• Wishful thinking stacked on deception

    As usual, great thread.
    A proper fact-based rebuttal and none of the wishful thinking stacked on deception of @MichaelWorobey or @beyerstein.

    And on the very likely start of the outbreak from mid-Oct to mid-Nov 19 (something accepted by most of the scientific community):

    Also just published:

    "Liang Wannian takes aim at suggestions of strong evidence linking the market with early community transmission"


    I have been reminding everyone that both Chinese scientists (since Feb 20) and Oxford-educated Gao Fu have largely dismissed the market theory (in May 20 and again in July 21 for Gao):

    In doing so Liang Wannian actually confirmed a conclusion of DRASTIC - something that @MichaelWorobey got wrong:

    The dental report of the 8th is not for Mr Chen but likely for his child.

    Why would Mr Chen still have baby teeth?
    Did Michael check it with specialists, as we did?

    As for the cold-like symptoms, DRASTIC is still divided. The language used in the various interviews and medical report is not very clear.

    Somewhere between the 8th and the 16th for sure.

    Anyway Mr Chen did not travel out of Wuhan (except to go to a scenic spot north of the city).

    Nor did he shop in any wet market (RT Mart was a modern foreign-owned supermarket chain).

    So the outbreak had clearly reached the other side of the city by the 16th Dec at the latest.

    Which again makes a mockery of the theory that the first cases started in the market in the second week of December and then spread from there.

    No, the outbreak most likely eventually reached the market a few weeks after starting in the city.

    In particular one should check the Wuhan Uni ABSL-3.

    There is a possible ground zero around there.

    Wuhan Uni ABSL-3 worked with primates and humanized mice with the WIV on EcoHealth funded projects.

    Last ,those who keep saying that SARS-CoV-2 lab infections don't occur can go on a hike, as the Taiwan P3 (Dec 21) and the Beijing P3 (Jan or Feb 20) show.

  • Notes on SAGO composition

    Kathrin Summermatter, about a possible research-related accident:

    “I consider this very unrealistic, a classic conspiracy theory.”

    “Ich erachte das als sehr unrealistisch, eine klassische Verschwörungstheorie.”



    “China has had a very high level of high security laboratories for over ten years. They have frequent inspections and very strict safety standards.”

    “During the Sars epidemic in 2004, employees were infected outside a laboratory. As a result, the biosecurity of laboratories in China has been greatly improved.”

    Well, at least we know where Kathrin stands.
    Great addition to the SAGO team, no doubt.

    Again, Kathrin Summermatter parotting Peter Daszak in 1815.ch/news/wallis/ak…
    "With every new virus, the first hypothesis is that it could have come from a laboratory. However, these speculations are insignficant, they are typical conspiracy theories."

    And again:
    "There are also supposed experts who want to establish themselves and jump on the corona train by spreading theories that have not been tested."
    "Scientific data shows that the starting point of the corona epidemic is an animal market in Wuhan"

    Now Kathrin is the only biosafety expert on SAGO - and she has made her mind about the origins - no doubt whatsoever, while ignoring all the data that show that a research-related accident is fully plausible.

    SAGO is not just about Covid-19 but about future pandemics.

    Sadly, it even gets worse - weirdly worse:

    "But if such documents are not available, that does not mean that work is being done worse"

    (Question: Any COI on being paid for these inspection jobs in China?)

    Then it gets plainly ridiculous.
    Has she ever studied the SARS lab-acquired-infections and the Beijing-Anhui lab-outbreak of 2003-04?

    Of all the biosafety experts, SAGO had to pick up that one.

    See translation of Der Bund article:

    Same logic in Die Neue Zeitung:
    If there is a risk of being infected, you definitely stay at home and isolate yourself first - and the staff, who are usually well trained, know that. She considers it extremely unlikely that a pandemic of this magnitude originated in a laboratory.

    Here is the Neue Zeitung article:

    with a quick translation:

  • Bad logic in Rasmussen and Goldstein's article in the Washington Post

    This article by Angela L. Rasmussen and Stephen A. Goldstein has some basic issues:

    Yes there are markets in Wuhan and it is a transport hub. But that does NOT change the odds of a breakout there against any other major city in China.

    They all have markets and transport links!

    Because the odds are unchanged, you are then back to having to deal with odds that favour a lab accident!

    I covered this fallacy and the odds in my probabilistic paper (see 2.a):

    That market and transport hub line is mostly rationalizing ('just a coincidence'), when having to face facts that may contradict your representation of the world.

    It does not move the odds. Sorry there.

    See also #4 and #5 in:

    The second issue with this article is that it uses the old trope of mixing up the debate of man-made vs natural virus with the lab-related accident hypothesis.

