Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Questioning the party line …

… The scientists who say the lab-leak hypothesis for SARS-CoV-2 shouldn't be ruled out | MIT Technology Review.

… the spike proteins studding SARS-CoV-2 bound more tightly to their human cell receptor, a protein called ACE2, than target receptors on any other species evaluated. In other words, SARS-CoV-2 was surprisingly well adapted to its human prey, which is unusual for a newly emerging pathogen. “Holy shit, that’s really weird,’” Petrovsky recalls thinking.


  1. Hi Frank,

    Man, I would have shared this article with you if I thought you'd have been interested. In looking into Petrovsky, I watched a YouTube interview with him down under, where he is not claiming anything, just asking for proper forensics, so maybe we can get beyond all the politics and find out the truth. Yet that very same video had going across the bottom something to the effect, "Scientist claims Covid-19 came from a lab." That's horrible reporting, fact checked by itself, while it is happening.

    I think back about a year ago, when people wanted to ask about the world-attended coronavirus meeting near Wuhan in I think October, but that was shouted down. Who got into the lab and did what, on purpose or by accident -- or not? The question was poo-pooed by those who wanted to assert that it was most likely a pangolin in a Wuhan wet market, which caught it from a bat and then passed it on, evolved into what we now know as Covid-19, well tailored for us humans. It does not look like that any more, because those who caught the virus cannot be tracked back to the market.

    We must track back. It's forensics.

    Now we have the case of an outbreak of some ailment among lab workers, that looks to us now like Covid-19, which can be passed on by someone who has it without symptoms. Was it? We do not know. But surely, we must call into question having a dangerous biolab operated by humans in highly populated areas. We do this for nuclear reactors. I know that I am speaking into not only bad media and politics, but the hubris of modern biologists.

    Petrovsky does not preclude good old fashioned natural selection outside a lab. He is asking to keep open minds, especially because of what he seems to think was not predictable: how well this virus was suited to humans.

    That it is only like the bat virus by 96%, lends itself to possible lab variation -- and here he does not preclude purposeful manipulation, but never lands on that as a favored theory, nor does he land on a favored theory that the virus developed in the lab into what it became.

    He never says that an accidental leak of collected materials, or some purposeful leak is a root cause -- again, just urging open minds. Like a seasoned investigator, he gives us only some possible scenarios.

    This becomes evident in the open letter: Call for a Full and Unrestricted International Forensic Investigation into the Origins of COVID-19 (pdf). And I find the pdf more valuable even than the MIT-published article.

    Under section 3, "What a full investigation should look like", comes such questions as if it escaped from a lab, was it through infected lab workers, or escaped animals.