[ExI] pangolin?

robot at ultimax.com robot at ultimax.com
Thu Apr 16 20:22:18 UTC 2020

First, you should know that *every* infectious disease of mankind 
ultimately originated inside some other animal.  This is called 
/zoonosis/.  Every one.  This phenomenon is at least as old as the 
domestication of animals (which is way older than agriculture), and may 
go all the way back to our hunter-gatherer origins.

Secondly, like I said, it's not DNA, it's RNA.  *Whole* different kettle 
of fish.  A single helix (RNA) doesn't have error correction like a 
double helix, that's a big part of the problem.  RNA virii mutate like 
crazy compared to DNA ones.

Third, in answer to your scenario, Spike, no, not something simple like 
just eating.  Not by an oral route.  SARS-CoV-2 is a wimpy virus, so 
stomach acid would kill it immediately.  Hell, *soap* kills it 

Fourth, yes.  In my original post, I posited a "crossover event" that 
happened within a living liquid milieu.  The bat virus's genome got a 
contribution from a virus belonging to some other creature.  The result 
is still predominantly bat, but now supplemented with additional 
functionality making it even deadlier.  That's what I meant by /in vivo/ 
(inside a living cell) or /in vitro/ (technically means, "within glass" 
but functionally means, "in a laboratory").

We know for a fact that crossover events happen.  H1N1 is an example.  
It started in birds (ducks) and then crossed over to swine (pigs).  As 
everybody knows, ducks and pigs live cheek by jowl in SE Asia.  Once 
something's in pigs, it's a very small jump to us.  I think most of you 
are aware of how much pigs are used in bio-research as analogues for 
humans.  And, speaking of cheek by jowl, it seems unwise to put a 
bio-lab a stone's throw from a wet market.  If it was me, I'd put all 
such activity in the middle of the Sahara, or the Gobi Desert, or 
whatever.  An asteroid once that becomes available.

The part of the question I have no feel for yet is, could this have 
happened "naturally" (without malignant intent) due to simple stupidity 
/ bad luck / bad practice.  Like one very unlucky sloppy worker with no 
safety culture in a milieu of retribution for bringing up a problem, 
managed to get him/herself infected by two different pathogens at once.  
Once a virion manages to unlock a passage thru cell walls (that's what 
the ACE2 receptor is) it sheds its protective outer sheath, opening the 
RNA directly to the cell's fluids.  If a different virion happened to do 
that at the same time, then two naked strands of genetic material could 
have had themselves a wet party.

Remember what Napoleon is said to have said:
"Never attribute to malevolence what can be explained by stupidity."

Or there's a wonderful line that I never forgot in the TV thriller /The 
Americans/ in which the "science attache" Oleg (same actor who 
portraying the GRU officer in the current season of /Homeland/) says to 
the FBI guy Stan:
"I graduated from Moscow Bauman Technical Institute." (The Russkiis' top 
STEM school, hands down.)
"We have the best scientists on Earth."  (I won't argue.)
"But we have no money, very little resources." (Also true, and still is 
in the civil space arena, just about.)
"It's a bad combination." (Meaning that brilliant people with limited 
resources are going to try some crazy things to keep up with the 
competition.  I can absolutely attest to this.)


On 2020-04-16 11:36, extropy-chat-request at lists.extropy.org wrote:
> Message: 1
> Date: Thu, 16 Apr 2020 06:53:54 -0700
> From: <spike at rainier66.com>
> To: "'ExI chat list'" <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Cc: <spike at rainier66.com>
> Subject: [ExI] pangolin?
> A Kennedy post from a few days ago has been rattling around in my
> brain like a golf ball in a 55 gallon drum.
> There was a piece of DNA from a pangolin and bat DNA in Covid-19?  Is
> there a resource somewhere written in language a space guy can
> understand?  That is astonishing, and even suggests something done in
> a lab.
> Or what if? mosquito bites pangolin, bat devours mosquito, somehow the
> virus mutates inside bat, bat perishes, cage cleaner takes dead bats
> to wet market, humans devouring bat soup catch virys, Chinese cover it
> up, WHO covers for Chinese, virus spreads to every country on the
> globe, American press leverages the tragedy to political advantage,
> hospitals overcount for financial reasons, economies across the globe
> suffer a crushing blow, the consequences of which will be felt for a
> generation.
> Mr. Kennedy, how can pangolin DNA and bad DNA get in that virus
> together?  Is that what you posted earlier?  Or did I misunderstand
> (entirely possible I goofed that completely) or misinterpret?

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