Thursday, June 03, 2021

Vanity Fair surveys all the theories about COVID, including lab-leak; a preview of Michael Lewis's "The Premonition"

 

NIH Clinical Center, 2004 

Vanity Fair treats us to a booklet-length survey ("The Lab-Leak Theory: Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID19's Origins") of the history of all credible theories about the origin of SARS-CoV2, by Katherine Eban (paywall).  And she does trace the gradually re-visit of the lableak theory as one that must be looked at, however politically dangerous.  She also provides embeds of several partially redacted PDF’s of internal papers along the way.

The article has twelve Roman chapters, and closes with an invocation of Nicholas Wade’s Medium essay on the likely origins of the virus, in which he makes a strong case that the furin cleavage might have come from gain-of-function research, reviewed here May 7.  That idea had been expressed by Peak Prosperity (Chris Martenson) on YouTube as early as May 4, 2020. 

The conclusion also refers to Donald MacNeil’s quirky Medium article May 17, 2021, a takeoff of Strangelove, “How I learned to stop worrying and learn to love the lab-leak theory”.  MacNeil had originally offered a paper (not published) supporting the natural theory, and now slides toward accepting Wade’s ideas.  It was a complicated process in his mind, that even crisscrossed the idea that SARS_CoV2 might even share the immune-destruction properties of HIV, as a contagious form of AIDS, an idea that the religious right (thankfully unsuccessfully) had tried to spawn in the early 1980s to shut down gay male life forever (it didn’t work, again thankfully, but I remember those days in Texas).  In fact, somewhere else I’ve read that the virus can enter some T-cells (sometimes) but does not reproduce inside them.  MacNeil even resurrects an old article from late January 2020 from the Washington Times speculating about bioweapons.

But then there was an article in Nature in Feb. 2020 that mentioned the bat cave virus from the Mojiang Mines

The Vanity Fair article covers this in detail, in Part VII, about the Mojiang miners (you need to remember the spelling).   The virus involved, RatBtCov 4991, is the closest virus in an animal so far to SARS_CoV2 and raises the idea that the virus could have jumped from bats directly without an intervening animal. Possibly in one immunocomproised person a major cleavage insertion could have happened from another virus. 

On the other hand, cleavage has definitely been done in labs with other viruses and is considered a major tool in gain of function research.  Scientists now sympathetic with the lab-leak theory point out that there are very small parts of the SATS-CoV2 genome that are very hard to explain naturally.

But, of course, scientists from around the world probably have visited the mines and caves in past years, which could explain occasional findings of SARS-like antibodies in European wastewaters.

I just received a hardcopy of Michael Lewis’s new book, “The Premonition: A Pandemic Story” from Amazon, USPS this time, WW Norton, Introduction (romans), Prologue, Epilogue, 304 pages, no index or endnotes.  It’s more like a non-fiction novel, story-telling for a movie.  Nicholas Confessore reviews it for the New York Times May 6) as “Michael Lewis Chronicles the Story of Covid’s Cassandras”. Fareed Zakaria has interviewed Lewis on GPS. 

1 comment:

Bill Boushka said...

John Campbell has a video June 5, 2021 about the finding of SARS_CoV2 virus rna in wastewater in Barcelona Spain in March 2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyhMoWDSZ7Y It's not clear if these findings include the prra furin cleavage. That would be critical. Could be explained by travel between Spain and China (of scientists or mine explorers).