    They are very different issues.
    I took the pain to put this clearly in a table with the Paris Group (3rd letter):

    And we clearly separated that from the possible hypotheses on the virus itself.

    Again it is very annoying to see people who should know better mixing things up and falling into the cognitive dissonance trap of rationalizing.

    #Drastic #ParisGroup

  • Some people never learn

    26 May 2021:
    Peter Daszak: "they call them rumours over there [at the WIV] - we call them conspiracy theories"

    Well at least you made your position clear!
    Just like in Annex D of the report where 'Conspiracy' comes up 4 times.

    And just in case you did not get it, he repeats it few seconds later:

    The he adds 'every now and then they make a statement that is simply not true':

    Just like our statement that bats are bred at the WIV and your statement that this was simply not true:

    The Science letter by Bloom, Baric et al is then dismissed as an irritating idiocy:

    "This letter to Science last week from a number of scientists saying 'We need to investigate the origin', does not that drive you crazy since that is what you're doing?"

    That makes them all laugh, being such a silly letter by conspiracy theorists.

    Then Koopmans tumbles a bit explaining that

    'What else would you do? [--] Apart from - you know - an audit: open the book, open the freezer, show everything which is an inspection - that is a very different mechanism'

    and she adds "I have my doubts that would yield anything new".

    Well done Marion, you made it clear that you are not suitable to conduct Phase 2.

    The show would not be perfect without mixing up the lab hypothesis with politics and Trump.

    But Peter happily volunteers:
    "The evidence right now - well for the lab scenario - it's political"

    And he goes back at it:
    "If you mix politics with science, you get politics".

    Nice from someone who just constantly politicised it with his references to Trump while pretending to do the opposite.

    But it sounds actually like a great piece of advice for China - maybe they should hear it, be more transparent and stop pointing at foreign countries as the origin:

    The party would not be over without a ritual thrashing of Wade's article, calling him irresponsible.

    You can see how irritated and angry they are:

    Apparently that has was debunked a year ago. Go and explain that to @DecrolyE, Baltimore and others.

    "He did not bother. He thought he understood it. A year ago this was debunked the codon business. A year ago and he did not bother to look it up. And that's what they [?] all do- they don't bother to look up the science. They think they know."

    Then when talking about supposed factual error, on of them actually makes just such a mistake saying that the State Department memo was 'taken down on the day of the inauguration' [deep sighs of political relief].

    Here it is on the State Department website: 2017-2021.state.gov/fact-sheet-act…

    It was simply moved like the other statements from the previous administration in an archive folder.

    It's fascinating to watch from abroad when you have no skin in their political swamp.

    And then they go and make patronizing jokes at the journalists:

    "We went through this a year ago folks! This WSJ article that just came out - they are rehashing the same stuff we went over a year ago! It's like what? There's not enough news these days?"

    It would be funny if these people were not determined to go on and proceed with Phase 2, with the same team, same terms of reference, and based on the recommendations of Phase 1 as per the China-WHO report.

    Because that is what they are telling us idiots they are going to do.

  • Reassessing Biosafety risk factors

    An interesting assessment of current trends in biosafety, being presented at the WHA:

    WHA Provisional agenda item 20. 28 April 2021
    A74/18 'Enhancement of laboratory biosafety'

    Under 'The way forward' section at the end:

    This is all too correct.

    The technologies mentioned are NGS, which made sequencing faster, easier and so much cheaper but may also mean GoFs, in silico modelling, genome editing, 'de silico' creation, etc. i.e.: the biotechnology revolution toolkit.


    And yes it is an issue that we are still using some dated risk evaluation when we are rushing ahead with all these new tools, deployed in so many new labs.

    There is not even a reliable count of P3s and P4s.

    The globalbiolabs.org/map is first step for P4s.

    For P3s it is a jungle. In China but also in other countries to be fair.

    For instance @RdeMaistre and I did a detailed count of Chinese P3s in China and ended up way above all the official numbers.
    And every month that goes by more are coming in service.

    From the Chinese point of view they are just trying to catch with the US, and the faster the better.

    Sometimes there is no proper overall plan, infrastructure design, qualified resources, or simply maintenance budget.

    The Chinese P3s should thus be a big concern - money and human resources go to the P4s and some key P3s - but they are P3s that have to do with little - especially when built ahead without much consideration.

    Annex D6 of the China-WHO report has a good example of that:

    Which is in line with what Yuan Zhiming (manager of the WIV P4) was saying back in October 2019 about P2s and P3s in China:

    @threadreaderapp compile

  • Looking back at the imported frozen food pathway

    For some reason the main China-WHO report never clarifies this. You have to look carefully in Annex E4:

    Basically 23 out of the 24 COVID-19 cases amongst frozen food vendors were linked to domestic frozen food stalls. Only 1 to imported frozen food.

