BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS

The Wuhan Lab - Mounting Questions of Covid19 Virus Escape

May 06, 2021 Dana Lewis Season 3 Episode 28
BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS
The Wuhan Lab - Mounting Questions of Covid19 Virus Escape
Chapters
2:58
Nicholas Wade/ Science Writer
31:08
Gilles Demaneuf/ DRASTIC
BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS
The Wuhan Lab - Mounting Questions of Covid19 Virus Escape
May 06, 2021 Season 3 Episode 28
Dana Lewis

 A year and a half after a pandemic crippled Countries an killed more than 3 million people, more and more evidence the Chinese are blocking data of experiments called Gain of Function in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Was Covid19  an experiment, that leaked out of the lab that was  routinely engaged in strengthening Corona Virus'? And experts say the denials by the Chinese are becoming increasingly unbelievable.

On Back Story Host Dana Lewis talks to Science writer Nicholas Wade, who has written a long essay arguing that the “lab leak” hypothesis is more plausible than the “natural origin” theory.

And, Gilles Demaneuf who is the co-organizer of a letter for 26  scientists from around the world has requesting a new investigation into the origins of covid and specifically demanding the WHO looks into the labs in Wuhan.   Demaneuf is a data analyst from DRASTIC, an international team of scientists and analysts  attempting to fill in the gaps on Covid's origins.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

 A year and a half after a pandemic crippled Countries an killed more than 3 million people, more and more evidence the Chinese are blocking data of experiments called Gain of Function in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Was Covid19  an experiment, that leaked out of the lab that was  routinely engaged in strengthening Corona Virus'? And experts say the denials by the Chinese are becoming increasingly unbelievable.

On Back Story Host Dana Lewis talks to Science writer Nicholas Wade, who has written a long essay arguing that the “lab leak” hypothesis is more plausible than the “natural origin” theory.

And, Gilles Demaneuf who is the co-organizer of a letter for 26  scientists from around the world has requesting a new investigation into the origins of covid and specifically demanding the WHO looks into the labs in Wuhan.   Demaneuf is a data analyst from DRASTIC, an international team of scientists and analysts  attempting to fill in the gaps on Covid's origins.

Speaker 1:

The Chinese had no evidence to give anyone in support of natural image. And that I think is when the sort of bounce of perceptions began to change.

Speaker 2:

Not only that, but all of the records from the Wu Han Institute of virology , uh, are missing. They , they closed down all their databases , um, and they essentially have sealed up that lab and they will not produce any of the experimentation or the post experiment documentation that you would expect that if the lab was innocent of, of experimenting with this virus that they would provide ,

Speaker 1:

Uh , yes, that's right. I think when Kathleen interpreting the government's behavior, I mean that says me acting guilty. Um , but with an authoritarian regime,

Speaker 3:

Hi everyone. And welcome to another edition of backstory. I'm Dana Lewis, the pandemic, the 150 million cases over 3 million deaths. And we still see no closer to understanding how did COVID begin? Where'd it come from? We know it seemed to start in [inaudible] China, the same place where the Chinese have a laboratory that was carrying out gain of function. Experiments on bat viruses with us funding gain of function is a way of making natural viruses stronger to see how they may mutate and possibly jump from animals to humans. And that lab was experimenting with Corona viruses, both COVID-19 and SARS are caused by Corona viruses. The virus that causes SARS is known as SARS COVID while the virus that causes COVID-19 is known as SARS COVID two, the trail to and from that lab is astonishing. Even though the Chinese government has tried to deny the Wu Han Institute of virology was involved. There were sick miners , several of whom died from working in a bat cave in China and their virus samples were taken to that lab. The lab had a strange outbreak of pneumonia amongst its workers before the official COVID outbreak was announced. The first cases of COVID were close to the lab within meters. In fact, the lab took down its online database. In September months before the COVID cases were announced in December, they claimed they had been hacked in hospitals, along the subway line from the lab to the Wu Han airport had the first clusters of cases, according to experts, as you're about to hear on this backstory, there are so many clues pointing to a lab leak it's astonishing, and the Chinese of course deny everything.

Speaker 2:

Joining me now from New Jersey is Nicholas Wade. And he is a science writer who has worked on nature science and the New York times, and is now an author. Welcome Nicholas. Thank you. Look, this is a heck of an essay you've written , um, and I've read it not once, but three times now because it's a lot to take in, but let's, let's begin with really where you leave us. Um, and that is that there is simply no reasonable explanation, natural explanation , uh, for COVID-19 aside from the fact that all roads lead to the laboratory and Wu Han , um, and that it was likely created or at least experimented with there and escaped from there.

Speaker 1:

Well, the way I look here is, is , uh , more or less just as you said, but it it's , uh , I think fluently one should have acknowledged that. So to a possible hypotheses on the table. And then when you look at which explains the evidence better on what we've got, I would say that the lab escape scenario explains the available facts, much better

Speaker 2:

Proponents of the natural emergence. That means it didn't come from the lab, but it came from maybe a bat cave or have a rather harder story to tell the plausibility of their case rests on a single surmise. The expected parallel between the emergent of Cyrus two and that of SARS one and murders . But none of the expected evidence for such a parallel history has emerged. No one has found the bat population that was the source of stars to if indeed it ever infected bats. No intermediate host has presented itself despite an extensive search by Chinese authorities that included the testing of 80,000 animals. Tell me on natural emergence while you put it out there, there just doesn't seem to be any evidence that it, that it came from a bat or came from a cave or came from , uh , a wild animal market,

Speaker 1:

