[ExI] virus scenario

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Wed Apr 15 01:28:31 UTC 2020

robot at ultimax.com wrote:

> Not that I think anybody will respond, because there never is, but:

Not getting a reply to a post is usual for me.  There are two main
reasons, the readers didn't understand it or it was so clear that
people didn't find anything to respond to.

< Spike's scenario doesn't explain the crossover event.

Agree.  But I have followed gene engineering for decades.  I can state
from such personal knowledge that making this virus in a lab is beyond
the state of the art.  Not really far beyond the state of the art but
it is at least 5 years out and more likely ten years.  The showstopper
would be designing the entry protein.

> SARS-CoV-2 is not 100% bat content.  Mostly it is -- 80%??  The balance,
20%??, came from some other mammal.  Pangolin (an Asian anteater, looks
a lot like an armadillo) is the thinking, but, whatever.

The path that seems most likely is that the virus made the jump from
bats to pangolins some time ago.  I don't remember where I saw it, but
COVID-19 was found to be 99% similar to a coronavirus from pangolins.

 snip influenza data

> So where did that crossover happen? /in vivo/ or /in vitro/?

Flu is very different from coronavirus.  It does not swap pieces of
its genome with other viruses like flu does.  The first human who got
it was just unlucky that it was able to infect him.  The second human
was unlucky that the virus was able to infect from the first.

It certainly could be worse.  The related MERS virus kills about 70%
of the people it infects.  That's the pandemic that could cut the
world population by half.

As it is, too many people being sick at the same time is starting to
have effects on the food supply.


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