    Based on this, you would logically conclude that that if the virus ended up in the market via frozen food, it most likely came via DOMESTIC frozen food - not imported frozen food.

    But that does not stop the Chinese conspiracy theories.

    Conspiracy theories relayed by Chinese diplomats, such as @ZhaLiyou (CG of China in Kolkata) who defines himself as 'a product of Chinese education system'. Right.

    When the chief epidemiologist of the Chinese CDC repeats (Wy Zunyou) that conspiracy theory, you know that something is really wrong

    Here is the full article, with the Chinese rewriting of the pandemic perfectly illustrated in the image below.

    What we need is a proper investigation, not bad science propping up a politically motivated charade.


    @threadreaderapp compile

  • A nostalgic review of some great Chinese papers

    There was a time before the GGOs (Great Gag Orders) when Chinese scientists were publishing some very useful research

    #1 on my list - 20th Feb 20:

    'Analysis of the variation and evolution of SARS-CoV-2'
    Points to a mean emergence date around 8th Nov 2019

    Main conclusion 95% C.I. for emergence of SARS-CoV-2 is: [Sep 23, 2019 - Dec 15, 2019].

    Average tMRCA time of 73 days, which gives an emergence around the 8th Nov 2019.

    Research from BSL-3 Laboratory, School of Public Health, Southern Medical University Guangzhou

    Also reported by Caixin, which did some good work too before the GGOs.


    #2 on my list - published on a preprint site 21st Feb 2020, the day before the small WHO team was in Wuhan.

    They point to a November emergence, dump the wet market story without much ceremony, complain about limited sequences, and try to figure out RaTG13

    A remarkable paper indeed. It feels like we have been walking backward since then.

    It was written by some of the most unlikely scientists:

    Somehow two of these scientists are from the Xishuangbanna Botanical Garden in Yunnan, which was on the 2012 WIV/EcoHealth sampling trip which intersected with the miners getting infected while shovelling bat guano not that far away

    You can't make that up

    Then the GGOs (Great Gag Orders) were issued and the party suddenly stopped.

    First there was the CDC gag order, issued in the 25th Feb 20 on the exact day the WHO mission left China. Bye Bye!

    Here it is: documentcloud.org/documents/7340…

    Then there was the Confidential State Council gag order one week later on the 3rd March.

    It also recommends organising publications with the propaganda dep, like a game of chess. documentcloud.org/documents/7340…

    One does not mess up with the State Council - breaking its laws can be qualified as treason.

    And for good measure it was followed by clear threat.

    I look with nostalgia at this few days in February 2020, when at least two remarkable papers were published while the WHO team was in China.

    Then the very day the WHO team left China that was the end of it.

    It's quite amazing to imagine that the same CDC people who were interfacing with the WHO at the time must have been busy writing/reviewing that gag order.

    They are clearly good at multi-tasking.

    Anyway forget. It's time for more pangolin papers.

    @threadreaderapp compile

  • Some good papers on lab-biosafety (Tony Della Porta)

    Tony Della Porta is a top expert of lab biosfety.

    After doing the Singapore and Taiwan SARS leaks investigations, he was not invited for the investigation of the Beijing SARS leaks - he was too good I guess.


    Anyway the WHO disappeared from the scene and the final report was was never fully released. Only a few extracts.
    That set a very bad precedent for a WHO-China investigation turning into a China only one, with no transparency and an attempted cover-up.

    Della Porta eventually did some biosafety consulting in China in the years following the Beijing lab leaks. You found some of his slides.

    See that too:

    And that:

    And these very useful tables:

  • Why the frozen food import theory is not supported at all by the China-WHO report

    The favourite Chinese theory about SARS-CoV-2 is the frozen food pathway.

    And so, out of 'respect', we still have to endure that origin-story.

    It does not in the least explain how SARS-CoV-2 emerged, but it's a nice and easy way to kick the ball in the long grass of some foreign countries.


    Which is a long tradition.

    China first tried to blame Hong Kong when SARS started in Southern China in 2003, then it tried blaming Thailand when SARS reached Beijing a bit later.

    So let's see what the evidence for an introduction from abroad by frozen food is in the China-WHO report.

    For that let's look at the exact cases at the Huanan market (Annex E4):

    You read this correctly. Of the 22 stalls handling frozen food where some vendor contracted COVID-19, 21 were NOT associated to imported frozen food.