Right? There's none of the evidence you'd expect to see if it followed the pathway of its two predecessors, the cell one , uh , epidemic and the most epidemic. And both, both of them left a lot of evidence in nature. You could see the intermediate host animal specifics and long case camels than the other. You could see the human populations in which the virus sort of adapted itself until it was no real pathogen. None of that is there with saws to , uh , and I think everyone expect you to find it. So that's why this is company I should have commissioned to Beijing was so interesting, seemed at first sight, a propaganda victory for the Chinese, since they controlled the commission and the commissioners came away saying I have escaped very doubtful, but in fact, we , the real message was the Chinese had no evidence to give anyone in support of natural image . And that I think is when the sort of bounce of perceptions began to change. Not only

Speaker 2:

That, but all of the records from the Wu Han Institute of virology , uh, are missing. They , they closed down all their databases , um, and they essentially have sealed up that lab and they will not produce any of the experimentation or the post experiment documentation that you would expect that if the lab was innocent of, of experimenting with this virus that they would provide ,

Speaker 1:

Uh , yes, that's right. I think when asked Kathleen interpreting the governments of behavior, I mean that says me acting guilty. Um, but whether an authoritarian regime, they did clamp down on information off of the saws one epidemic. So for them to sort of, to clamp down , uh, after the sauce to at first blush, at least, you know , it's just a routine behavior on their part. On the other hand, they have to answer in such a specific way. As you mentioned, they've closed down all the viral databases. Um, they've , uh , prevented sergeants from speaking, they've put out a dribble of inflammation which may be designed to mislead or misdirect their , their behavior. Stephanie gives no support whatever to the natural emotions theory. I

Speaker 2:

Think, I really think it's really probably misleading if I keep talking around conspiracy theories or what they didn't do, but because it's really important to focus as your essay did , um, uh, you know, in a, in a, an amazing way, you did a lot of research focused on what they were doing. They were. And could you explain it to me? Absolutely experimenting with , uh , SARS to like virus and they were experimenting on strengthening those viruses for what purpose, which is controversial in itself,

Speaker 1:

Right? They were doing what is blindly called a gain of function experiments . So in the last 20 years, viruses virologists have learned how to soup up viruses and it's , it was a very attractive thing for them to do. And it gains lots of research money. And, and the justification of this program is that it's very important for us to try and catch these pandemics ahead of time before a virus leaps from an animal host to humans like the Ebola virus or whatever. And we can do in the lab, say the biologists. If you let us take a virus and tweak it a little and see just what tweaks are necessary to allow it to infect humans. Now, if we do that, then that'll give us a leg up on, on where nature's going to go next. So that is the rationale under which vowel just spilled over the world, not just in China have been souping out these, these viruses in gain of function. And that is exactly what the Chinese were doing with these Kareena verses you see , after the saws one and MERS epidemics, both of which were caused by coronaviruses . Everyone got very interested in knowing well, w well, where's the next pandemic game to Stripe ? So, so Dr . Sheathing Lee, who was the meeting, Matt coronavirus at the Wuhan Institute of biology, she started work with , uh, uh , Wellman chronobiologists in , uh , university of North Carolina, Ralph Berry , and the two of them , um , started souping up. Coronaviruses largely by swapping in spite proteins, one Corona virus into the backbone of another . And they had an NIH grant to do so. Amazingly, the NIH was funding these experiments by Dr. Xi at the [inaudible]

Speaker 2:

American funding of experiments in China,

Speaker 1:

Right? The national institutes of health was funding Dr . Xi to do these experiments. And that's how we know she was doing it was all in her grant proposal, or rather the grant proposal goes not directly to her cause to something called EcoHealth Alliance in New York, headed by Dr. Peter dash shack . And he, then sub-contracts the brown to dot fishy . These grant applications are a matter of public record, and you can see that doctor, she plans to soup up coronaviruses to see if they can attack humans. Now she doesn't use human subjects. That would be unethical , but scientists instead use very surrogates. They use either human cells burning in culture, or they use humanized mice. That's, that's a mouse where you've taken out the something called the ACE two receptor, which is approaching the studs, the cells of human airways. And you take out the mouse and you put in the human Russian . So all these genetically engineered mice alight little humans, as far as the allergy is concerned. So she was testing these soup dot viruses in humanized mice and human cells. This was exactly the track you would be on if you were going to create a sauce to live virus. So either she created, so the saws to the virus itself or something pretty likely

Speaker 2:

Why don't we know w why have the records not, I mean, the Chinese government doesn't want to release the records, but why , why don't we know?

Speaker 1:

Well, we know for , um, I guess three reasons , um , firstly we know from the grant proposals, the NIH grant proposals measure public records that say exactly what she was going to do. Uh, we know from a paper she published in 2017 where she reported swapping in the , uh, spike proteins , uh, into four hours equation for these hybrid viruses. And we now have because of the Dr . Dash Jack himself, who just before news of the pandemic hit in December, 2019, gave an interview in which he infused about how well these experiments with getting and cooking up novel coronavirus is that good ? In fact , humanized mice, of course, he sang a very different tune as soon as the virus had as we think the scapes. But that's what he said before. The escape

Speaker 2:

It's important to know that Dasha , the president of the EcoHealth Alliance was sort of the person who came out and told the world's media of , you know, don't look at the lab, the lab couldn't be involved. And he declared that in the Lancet . I understand. Right. But he obviously had competing interests because he was involved in the research.

Speaker 1:

Yes. I think he had an enormous competing interests, which should have been declared in that lawsuit lesser . And in fact was not. And indeed the letter concludes by saying we declare no competing interests

Speaker 2:

Can give me something on this bat cave where all of these Corona virus samples had, my understanding had come from. And in fact, they had miners who had been in the cave. Some of them got sick, some of them died and that health information was then covered up as well.

