Monday, July 26, 2021

Wuhan Horseshoe Bats linked to COVID

In 2010 American virologist Ralph Baric approached Zhengli Shi. Baric is an expert in coronaviruses and Shi, at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, had been finding them in bat caves.

Chinese work was carried out at biosafety level 2 (BSL-2), a far lower tier than Baric’s BSL-3+.
Baric developed a way to bring a virus to life from its genetic code, and he could mix and match parts of multiple viruses. He wanted to take the “spike” gene and move it into a genetic copy of the SARS virus. The spike molecule lets a coronavirus open a cell and get inside. The resulting chimera would attach to human cells. The chimera (a chimera genome contains genetic material from two strains of virus.) exhibited “robust replication” in humans.

If it had been transmitted like SARS-CoV-2, “we would have had a pandemic with a 10% mortality rate,” Baric said.
Chinese work created enhanced SARS-like viruses, whose risk to humans was unknown. In 2002–03 SARS broke out in China, infecting 8,000. That disease didn’t spread from one person to another until after severe symptoms began to appear, making it easier to corral. 774 people died.

Zhengli Shi the 'Bat Lady'
People should not be looking at bat viruses in BSL-2 labs. Zhengli Shi said she followed Chinese rules. Since the pandemic began, Baric said little about the origins of the virus. In May 2020 he said “speculation about accidental laboratory escape will likely persist, given the large collections of bat virome samples stored in labs in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the facility’s proximity to the early outbreak, and the operating procedures at the facility.”
SARS-CoV-2's closest known relative at 96% is RATG13, which came from a horseshoe bat.
Ebola cannot spread except through body fluids. If Chinese gain of function experiments change that the world is a far more dangerous place.