Points of Viral Information
Many thanks to Nicholas Wade for his informative article,
https://thebulletin.org/2021/05/the-origin-of-covid-did-people-or-nature-open-pandoras-box-at-wuhan/, which provides a multitude of covid origin facts.
Here are some Points of Interest for contemplating or initiating an informed, responsible public discussion:
~ When scientists in various parts of the world had understood the possibility of using gain of function research to anticipate — and thereby prevent — pandemic spread of a killer disease, they began their gain of function gene-snipping experiments.
~ Scientists understood that generating a novel coronavirus capable of attacking humans would enable them to use the virus’ spike protein as the basis for a vaccine. This was their rationale for tolerating risky micro-procedures for the sake of preventing disease.
~ Homo Sapiens are full of good intentions.
~ People are also known for being unable to anticipate in advance just what could, or would, go wrong in the best laid plans of humanized mice and mice-splicing men.
~ The extreme discomfort of space-suit lab clothes and working in ultra-safe, closed laboratory conditions discouraged scientists. In an effort to simplify their scientific procedures, they relaxed lab safety standards from BSL4 conditions to a less restrictive, but more hazardous, BSL3 level. In some cases, standards of cautionary control were lowered even further, for convenience, to BSL2 levels.
~ Snipping certain genes from humans and then injecting them into lab mice produces a chimera creature, which is then adapted more suitably for experiments that would be effective in humans for preventing viral infections. Such chimeric mice are loosely referred to as “humanized” mice. The special mice are then used in research, including gain-of-function research.
~ This field of scientific endeavor is generally known as “genetic engineering.”
~ In the WIV laboratory, the “humanized” mice research yielded an unusual enhancement to the new SARS-related beta-coronavirus: a furin cleavage site, including a double arginine codon unknown among earlier beta-coronaviruses.
~ NIH/Eco/NIAID/WIV researchers were able to reprogram the SARS virus’ spike protein through that furin cleavage site mentioned above. Thus they were able to generate chimeric coronaviruses capable of infecting humanized mice.
~ These experimental procedures they did in spite of a 3-year US ban(2014–2017) on gain-of-function research that could/would increase the pathogenicity of the flu, MERS or SARS viruses.
~ The first three years of EcoHealth-funded research (2014–2017) were conducted overseas at WIV in spite of a US moratorium on gain-of-function research.
~ There are indications that several researchers at the WIV lab became sick in autumn 2019, having symptoms consistent with both covid19 and common seasonal illnesses.
~ The SARS2 virus, a single-strand RNA virus that had erupted in 2002, was an object of gain-of-function research in WIV laboratories, funded largely by (US) NIH/NIAID through EcoHealth Alliance.
~ Why a natural epidemic would break out in the WIV location is a question that, to date, has not been accurately explained.
~ Nevertheless, the Covid19 pandemic just happened to break out in the vicinity where WIV genetic engineering experiments were being conducted.
~ How the SARS virus acquired a furin cleavage site, using human-preferred codons, is a question that, to date, has not been accurately explained.
~ But there was an experimental site nearby, at the ground-zero of covid19.
~ The chief overseas WIV virologist had been trained by French and American virologists; she was following international rules for the containment of coronaviruses.
~ Bottom line: a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. That ancient Tree of Knowledge bears, in these high-tech times, some dangerous fruit, including the explosive mushroom that we unleashed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Now we have been advised to be on guard whenever venturing out into the garden of earthly delight. Perilous times require masking, distancing, and a certain tolerance of public pandemic paranoia (ppp), which we strive to neutralize with ppe.
I suppose that is why someone named this contemporary arrangement the Brave New World. You’re taking a chance just to go out in it.
Good luck with that.