Speaker 1:

Yes, this is a very interesting story. Uh , not least because it's clear the Chinese tried to conceive either the whole, the whole purpose of, of Dr. Xi's research was to find dangerous Corona viruses that might attack the human population. So when these six minors , um , died, presumably presumably she ended up to it well, right on the case, it was of intense interest to them. That's what they were looking for all along. So she analyzed , um , eight , uh, viruses from this cave. Um, they were not directly from the miner's blood . They were bad viruses from the Cape. And , um, she published just little snippets of them, not the whole virus. Um , it was hard to sequence things in those days. What people did was just sequence one gene as a kind of index , um , to the virus as a home. Um, so she called this , she called one of these viruses. She had , um, a bat bat co-curated of ours for nine 91 . So then nothing was heard about that. Very interesting environments and duties . We'll fast forward to the present time when the Chinese, presumably they need to establish that the sauce to virus was not a lab creation. It came from a bat , so they needed to establish a nice sort of family tree for it. So they needed to put out there as sort of ancestor that was sort of close enough to size two to , to look like it was a , a sort of close ancestor , but not so close that anyone would claim saws to it being derived from it. So lo and behold doctor , she publishes, I forget when this was in January, February, she publishes a new bad virus. She has cool RA T G 13, and it fulfills exactly the road I described to you. It establishes a sort of true bad genealogy for SaaS to where it's not too close to it. Well then people started fishing around and they found that this RIT G 13 was in fact identical to the one isolated eight years before from the unit and caves that you mentioned, it was identical with what she had called banker at Alaras full nine, nine one, except in a pen and paper with the RA TG 13, she made the mention of the earlier findings . So that is a no-no in scientific terms, you didn't just sort of switch names on something and I'm studying, you can switch your name. If you want, you need to say to your readers, this is what I'm doing. And she didn't. So this is why everyone has been very interested in this virus and exactly what the Chinese were trying to do accomplish in publishing it because the

Speaker 2:

Evidence seemed to point towards the cave as being where this virus originated from. Um, and that, that she then generated SARS too , from something she found in that cave .

Speaker 1:

Yes. Um, under the lab escape hypothesis, we haven't, well, we have no evidence anyway , that saws two was ever inside a bat and otherwise it could be a totally artificial virus. Now, if it is a totally artificial virus, the way it would have been created is just the way we see from a previous published experiments with the Ralph back, she would have taken the backbone of one coronavirus and she would have inserted into it despite proteins from various other creditors . So the spike rate is very important, per se. They define what kind of host the virus will attack. And so one of these, one of these viruses she had created, they probably all use the backbones from the, from the , the , the, the cave we discussed. Um, and, and she would have spliced different spike, protein genes into them. And one of them probably very possibly was the size to virus,

Speaker 2:

Common, our lab escapes. How , how common do viruses get out of labs? They are much more common than we realize.

Speaker 1:

I , yeah, that kind of horrifying , um, comment he has about one, one or two escapes that we know, and maybe others that don't get reported. Um, so even the smallpox virus , um , which is one of them has deadly patents, as you can think of escape from labs in England , uh, in the, in the 1970s motion , desal is one virus. Um , that's in 2003 , um , escaped four times from the Beijing Institute of virology. Um, it's a , it's a real hard virus to ,

Speaker 2:

I should be asking you what hasn't escaped. Then Institute of virology, it says has a new BSL four lab, which I understand that that's like one of the top security labs in terms of locking down virus, but it state of readiness, considerably alarm, the state department inspectors, who visited it from the Beijing embassy in 2018. Um, it didn't have appropriately trained technicians , uh, and investigators to operate a high containment laboratory. And as a result, probably a lot of scientists in China didn't want to work in that lab because it's also very uncomfortable to work in those. Uh , how would you describe it in , you know , you , the full suit, very restrictive, uncomfortable, physically uncomfortable,

Speaker 1:

Right? So I just really don't like working in, in, in BSL full , um, conditions. And , and as you say, the, the , the people, the state department guys who inspected the [inaudible] lab found lots of deficiencies, however, in a way that's all beside the point, because doctor , she did not do any of our work in bears , L four conditions. Uh, they're all done in , in , in BSL two and three. So BSL two is, is really almost nothing. It's very, very minimal safety conditions. Basically you put up a sign saying biohazard, and do you try and remember not to suck up fluids through pipette as knowledge and slack to do that's it, it's , it's hard to, it's the level of , uh, of a dentist's waiting office , uh, in one description, you're kidding me, but not a waiting office . Is it just a dentist office in the us will follow BSL tube safety guidelines.

Speaker 2:

I'm told that there were people who worked in that lab that got ill , uh , just before the COVID-19 outbreak was announced by the Chinese government. Well,

Speaker 1:

This , the emphasis comes from the intelligence side. So, so , uh , the us intelligence agencies say they're having intelligence information believable in September, 2019 three people at Luan Institute of biology became very seriously ill, some kind of respiratory disease. Now it looks like it was COVID-19 , but it could, it could also have been raised in influenza. They favor COVID

Speaker 2:

Leads other epidemiologists and experts to say that probably the outbreak of COVID was much earlier than the Chinese announced. And I know that's been a moving target, but mostly in December.

Speaker 1:

Um , that's right. I mean, there's no reason it shouldn't have come earlier. And , uh, and September sort of seems a reasonable date.

