human race has a particular talent for finding ever more ingenious ways to kill each other.  Bio weapons and their use have been around for a long time, e.g.:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_biological_warfare
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1326439/
Governments are always very selective on what they tell the masses and how they tell it.
From the anecdotal and circumstantial evidence, it seems that the outbreak started in 2019.  China might not be publically popular; however, it is an economic powerhouse.  A lot of things are directly or indirectly made there and it owns about $1.1 trillion of US debt for example.  So private political and trade wrangling would be somewhat different from the public presentation.
So if there was a leak from a lab, once found out the chances of a multi-national cover up are pretty high, until it all started to get out of hand.  Diversionary tactics to blame a market after the event are also to be expected (maybe some read the plot of the 2011 film Contagion), and could be an additional vector.
A question is why would so many nations suddenly and willingly go to such unprecedented lockdowns (compared with other outbreaks), with all the economic and social consequences that would cause, if they didn’t have the knowledge it escaped from a lab, or some other additional information that is being kept secret?  Or, maybe a few knew the truth and others just followed suit.
Of course then the fear, panic, and paranoia takes over.  The media hype and scare stories wanting clicks and ad revenue, and what now looks to be again rather dodgy models from some academics (especially given their subsequent behaviour), fuels the fire.

Offline Speleotron

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I don't think Ferguessen's model was dodgy. He predicted 200 k to 500 k deaths in 2020 if there was no lockdown. With a lockdown we have had 40 k to 60 k deaths in 4 months so his initial prediction doesn't seem so far out.
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Offline royfellows

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I don't think Ferguessen's model was dodgy. He predicted 200 k to 500 k deaths in 2020 if there was no lockdown. With a lockdown we have had 40 k to 60 k deaths in 4 months so his initial prediction doesn't seem so far out.

Its been ripped to shreds everywhere.
Just one link, many others.
https://technocracy.news/neil-fergusons-computer-model-is-ripped-to-shreds/

Would explain why he didn't want to make it public.
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