[ExI] Dodged the bullet maybe

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Sat Feb 8 19:06:54 UTC 2020

Quoting Will Steinberg:

> I don't really like the guy, and yeah he is biased.  I'm trying to  
> just look at his figures though.  I'd like to look at bootstrap  
> values for similar proposed recombination events and compare.  76 is  
> pretty bad imo but it is worth looking into more.

Bootstrap values seem for useful for phylogenetic analysis of higher  
organisms but seem less useful for microbes prone to horizontal  
gene-transfer like bacteria or viruses. For example, notice how low  
and varied the bootstrap values of clades of influenza virus are.


>   What also seemed odd is how 'clean' the insert is.

I also checked the insert for vector sequence contamination and if it  
was ever in a plasmid, I could find no sign of it. If it was an  
artificial construct, you would expect to see some contamination.

> What initially gave me pause is that China's new and only BSL-4 lab  
> is in Wuhan, 8 miles from the purported outbreak site.  They studied  
> SARS there and there was definitely noise from the Western  
> scientific establishment when the lab opened regarding the potential  
> for pathogens to escape, which is not unprecedented re: SARS/China.   
> China also does do human experimentation, though that's not the only  
> viral escape scenario that would work.

That's another thing, if China wanted to do human experiments, they  
probably would have done so with either a controlled captive or remote  
population like prisoners or Uighurs, and not just let a virus out  
into a major city on their mainland. Near as I can tell all vaccine  
preps for SARS were either subunit vaccines or non-replicating  
virus-like-particles (VLP). And none of them resulted in death until  
the subsequent challenge with the live SARS virus.

> It's more about combining the science with circumstantial evidence  
> here.  Of course if we look at a virus that recombined and became  
> able to infect humans, we are going to see pieces of the genome that  
> are responsible for the ability to affect humans.  But given the low  
> bootstrap values, clean insert, statistically strange very close  
> proximity to lab studying SARS, human/unethical experimentation in  
> China, and China's predilection for coverups and delayed crisis  
> response (in favor of said coverups,) I think an alternative  
> scenario is certainly worth exploring.

Neither malice toward its conformist populations nor gross negligence  
and incompetence are hallmarks of the Chinese government.

Any ways, the speculation might be moot. Rumor has it they finally  
found the culprit. They found a coronavirus that infects pangolins  
that has 99% sequence homology with the Wuhan nCoV-2019.


Just goes to show that the Chinese will eat pretty much anything. But  
what do you expect when 18.5% of all humans live in a country that by  
area is 6.3% of the earth's land mass? For comparison, in the US 4.3%  
of the human race live in 6.1% of the landmass for a China's  
population density about 4 times higher than the U.S.'s

Stuart LaForge

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