Speaker 2:

I also read , uh , in this letter , uh, that has now been publicly put out by scientists, calling for a new investigation by the world health organization , um, that they staff tested negative for SARS. COVID two antibodies at the Wu Han Institute in March, 2020 , uh , yet statistically , um, roughly less than one chance in a billion given that there's more than 590 staff and students at the Institute. And about 4.4% of the Wu Han urban population tested positive around that time, even if only 85 people were tested, the chance of a no positive test result would be less than 400 . The Chinese got too clever that really calls into question as to, as to what the Chinese government was coming clean on and, and, and what it, wasn't the other look. The other part of the puzzle that you, you lay out very well is that one of the explanations from the very beginning was that you can tell through gene splicing, I believe that if anybody's been messing around with a virus or creating a virus and that, that didn't show up here, but the science of that , uh , was probably misstated. And that there are many ways that you could, you could play or engineer a virus , uh, without the, the old ways of, of understanding clearly that that had been done. So you can probably put that a little more concisely than I can. Well , you

Speaker 1:

Said it very, very well. And this was a lecture in general nature medicine, which was very inferential because he was a group of quite well-known biologists saying it is clear that the virus was not been manipulated, but no one, no one could tell that , uh, because as you mentioned, the way, the way you, in fact manipulate those viruses today is not in the old way. We should leave telltale locks . It's in various other ways, which don't leave any marks. In fact, that the best way to get a virus to attack a human cells, you take it from an animal, a you , you get it to infect , say humanize mice. And, and most of the time the virus is conduit . They will die. But you know, to one in a bit of , they don't have a sort of lucky mutation that lets it sort of mildly infected humanized mice . So then you, the progeny of that virus and you put them again into mice , it's called , um , serial passage called serial passage. It will pass and show you, you just keep moving the virus from, from one culture to the next. And what you end up with is, is a virus very well adapted to attack human cells. And what's happening is a natural selection has done all the heavy lifting. And there's no way by just by looking at that virus that you can tell whether that happened through naturally in the wild, all through a VAR of virus , just doing serial passage in a lab. So this very influential, lesser in mainstream medicine was assuring the public of something that the righteous could not possibly know.

Speaker 2:

Could it have been a bio weapon?

Speaker 1:

I didn't, I didn't think so. Isn't it. There's no evidence of that. I mean, what is, what is possible? And we said , he didn't know this for sure is that there was some , uh , ministry of biology efforts going on in the background and , and very, very possibly they will direct you toward creating a vaccine against coronavirus. And this is not in particular suicide is what our ministry would do. If, if , uh, if they found some quite dangerous virus that was sort of at large in your population, think

Speaker 2:

In fact they are doing it and do it routinely to get ahead of these viruses for soldiers, because apparently in the Spanish flu, there were more soldiers killed by the Spanish flu than, than , uh, than the war .

Speaker 1:

Yeah, of course , of course you need to protect your own enforces . So I didn't see if there were mandatory involvement . You know , I didn't see any sacred scandal that you mentioned

Speaker 2:

The spittles receiving the early patients are clustered around the Wu Han number two subway line, which connects the Institute of neurology at one end with the international airport at the other, right. It was really critical piece of evidence here.

Speaker 1:

What is a very interesting finding? I, it needs to be confirmed because , uh , I think it hasn't, it hasn't been published in a journal yet. It was by

Speaker 2:

Steven [inaudible] a physician researcher who's applied statistical and bio informatics tools to , uh, ingenious explorations of the virus, viruses, origin.

Speaker 1:

Yes, very she , I mean, he looks at all the hospitals in Willingham to which the first patients were taken and he found that all the hospitals were near subway stops on the, on the number two subway line, which is interesting because at one end, it is [inaudible] and at the other end is the instinctual airport. So if lab work is at the Institute or got infected and we're commuting number two , the subway line, this is so perfect conveyor belt. So distributing the virus to the rest of the world, which of course is just what happened.

Speaker 2:

There are so many people reading your essay and so many people , um, who are calling for further investigations by the world health organization. Um, because I think now there is beginning to be, I should be careful how I characterize it. Is there a consensus? I don't know, but there are certainly a large number of former defense, biological experts to the scientific community analysts like yourself who really think that all roads lead to the Wu Han lab. I'll ask you the, the obvious, why is it important now that we really understand where COVID-19 originated and whether it did indeed come from gain of function experiments in that lab?

Speaker 1:

Oh, well , I think we really need to know, but because of the policies that would follow from the two possibilities, I mean, if it came from the lab, we need to, you know , make sure we take a very hard look at gain of function, experiments all around the world, not

Speaker 2:

Were banned , which were abandoned the United States at a certain point, right? And then the, another administrative presidential administration came in and then it allowed them to take place again and gain a function are done in parts of Europe, just not only Asia,

Speaker 1:

Right? They were under a U S are joined from 2014 to 2017. And it's a very interesting question. Maybe I'll never start as to why the U S government continues to fund the workout, but we'll, [inaudible] throughout this moratorium and thereafter. But in any case, if, if, if the violence really did escape from the lab, then we need to take Ray hot look at okay, with function experiments. If he did not escape the lab, he came from natural emergence . Then we need to, we double our efforts to find the sources of these nurses

Speaker 2:

Left here with the Chinese government. They're not going to supply all the records in the lab. They're not allowing even journalists to go to the cave to investigate the origins of this , um, without , uh , without , uh , uh , uh, coming clean , uh, because they don't want to accept responsibility for sparking a pandemic. Um, the , the world health organization is discredited to some degree in its initial investigation. Um, are we ever going to get to the bottom of this or do you think we're kind of there now?

Speaker 1:

I think we're at one bottom right now, which is, we probably got all the information or Sandy information we're going to get until, or unless the Chinese, as you say, come clean. But I think that that's very interesting flowback position. You can envisage for them, which is to say, okay, we did have an accident around lap , just like you do in Western every place else. But look who funded this research. It was the American government. Um, so it's just our bad luck that the accident took place on. Uh , soil is really a sort of a global problem. I think, I think they might sort of play, you can imagine them playing that card if there's a sufficient story of protest in the west, if that cover-up story falls apart, if people start to sort of see the obvious, that is much more probable, the virus came from my lab . If you put enough pressure on them, I think you might generate internal pressures in China because you know , that scientist is just like add some of them , some of them honest and would like the truth to come out. You might generate depression, which is fallback position becomes profitable from an then of course, everyone would be much further ahead. It would establish a degree of trust between China and the Western Rigo . So starting a new leaf, if that wasn't too Panglossian however, it's not going to happen to Susan that's for sure.

