|NIH Clinical Center, Bldg 10, March 2015|
I am placing this article as a subject of my “book review blog”, as I have used it since mid 2016 after I moved the actual major book reviews to Wordpress. This a long medical article from NIH in Bethesda, MD, from Sept 2020, not peer reviewed yet, but like a booklet, and possibly very important in understanding the origin of Covid.
It is titled “An evolutionary portrait of the progenitor SARS-CoV-2 and its dominant offshoots in COVID-19 pandemic”. The authors are Sudhir Kumarm Qiqing Tao, Steven Weaver, Maxwell Sanderford, Marcos A Caraballo-Ortiz, Sudip Sharma, Sergei L K Pond and Sayaka Miura with .Meredith Yeager, Associate Editor. It is a preprint also published by Molecular Biology from Oxford University Press.
The article claims that some genomes sampled from China in December 2019 are missing (up to three) SNV’s (single nucleotide variants) later found in Wuhan and in very early samples from the US in Europe.
There is an article (called an “Expression of Concern”) in the Tumori Journal in Italy “Unexpected detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the prepandemic period in Italy”, Nov. 11, 2020, authors Giovanni Apolone*, Emanuele Montomoli*, Alessandro Manenti, Mattia Boeri, Federica Sabia, Inesa Hyseni, Livia Mazzini, Donata Martinuzzi, Laura Cantone, Gianluca Milanese, Stefano Sestini, Paola Suatoni, Alfonso Marchianò, Valentina Bollati, Gabriella Sozzi, Ugo Pastorino.
The paper discusses finding SARS-CoV2 antibodies in asymptomatic persons as far back as September 2019 in Italy.
Both of these references appeared in a comment in the Washington Post May 27 to an article by Aaron Blake in a featured “The Fix” column, “What a proven coronavirus lab leak theory would mean”.
I offered the following comment on the Post article:
"The NIH article dates back to Sept 2020 and seems consistent with the Italian article. I've seen reports of the virus in wastewater near Barcelona as early as March 2019. So China might be credible in saying it came to Wuhan from an outside country. Yet the Majoing Mine virus from 2012 is very close to the SARS_CoV2 virus. Generally, it sounds as though scientists working with the virus could have become infected without symptoms, and spread it inadvertently. The virus might have mutated in an immunocompromised person much more radically than usual (maybe because of cross reaction to other viruses or toxins in such a person), leading to spread of virulent disease, and it could have happened more than once. This sounds like a science-fiction movie plot, I know, but it makes some sense. (Yet this did not happen 30 years ago with other viruses in people infected with HIV, when it could have?) Somehow we have to put every strain on the table and solve a big jigsaw puzzle to figure this one out."
Someone offered a wisecrack comment that I work for China! No.
The post has an editorial to consider alongside this information, “Who were the first coronavirus cases?”
Of course, this enumerative discussion leaves a lot of loose ends, and we’ve really got to start connecting the dots and solving the puzzle. I will add, personally, that unusual "coincidence" seems to happen in nature more often than you would intuitively expect. It has in my own life, to say the least. Sometimes it seems like the observer changes the result!
And yes, I would count myself as a “conservative” in this assessment.