Full Version: The early days of SARS-COV-2
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I found this article in Science Magazine interesting (but rather technical).  As you may remember, the earliest known person infected with SARS-COV-2 first got symptoms on 1 Dec 2019.  As I recall, based on a 2-week period from infection to symptoms, the focus on finding how he got infected look at the range of 17 Nov to 1 Dec.  A prior infection was never found.  There was no evidence of this known case getting directly infected from either a person or animal.  As you may be aware, this first known case had no known direct connection to the market associated with many of the early cases.

This article looks at possible scenarios for how the virus jumped to humans and spread.  The virus genomes found in Hubei in late December/early January suggest they came from a common ancestor in November (more or less).  The article considers one or more earlier variants (perhaps less transmissable or less virulent) that went extinct before late December.

Looking at the epidemiology, the article considers where the virus originated.  Less transmissable variants would likely die out in a rural setting.  (That doesn't mean that the initial known case didn't get it in a rural area - I'm not aware of any such exposure.)

The article suggests that zoonotic pathogens may jump from species to species more frequently than we notice but frequently die out.  Denser urban areas permit the pathogen to establish itself with a higher populations. 

[The article quotes a March newspaper article saying the government traced the disease back to 17 November.  I believe that newspaper article misinterpreted what they saw.  I used Google Translate in February and March to look at the Chinese-language news & internet postings.  The government launched an intensive search looking for evidence of the disease in the period beginning 17 November.  No evidence was ever reported of any finding of any earlier case.  It was not stated,  but I took that date to be the 2-week incubation period before the first symptoms, as was generally recognized at the time.]

The article does not consider that an earlier variant might have had a longer incubation period.  (Not that I think that likely.)
interesting--thanks MT.  

I find it plausible that diseases jump species often, and that when this happens in crowded places--particularly those with high human-animal interations--the odds of a "successful" transplant taking off rise simply based on the sheer number of opportunities.
Another early days of the COVID-19 SARS-2 virus, and how it originated.
(05-11-2021, 04:37 PM)Mick Wrote: [ -> ]Another early days of the COVID-19 SARS-2 virus, and how it originated.

This “theory” is not new. Many of the technical points were popularized by from Li-Meng Yan and have already been addressed by experts months ago:

I think the responsible statement on this subject is along the lines of:
“One of Yan’s earliest vocal critics, virologist Angela Rasmussen, who was at Columbia when Yan’s paper first spread, agreed with WHO’s assessment but did not rule out the possibility — however unlikely — of laboratory origin for the coronavirus. But she said the argument lacks concrete evidence.

“There needs to be a lot less speculation and a lot more investigation,” said Rasmussen, now an affiliate at Georgetown’s Center for Global Health Science and Security. “It takes a really long time to figure this stuff out... This is going to take years or even decades to solve it, if we ever do.””

Incidentally, a good background on Yan’s claims and her many political tie-ins was covered by the Washington Post:

Sadly, we live in a time when some people claim they will present proof of a massive conspiracy “very soon,” and when their claims are disproven, they simply claim even bigger evidence is coming “very soon.” Over and over, and people don’t seem to catch onto the pattern.

Let the scientists investigate and do their work, and publish their findings in a peer-reviewed journal.
Related to this discussion, and either side might claim it supports their side:
a very similar Coronavirus was found in bats in Cambodia.

Quote:Metagenomic sequencing identified nearly identical viruses sharing 92.6% nucleotide identity with SARS-CoV-2. Most genomic regions are closely related to SARS-CoV-2, with the exception of a small region corresponding to the spike N terminal domain.

The previously-found close relative was 93.3% identical.
Don McNeil, quarter century with the New York Times, doesn't rule out the lab origination theory, much as he'd like to do so:

Why the Covid-19 'Lab Leak Theory" Needs Another Look | Medium
(05-17-2021, 09:29 PM)Mick Wrote: [ -> ]Don McNeil, quarter century with the New York Times, doesn't rule out the lab origination theory, much as he'd like to do so:

Why the Covid-19 'Lab Leak Theory" Needs Another Look | Medium

not a super-comforting analysis of Wuhan lab hygiene...
Pretty sewage-ready "analysis". The 2nd word of the article is "bombshell", which pretty much seals the deal as far as the trustworthiness of the article. (Did you notice the picture of the "fridge-freezer with a flimsy loose seal" is actually a large freezer with 3 separate compartments and a 2-level (inner & outer) door (behind the person shown) with an exterior latch visible on the left side (not too unlike this one). The seal is on each compartment's door. It seems the caption is noting what looks like some mechanism (a piece of tape perhaps) that keeps condensation that forms above the refrigeration compartment from dripping down onto the top of the compartment door or into the refrigeration compartment.

This is telling: "Billy Bostickson, an anonymous researcher from DRASTIC,...". Huh?

While I would not trust this "The Sun" article, that doesn't mean that what it is alleging isn't possible. It just I wouldn't trust the alleged data or connections from such a source.

The earlier Medium article is much more responsible.
The truly sad thing is that we may never know the true origin.   In addition to China not fully opening up the lab to investigators (that is my interpretation right now), this morning I read (WSJ, I believe) that most of the animals farmed in the area (farms that supply the market in question) have been destroyed without testing.
If this topic is of interest,
The Last—And Only—Foreign Scientist in the Wuhan Lab Speaks Out
is probably worth the read.
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