Speaker 2:

Certainly more plausible than the frozen food imported , uh , suggestion that they've been floating, whatever spin doctor spun that needs a new job, but look, Nicholas , thank you so much. Great peace and amazing research. And we really appreciate your time. Thanks so much. And now a letter from 24 scientists around the world has been released, demanding a new investigation into the origins of COVID and demanding that the world health organization look into the lab in Wu Han yield demand is in New Zealand. Hi Sheila. Hi, good morning. Good morning. Look, this is such an interesting letter because it goes much further than just demanding a new investigation, but it lays the groundwork , uh , in terms of why denials by the Chinese, that this lab could have been involved in any way, sound pretty hollow. When you take a look at some of the facts, would you agree?

Speaker 4:

Yes. I mean, some of the flux we listings there and we've done an awful lot of research, you know , but something like 10 months now, some of the facts are fairly obvious. I mean, at best shows that there's some , uh , withdrawal of information. Uh, sometimes blatant lies too . Uh , and, and that's not really conductive to, you know, things that, if they're very honest about what attending us , you know, without prejudice to what's exactly reaching staff. So don't use it 2d . It's not really consistent with what we would expect, especially since there are now free on death, you know,

Speaker 2:

All right, you're not a geneticist, you're not a epidemiologist, but you were a data analyst from a group now called drastic, which as I understand is an international team of scientists and attempting to fill in gaps on COVID origins. W w what is the background on drastic? How did this get going?

Speaker 4:

Um, let's say that first of all, yes. I'm a member of drastic. I'm a member, I'm a member too , of what's called the Paris group and , uh , where we're quite different from anybody , um , in possible drastic and Periscope is that we actually, we got people from very different backgrounds. And , um, for what we're suggesting is , which is really a forensic investigation of potential of a lab related accident. You need people from very different backgrounds. Um, my side, and I'm not the only one in drastic. My side is more that analysis, getting the debt hat finding was the data is making sense of it. It's , it's pretty much like , uh , you know, stand up intelligence or sentimentalist , uh , basically you go find the data. Um , most of it is just available on your Chinese internet, if you're not what to find it, and you translate it, you look at it, you compile it and you make a hypothesis. And obviously eventually you publish your research and you put it out there for discussion.

Speaker 2:

Let's talk about data because what's, what's important. Um, in terms of you being able to , uh, assess and access data is the fact that the Chinese had this lab on Wu Han , which was for most of the time was online. I understand before COVID broke out and they're sampling , uh, of, of bad viruses and what they were doing with them was at one point public, what happened to that?

Speaker 4:

Well , it wasn't free public. Let's say that the database actually about 15 day to day basis , uh , and one was a big one. The main one , uh , was very important. Uh, and these databases , uh , the , uh , private and public , um , portion of it was a public portion was typically viruses and samples that they felt was okay to actually render public, but by the private section and a private section was typically for what they were working on, especially they didn't want people to actually look at what they're working on or what they could still work on and go and write it on papers. So, you know, I mean , scientists are like this, but not going to give them real materials that they went and sampled in some, in some mine or other places. So what is this?

Speaker 2:

Is this the one that had 22,000 samples of virus ?

Speaker 4:

Exactly. So someone said what public, because they already published about them, or it was okay for them to release them. But, you know, at all time they had a section which was private and a private section. You are to ask the permission. You have to ask a very specific question to them , typically to Shanghai and ask how they can access the data. What do you ask that maybe they would let you know what the answer , but typically scientists do not want someone to come in, look at what they have , write a paper and, you know, run away with the papers. That's not the way if

Speaker 2:

You have the password, if you have the password yeah.

Speaker 4:

You need basically a password. So all of these new viruses that they sort of were working on typically anywhere were not made public, there were in that private section. Um, but a lot of things was to make public because that published about it or what , but it was okay to actually, you know, release it. Um , but what happened effectively in September, 2019, actually on the 12th of September, 2019 , is that, that the tab is which actually had been funded partly by so European community called evac , um, that, that Tibet is just was taken offline and that's it. And all the fits into two basis, part of that family of the tendencies were taken offline today. There's no thing left of any of the data. Uh, also WIB , nothing is online, it's all gone,

Speaker 2:

Right ? It doesn't mean it's gone, but it's not online.

Speaker 4:

It's not online. You can't access it. They're not going to tell you when we're going to release it. They're just telling you or sorry, because they're just telling you that some actors web as a key point to get to the database, or they took it offline. And that makes no sense because when Ben said out by city , it was touring , you know, we had to take it off during the pandemics, but actually they took it offline

Speaker 2:

22,000 samples of bat of virus sequences, including 15,000 from bats and covered 1400 bat viruses is taken offline in September. This is months before COVID is officially announced by the Chinese, in terms of their cases in December. Is that by itself a little suspicious?

Speaker 4:

Well, it certainly is a bit odd. Now you have to, you know, when you look at, you know, it's all about data, you know, you collect the facts , you collect information and you try to interpret it. Uh, sometime it's better not to try to push it too far. I mean, this case, you know, maybe there was something, some good reason for them to take it off. Um, ah , possibly that's possible, but I cannot conclude that today. What is true is that they never put it back and you know, about premium people bed. Everybody wants to have access to these two . I could check it out. No , you'll not have access. I mean, that's a basic stuff that you would ask, is that okay? No , give us access, put it on a USB drive. If you want, if you're afraid that someone is going to lag it.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I don't want to go too far down this, down this conspiracy idea with the Chinese in this database, but what's important here in order to understand it in context is that , that they are doing experiments in this lab , uh, that involve Corona virus , uh, sampling and sequencing. And they are at one point strengthening those viruses in their experiments. And now people want to know, well, did you, did that lead you to COVID-19 show us your data, show us what you were doing inside the lab. The database has been taken offline and that information has disappeared.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Ben said , but remember Tuesday , what are the Chinese telling us today? They're telling us that we've got to go and simple. We've got to go in simple , uh, in Thailand , uh , in all the countries and everywhere, but let's, let's just think about it. They already have a lot of samples available in that database and they're not public. So before they tell us to go and sample , why don't they just show us what they have in a database? I mean, that's not very difficult, you know,

Speaker 2:

Why did , why didn't it , why didn't the , who asked for that in demand that, and how could the, who come to a conclusion that it was unlikely that the lab was involved in the outbreak of COVID-19? How can they come to that?

