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New fake "evidence" allegedly proving yet again that the pandemic originated at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan just dropped
This threadbare theory of pandemic origins is totally impossible, but Kristian Andersen, Angela Rasmussen and their fellow pandemic misinformation artists will never stop trying to make it a thing.
The Atlantic has published an extremely dumb article by Katherine J. Wu purporting to provide The Strongest Evidence Yet That an Animal Started the Pandemic. It is everything weary veterans of the ongoing Zoonosis Bullshit Propagation Campaign have learned to loathe – meaningless findings from mendacious misinformation artists like Kristian Andersen and Angela Rasmussen, purporting to show SARS-CoV-2 entered humans via a spillover event at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, generating unwarranted overconfident wrong headlines in major American media.
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A new analysis of genetic sequences collected from the market shows that raccoon dogs being illegally sold at the venue could have been carrying and possibly shedding the virus at the end of 2019. It’s some of the strongest support yet, experts told me, that the pandemic began when SARS-CoV-2 hopped from animals into humans, rather than in an accident among scientists experimenting with viruses.
“This really strengthens the case for a natural origin,” says Seema Lakdawala, a virologist at Emory University who wasn’t involved in the research. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist involved in the research, told me, “This is a really strong indication that animals at the market were infected. There’s really no other explanation that makes any sense.”
It gets worse:
The genetic sequences were pulled out of swabs taken in and near market stalls around the pandemic’s start. They represent the first bits of raw data that researchers outside of China’s academic institutions and their direct collaborators have had access to. Late last week, the data were quietly posted by researchers affiliated with the country’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, on an open-access genomic database called GISAID. By almost pure happenstance, scientists in Europe, North America, and Australia spotted the sequences, downloaded them, and began an analysis.
So, we are supposed to believe that Chinese public health authorities “quietly” uploaded data laced with evidence allegedly favouring the seafood market origins hypothesis, and within days “by almost pure happenstance” creepy virologoids like Andersen and Rasmussen spotted this Easter egg and “began an analysis” leading to a paper and headlines in the Atlantic. This sounds like a completely legitimate path of inquiry to me. It does not sound at all like specific theses favoured by Chinese authorities being laundered through Western scientists and landing overnight in our major press outlets.
Within about half a day of downloading the data from GISAID [Kristian Andersen, Edward Holmes, and Michael Worobey] and their collaborators discovered that several market samples that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 were also coming back chock-full of animal genetic material—much of which was a match for the common raccoon dog, a small animal related to foxes that has a raccoon-like face. Because of how the samples were gathered, and because viruses can’t persist by themselves in the environment, the scientists think that their findings could indicate the presence of a coronavirus-infected raccoon dog in the spots where the swabs were taken. Unlike many of the other points of discussion that have been volleyed about in the origins debate, the genetic data are “tangible,” Alex Crits-Christoph, a computational biologist and one of the scientists who worked on the new analysis, told me. “And this is the species that everyone has been talking about.”
While zoonotic theories of SARS-CoV-2 origins are not very likely, they’re not, strictly speaking, impossible. What is impossible, though, is this stupid subgenre of the zoonosis theory which insists that the spillover event happened in December 2019 at this market. We now have solid evidence that Corona was circulating around the world as early as September 2019 – months before this December outbreak happened at all. Raccoon dogs sold at the market might well have been carrying Covid, which they would’ve picked up from their human handlers. Who cares?
On Tuesday, the researchers presented their findings at a hastily scheduled meeting of the World Health Organization’s Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens, which was also attended by several of the Chinese researchers responsible for the original analysis, according to multiple researchers who were not present but were briefed about it before and after by multiple people who were there. Shortly after the meeting, the Chinese team’s preprint went into review at a Nature Research journal—suggesting that a new version was being prepared for publication.
I see. The Chinese scientists who did the quiet uploading of data and the Western virologists who found their quietly uploaded data purely by happenstance are in fact open collaborators now.
Nobody but the already-convinced and low-information casual readers will believe this. The story is only interesting insofar as it shows that there are still people inside China invested in propping up the Seafood Market theory. As I noted in my review of Viral, this theory has received subtle and very elaborate support from actors in China since the earliest days of the pandemic. This support has included deleting key items from publicly accessible databases to confuse the chronology of the earliest infections, orchestrating the entire pangolin host myth, and apparently also inducing Western scientists to publish misleading papers at semi-regular intervals.
Any plausible case for natural spillover has to lean heavily on the early, unrecognised circulation of SARS-2 beyond China since September 2019 at the latest. Officially sanctioned theories can’t take this step, because it would amount to admitting that the virus was everywhere for many months, without any hospitals melting down or any noticeable mortality spikes spikes at all. And so we’ll just have to hear about the late and meaningless Huanan Seafood Market outbreak over and over again, probably until the present generation of virological frauds and failures retires.
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