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Doesn’t mean quite what some will think

Chinese researchers may have begun developing two Covid vaccines in November 2019, before the official start of the outbreak, a US senate report has claimed.

The claims come in a 300-page document, which concluded that the pandemic most likely came from a lab leak and was the result of a “research-related incident” in Wuhan.

Imagine that you are doing that research. So, the reason is to test a) new covids and b) new vaccines for covids.

Create a new covid, then can you develop the vaccine for it?

So, if you’ve developed a new covid then you will – whether there is a leak or not – develop a new vaccine.

This is possible proof that Wuhan did develop the covid. It’s highly suggestive that it was a lab leak. But not whole and absolute proof – because if you were doing that research then you would be developing the new vaccine as a part of that research, leak or no.

Now, me, sure it’s a lab leak. Matt Ridley told us so and that’s good enough for me. But that’s belief, not proof.

13 thoughts on “Doesn’t mean quite what some will think”

  1. I have enough reasonable doubt about the lab leak not to send anyone to the electric chair. I’m also reminded of Ebola where Ground Zero has nothing vaguely resembling a bio lab anywhere near it. Reasonable doubt.

    Just say that you wanted to learn to develop vaccines against a supervirus. What is the first thing you would do? Possibly develop a supervirus to test the vaccines. There have been influenza waves originating in China for a couple of decades. It sounds more like failure of safety protocols, laziness, neglect, familiarity breeds contempt, than a sinister deliberate leak.

  2. I do agree that this is one of those cases one should attribute to incompetence rather than malice.

  3. Considering SARS1 was 20 years ago and MERS 10, it would be appallingly remiss not to be trying to develop a vaccine against coronaviruses in 2019.

  4. Blood tests from cancer patients in Italy show ‘the’ virus* present in August/September 2019. Bill Gates bought 1.5 million shares in Moderna in September 2019. A coincidence obviously.

    *Or ‘a’ coronavirus for those who believe the ‘Novel Coronavirus Covid 19’ doesn’t exist

  5. @ Southerner
    I was, until now, unaware that the “lab leak” theory involved a deliberate leak (which they would have known would damage the locals in Wuhan, but would not have been expected to harm “round-eyes”) rather than carelessness.

  6. @John77 – the lab leak theory does not necessarily involve a deliberate leak.

    However, a deliberate leak in Wuhan would have a better than average chance of making it worldwide because of labour links between Wuhan and Italy. Still, it seems a bit of a risky strategy when the easy alternative would be to send the virus to a few locations round the world then close the borders as soon as the first cases were reported overseas!

    An accidental lab leak was always the most obvious explanation and that has not changed.

  7. My view on this is somewhat different, based on my own experiences.

    At the end of 2017, I contracted a mystery illness. It started out on Boxing Day like a cold or ‘flu, and I decided to power through and keep going out as I had a busy social season. A couple of days in, my shins started itching manically and I noticed a red rash all over them. Coupled with the high fever, it made me wonder whether it might be meningitis, so I emailed a picture to the Emergency Doctor Service. The doctor said it definitely wasn’t meningitis but he wasn’t sure what it was, so he suggested I visit the Cottage Hospital the next day for a diagnosis.

    At the Cottage Hospital, they tentatively diagnosed chickenpox. A friend of mine who is a nurse strongly disagreed with this diagnosis and a pharmacist who inspected the rash simply said, “I’ve never seen anything like it.” The mystery disease subsequently turned into the chest infection from hell and I couldn’t breathe properly for several weeks. Whatever it was, it wasn’t very catching as I interacted with dozens of people while I had it and only one of my friends caught it. He had completely different symptoms: chronic diarrhoea for a week followed by a prolonged loss of taste and smell.

    When Covid came along, I started wondering whether that was the “mystery disease”.

    About a month ago, I thought I had contracted a cold or flu. It quickly turned into a fever and – sure enough – the itchy leg rash appeared a couple of days later. A Covid test turned positive in seconds. Unlike the last time, I was vaccinated up to the hilt, so it didn’t turn into a chest infection and disappeared after about five days.

    My view is thus that Covid has been slushing around for years as an unpleasant but not very catching disease that people simply wrote off as some form of cold or flu, or were unable to diagnose altogether. Something happened in late 2019 to make it much more virulent – either a mutation or gain-of-function experiments in a laboratory that subsequently leaked, and it took off like a rocket. However, I don’t believe that the disease itself originated as recently as 2019.

  8. There are myriad covids and some have been sloshing around for decades. This specific variant was new – that’s why it’s “covid-19”

  9. ID
    It seems to me more likely that you had a recurrence of the disease you got in 2017, and not a re-infection. (From where?)
    The resurgence of your illness may have been triggered by vaccination suppressing your natural immune system.

  10. You’re right, Tim: it could have been a different (but closely related) coronavirus. Certainly, those are the only two occasions that I’ve had the itchy red rash thing on top of hybrid ‘flu/cold/tonsillitis symptoms.

    You might also be right about the recurrence, Philip: but that would definitely make the 2017 disease Covid, as I tested positive for several days in a row about a month ago.

  11. How specific is the Lateral Flow Test? Not specific enough to discriminate one corona virus from another, I suspect.
    I too got an itchy rash on my legs in 2020. Due to being suckered into getting the Astra Zeneca jab. Most unpleasant.
    (I even volunteered as a guinea pig for trialling the vaccine. They didn’t take up my offer.)

  12. I had a worst-ever cold throughout January 2020. Covid? I’ll never know. But there’s no point guessing that the answer is “yes”.

    Whatever it was it wasn’t as unpleasant as my worst ever flu which was so bad I even remember the year it happened. But I was young and fit so I was back to work in a week without even any post-viral fatigue. That unhappiness was reserved for middle age.

  13. In December 2019/January 2020 Our entire office came down with a nasty respiratory disease that resulted in people taking 3 to 5 days off work.
    General belief amongst us is that it was Covid and had been around for months already by the time of February official outbreak. Funnily enough nobody tested positive for 12-18 months after that with the only serious (hospitalised) instance being after receiving initial vaccination

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