Speaker 4:

That's a different issue. You know, you , you need to look very objectively just at the facts that you see. I mean, we see the database that has been taken offline. We see the tables , which is essential for understanding what's going on. We see. So wh when Shannara saying we need to go and sample. So all I have to say, well, you know, before we go and sample, show us what you having that, that database , we know, by the way said , we have a family of that eight , uh , viruses in that database sequence, which are very close to actually right . Teach your thirteens or closest, you know, virus known to date , uh , to [inaudible] . So, I mean, we already know that we have very Claus , uh, verus is they're very close to , uh , Sasquatch between away. Uh, why don't you just show us what you are ? What's the point of going to Thailand spend 10 years to try to get something which may never be as cloud, that , that just show us what you have in the database. This is just common, common sense, not what happened during doing the sort of, you know, sort of visit of sir John teammate , who Han is that , uh , basically very simply picked up the vac , uh, just told the teams that he knew what was in the database. And there was no point looking at it only problem. He said that when he said that, he said that the database was actually an Excel spreadsheet, not , I just don't know. You can put, you know, sequences, which are tense. Hasn't let us log into the spreadsheet. It makes no sense whatsoever. You don't. I think you need ,

Speaker 2:

This is [inaudible] , let's stop for a second. You're referring to Peter Densic was involved in the who investigation. And he's also involved in lancets COVID 19 commission. These are the only two investigations now that are running a year and a half after the outbreak of a world pandemic. And he was involved in funding this lab from, from the United States, he was involved in funding this lab. Uh, it wasn't some would argue he has a very severe conflict of interest in being involved in any investigation of the lab .

Speaker 4:

Well, I think that's correct. Um, but you know, I mean, people will tell you is that, you know, most virologists today would have a conflict of interest in one way or another. So , because the fact is that most of the cutting edge research was being done , uh , in Houlihan on Corona viruses for the simple reasons that basically, you know, for a few years, I couldn't do it in a state and anywhere else. So basically, you know , the same ways that we export, you know, a lot of our stuff to be done in China and that research was done in China. Uh , but you know, we've monitored from, from the , uh , us taxpayers. So yeah ,

Speaker 2:

These are gain of function, experiments.

Speaker 4:

Again, not functioning is one way, but it started maybe not with going to affection is that it was traditional research and then moved into effectively the latest grants where effectively in 2018 , 19, where if it could be very explicitly moving towards scan function . But once again, this is not just bitter that actually decided to go and do that. It's NIH, which decided to go and do that. And I was done with us taxpayers money because we offloaded, you know, the U S that the off-road , it is research with China. That that's very clear. Um, and yes, it's, there's certainly a conflict of interest. I mean , you could say, but there two ways of defining a conflict of interest, one is the theoretical conflict of interest. It was a one is a very practical and realize conflict of interest. And I think that when someone goes and says that she knows database is fine, because actually it's an Excel spreadsheet and there's nothing to look at. You know , there's nothing in it of any interest, especially when you ask them to access, to sort of, you know, sort of portion, which was password protected anyway. Uh , and , and when it's not an Excel spreadsheet, because you can't ever put all that data in , in a structured way , in an Excel spreadsheet, in a way, it makes no sense whatsoever that someone says something like this in such an investigation for me is a bit surprising. And I may ask is that, you know , theoretical conflict of interest or , or realized conflict

Speaker 2:

Of interest in the letter, you are not only asking for access to the lab, but you want access to the mojo, hang mine, where in April, 2012, there six men contracts , severe pneumonia with COVID 19 like symptoms. Um, they are sent to hospital, three of them eventually die. Uh , and those labs samples then are worked on and the Wu Han lab. Is that correct?

Speaker 4:

That's great . So , um, what happened is that , um, two died quite early and after the second one died because , uh, Joel Nanshan, which was at the time, the specialties for any , um , and on and on , cause he was a year old and they called him in and you all do it effective is that two to four patients at west utilize tool . One of them for not the renal , but for patients that were still alive, you ordered them to be tested. And some of the tests were done , uh , at a [inaudible] and actually they came back positive for four IgG , basically, which means you don't pass infection with some core in Alliance

Speaker 2:

With some Corona virus. Yes . Yes . Where is that information now? And the sequencing that was done in the lab with that information afterwards, because that seems to be a smoking that seems to be a smoking gun in this.

Speaker 4:

Well, at least that means the sequencing was done. The test was done and, you know, sort of receptors, which are much as a target in this case. No , that would be the sauce like Corona virus , then that basically tested positive. Um, um , to go back to your question, you know, this is again a case of, you know , so who and China is saying, we need to go , uh , and simple and , um, Chinese saying, well, let's go and sample in Thailand and the station so on. But if you look at it, actually, where are again, so closest thyroids to Saskatoon welfare, all thumbs up mine . So before we go in Thailand, why don't we go back to the line ? I mean, the first one,

Speaker 2:

Mine were many Corona virus samples were collected from and well documented outbreaks .

Speaker 4:

Well , all the closest one . I mean, you know, if someone gets killed at the corner of your street, you're not going to go, you know, to another city to actually look for clues , you go back to the corner of the street. I mean, that's fairly logical. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So , I mean , [inaudible] in your letter, which is very striking something else in your letter, which is very striking , says, striking says that staff at the Wu hand labs were all tested negative for COVID-19 for SARS. COVID two antibodies. Um, statistically , um, you say that this is unlikely given that there were more than 590 staff and students at the lab, and about 4.4% of the Wu Han urban population test positive around that time. This is during the outbreak of COVID. Even if only 85 people were tested, the chance of no positive test would still be less than 4%. How can the contradiction be explained? So you're saying you believe what up that people indeed had tested positive in the lab and the Chinese don't want to say it.

Speaker 4:

Well, let me tell you, because the Chinese have been very careful not to say exactly anything precise so that you contact the pizza. So they never say how many people work, you test it. It's very vague. So the best you'll find is in some declaration based students and staff at the WFE I've been tested, they all came back negative. Uh, in some of the colorations space say students and staff in, she gently unit were tested and you know , most of the creation basis, you don't end stuff in full labs. They went to or visited or talked to were tested and they all came back negative. So basically it's very difficult to actually understand what they're saying. So faculties, if you want talk to you , look at the possibilities that someone got infected in that blob . And given that it's an airborne, you know , virus , uh , very easily, you know, I mean, if you , for example, one of the filters , uh , in , in , in the lab was out of service. Anybody done wind farms that lab could get infected. So really what you need to do is to actually simple , everybody, not just a team, which she generally was, but everybody in the labs , the childrens , even the temporary temporary workers, because we know that some temporary workers were on the 15th betters, Don Wade downwind from the lab, 15 meters downwind from the lab that barracks down there for temporary workers. So everybody down there really should be tested. Okay. Now, if we take it to the maximum, which is about 590, so a chance of negative given the preventing effectively , um, or currents of, of , um, uh, COVID-19 at a time, which was 4.4%, according to Chinese peppers . So probability of nobody testing positive is, but one, you know , one 10th of a billion. Okay. It's mathematical of

Speaker 2:

A billion. Yes. Well ,

Speaker 4:

That's mathematical it's , what's called binomial, basically distribution. Um, I won't go into the details, but if you crunch the numbers, it's about one third of a billion now, and you can look at it. Okay. So maybe we were a bit lazy, but didn't do the right job. You know, they just tested , you know, 20 , is there , you know, maybe a few more and maybe so we'll ask them maybe 80 people, you know, effectively, that's a bit lazy. That's not good in us . They should do a better job, but even if they tasted 80 people. So chances of nobody testing positive is around 3.5%, less than 4%. And not only, it's still very small, but in any case, they wouldn't have tested correctly. They should have tested more people. Uh, there are many scenarios, by the way, it's not just , um, you know, it , it can actually be, what's called a lab, acquired infection, meaning someone in the lab, someone directly in the lab doing experiments. If it was an experiment, it could be someone in a , in a Maria , which is common. You know, I mean, that happened in Beijing. Some people got infected, but we're not directly working with SASCO with SAS at the time, but they were sharing premises with people that working on SAS . So you have to test quite generally, you have to test even done with, because I mean, even if there's , let's say , um , liquid waste or, you know, problem with drainage, you need to test around, you need to test all the teams that went and actually sampled , uh, in these , uh, uh, in , in worshiping and elsewhere. So actually that's quite a few people to sample , uh , to , to test really is that w that would be the first thing you would be doing normally to where doing things seriously , you would actually list everybody who's gone , uh , sampling in a world. You would be listing. Everybody has been present in a lab and you would test everybody.

Speaker 2:

Well , what do you make of, let me ask you another thing. What do you make of Stephen? Quaye a physician researcher. Um, do you know him? So he has done a S he has done a study now, statistical study, which shows hospitals receiving the early patients of COVID-19 in China are all clustered along the subway line number two. And that is relevant because that subway line runs from the Wu Han lab to the airport. What do you do , um , and

Speaker 4:

Cost to the market to enclose? The river of course , is a river. And of course one , okay . Well, it makes a lot of sense. I mean, if you remember what happened, you know, let's say we've SaaS , uh , uh, transport, public transport is usually a huge , um, facilitators of infection. Uh, so usually if you really want to try to understand the dynamics, you look at public transport and you look at places where people are very tight together, lack a market , especially Chinese markets. Like when markets in China, I don't know whether you've been to any, but I think it's quite tight. You know, it's quite tight, but not much. Certainly it's very humid, there's water everywhere. And there's a lot of people there and it's not very clean. Uh, so these are the places where, you know , people will move in and out and that's typically effectively what could park a Papa infection. So I think it makes a lot of sense effectively that maybe so line number two , um, played a role and it could explain why effectively, eventually the virus spread to that market. Uh , no, I think we know, actually we know, since February, 2020, that's a market, most likely is not where it started. It's just a place where it wasn't purified. There was actually a very interesting paper published on 22nd of February , 2020 by actually a Chinese team, which actually just say, guys , just that meant , just say it, you know, actually it's not from the market, cannot be from the market. So actually we noticed that for more than a year now. I mean, there's nothing new. Is there , I mean, you know, within less than two months , uh, people already had concluded it couldn't be from market, but most likely it wasn't from the market. So yes, line number two would certainly I've played at them , could have played a major role. Uh, and it certainly points to the potential of imagines . [inaudible] , um , maybe closer to the WWE , maybe closer to one of the purely military hospitals, which is one of the disease that Dr. Quinn has been mentioned in quite a bit, because he's also funds and actually , um, see early , um, specific viruses is the earliest one. We're not actually at a market. They seem to be coming back to cases , uh , which were treated in military hospital.

Speaker 2:

What does that tell us if they had early cases treated at a military hospital?

Speaker 5:

Well, that's

Speaker 4:

Actually a fun, some interesting things there, which actually seems to show us that the Metreat spittle was actually feeding , treating early cases. Uh, so that wouldn't now is that okay? And that's , you know , we're talking about collecting data and trying to make sense of it. The first thing we have is to collect the data. So interpretation is always something that can be discussed and people may say, well, it's just, you know, coincidence, whatever. But the fact is there's data that shows if activities that it's not the only cases, very early cases, we certainly as precocious or of , of the actual , uh , virus or the oldest one, we know certainly go back to that militarist . But also that could make sense. I mean, if you believe certifically that there were cases in November as, as , uh , so us , uh , um , intelligence services have been saying, if you believe that free people, for example, at a lab technicians at the lab , um , fell ill as you know, was , um, uh, disclosed some time ago, then yes, he could make sense, but you know, that's one interpretation. That's one way of putting things

Speaker 2:

You're talking one month before the Chinese officially announced it in December, that they had cases in November,

Speaker 4:

What actually is a challenge. It's never really actually I knowledge is that we had cases in November, the Chinese have put a wall, they put a rule and the rule that it put in places that there is more case in November, they will never tell you there's a case in November. They will never for simple reasons that if I did so then their stories that it started, you know, in, in Spain, in France, in , in , in the UK or in Italy or wherever, and just basically ended up being one , all that story obviously would be proved the recruiting company nonsense.

Speaker 2:

But the Chinese, I also would say that people like you , um, you know, are just trying to cook up some, some conspiracy against them , uh, and that they have cooperated with the who, and they have been, I guess they might say they've been open and transparent. Um, and that the origins of COVID came from another country, maybe in frozen food, you've been working on this for a year or more. What do you say? I mean , what's , what's realistic.

Speaker 4:

Um , you know , the reality is that I think nobody really believes that the way exactly transparent. I think Dr. Tedros, as [inaudible] , who himself said, he was very disappointed that there was not the , that is needed to the data. Um , and once again, this is about data, you know, myself, I'm that analyst, I believe in data, give me the data. That's all I ask for , uh, you know, expert opinion with the data is nothing. When someone, you know, writes a letter and tells you, oh, we know that these VCs , uh , as has been done in Landsats or somewhere else, that's expected opinion with the data it's worth nothing. Okay. It was nothing. You have to have better expert opinion with our data is nothing. Let's go and get the data. That's what rustic has done for, you know , a year. Now we go and get two data and we actually show the data. Uh , we work from data , um, and we don't , uh , if you know, what we would like to see is effectively , uh , so real data, but the cases in November, we know that it exists because south China morning post actually saw it and reported about it . And there were nine cases which were confirmed , uh , in , in November 1st one in on the 17th, but not the only one. There were four men , uh , five women, there were four mapping , 39 or 46 to 70 something. So quite edge people, which means, and that these are the ones. When did you know spittle? So realistically that's about at least six to 10 times more people got infected. So in November I would have been at least 60 people already infected. And we knows that. I mean, that's, I mean, everybody knows that even Peter and Barrick basically pointed to that reality is that there must be November cases. So problem is that China basically would rather cut off its legs. Whereas on says that there are cases in November, but this it's a Sharad . I think everybody knows there must be cases in November.

Speaker 2:

It's a charade. Okay. Um, w where do you think this ends? I mean, you you've called on the Chinese to provide the data. There are many more people , uh, who are saying, look, this, this story is doesn't float. Um, th there has to be more experimentation from that lab that , that you , you need to come clean on. You need to show us what you did in the lab. Um, the Chinese have put up a wall on all of this, but, you know , slowly, it seems like the new SIS tightening in the sense that evidence does trickle out and there is a trail to follow. Um, and it just doesn't end here with Chinese denials. I mean, the investigations will continue and the demands for transparency will continue.

Speaker 4:

It definitely to be, and we'd get more data. Um, is there a reality, is that, you know , the Chinese are fairly good that we moved in data, but usually that would be behind us , uh , continued, you know , drastic, usually fine , but big data gets there and I'm finding not before the Chinese has got the chance to remove it, and you can't actually get data. Uh , and very interesting. And I think we can still do a lot on that side. Let's do the biological argument. We're actually , uh , researchers looking at it from the biological, from the general point of view and trying to basically test a few ideas there. So there's that side of the argument, which is more driven by biological arguments and [inaudible] arguments , which address addressed . And also I've been working on , uh , and best , you know , you don't need to be in China to get the data. And so reality , uh, you know , uh , so wh short on team in China certainly did what they could with the data. They are the investment . We made some progress, I would say, on, on the standards on those, these pathways. But if you want to investigate as a lab, relate to that student pathway, you know, it's better to do it actually from outside China, honestly, another thing to be able to do much from China,

Speaker 2:

Geo thank you so much for your time. And , uh, I have a funny feeling. We'll be talking to you again again , and I really do appreciate all of your insights and your perspective on this and a year and a half into a world pandemic. We should know how it started, and we don't know.

Speaker 4:

We should know. I think that everybody should ask for it . I think we need to put pressure on our governments to actually ask the right questions. We can't just put, you know, premium, dead under the carpet and pretend it didn't happen. And if we don't actually solve this problem, you know, maybe in 10 years time or five years' time, that'd be star three and you know, nothing is resolved and you might be even worse. You know ? So we , we have to think about these just like beginning of nuclear energy in the U S and in Europe, we make a few mistakes. We vertically , you know, have a few problems. Eventually we sorts of problem. I think it's time to solve the issues that we're saying . Thank you. Thanks for the origin students

Speaker 3:

Of COVID-19. The trail is not cool . It seems to be getting warmer all the time. The Chinese have been unable to shut down, increasing demands for more access and information on the Wu Han labs gain of function, experiments on Corona viruses. It would be cliche to say, we may never know how this pandemic started, because most scientists believe we will get to the bottom of this, despite any attempts to cover it up. I'm Dana Lewis. Thanks for listening to backstory. We ask you to subscribe to the podcast. If you haven't already, and please share, and I'll talk to you again soon.

Nicholas Wade/ Science Writer
Gilles Demaneuf/ DRASTIC