    In other words 95% of the stalls with diseased vendors point to domestic frozen food, not imported one.

    Somehow the 5% points to a strong possibility that Covid-19 was imported into China that way.

    Seriously!! What about the other 95%?

    But it gets worse, because in any case these were all surface infections, not food infections...

    Actually frozen samples of wild animal products and other products collected in early January 2020 were ALL negative.

    Sorry, but the frozen-food import from abroad story is a political expedient, not a scientific conclusion.

    Actually if the frozen-food theory is correct, it points 22 times more to domestic food than imported one.

    But again no food sample tested positive, only stall surfaces.

  • Back to the future: when party officials were telling the truth about the initial delays

    It's worth remembering what Ma Guoqiang, the municipal Communist Party secretary for Wuhan told on CCTV back in Jan 20:

    In particular Ma said the restrictions should have been brought in at least 10 days earlier and expressed regret/guilt for the delays.

    Today, after the party totally changed the narrative, it all sound very odd. But yes, that is what the party itself was saying at the time:

    He also confirmed at the time that 5 million residents had left Wuhan before it went into lockdown. This includes people who travelled for the lunar new year festival, as well as those who fled to escape the virus and impending shutdown.


    And Zhou Xianwang, the mayor of Wuhan, confirmed that in his own interview with CCTV:

    Here is the mayor's interview back in late Jan 20:

    When it comes to understanding what really happened before the first Thai case was reported (which forced China into action), we will have to wipe out the official narrative that China has imposed since then.


    Such as that 'reality check' from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

    'China took the most stringent measures within the shortest possible time, which has largely kept the virus within Wuhan. Statistics show that very few cases were exported from China'
    See bit.ly/3eCuN3l
  • China's bad habit of stonewalling health investigations

    With Covid-19 China is doing exactly the same stonewalling as it did earlier when asked to provide truthful data on its HIV-AIDS caseload in 2002:


    The same stonewalling too as it did in 2003 when it refused to provide any SARS case numbers for months.

    China is not in this WHO case count as 15th March 2003 below.
    Officially no SARS case reported in China. Go look elsewhere instead.


    The same stonewalling it used in 2004 when the promised WHO-China investigation of the bad Beijing lab leaks turned somehow into a China-only investigation.

    An investigation which published only brief extracts of its report and covered up two index cases

    Nothing changed, make no mistake.
    China has learnt that he can do it over and over again.

  • Some lies (no other word for it) in the Annex D7 of the China-WHO study report

    @edwardcholmes can be quite straight to the point at times:

    One theory that Professor Holmes had no hesitation in dismissing is the Beijing-sponsored claim that the pandemic emerged from America’s Fort Detrick:
    “That’s total nonsense.”


    Another theory [--] is that the virus travelled to Wuhan on food packaging:

    “I don’t believe that either. That’s a way of trying to push it away from China, more political than scientific.“

    Where his logic seems to fail, is when he cannot believe that some Chinese scientists could be lying:

    Well @edwardcholmes, you basically just acknowledged that China lies about Fort Detrick and about contamination via food packages. So what's the stretch?

    Anyway let's look at these miraculous all-negative tests at the WIV when Wuhan urban had a 4.4% positive background rate:

    It's either a miracle or a lie. What do you think it is?

    Or what about the statement by Shi Zhengli that the main WIV database was taken off after repeated attacks during the pandemic?

    It was taken off in September 2019 as validated independently by the South China Morning Post (This Week in Asia) - not exactly Fox News.

    And what about that other statement by Shi Zhengli to the joint-mission team (Annex D7 of the report), that:
    'all fieldwork is done with full PPE'.

    When actually she is on record saying exactly the opposite, and explaining why it is most often done with ordinary precautions instead (latex gloves, little mask, maybe a plastic rain poncho that cost $1 in a corner shop):


    That's from a video for those who can understand Mandarin:

    Anyway is she lying or just being absent-minded? Quite clear to me.

    And remember the Sverdlovsk anthrax leak in the USSR in 1979.
    The Russians swore that it was all natural contamination of game meat, which contaminated people.

    It was all a lie.

    "In 1988, 9 years after the accident, Soviet officials came to U.S. to give a three-hour talk at the National Academy of Sciences, presenting facts and figures and even slides of gut tissue from autopsies"
    Yep, they had done the studies. Just believe them.
    And Shi Zhengli too.
  • Sir Richard Dearlove (ex MI6 head): 'The WHO did a farcical investigation'

    Sir Richard Dearlove, who was 'C' (MI6 head) from 1999 to 2004, says that the WHO joint study report was a "farcical investigation".


    Worth listening to...

    and he makes a good point about scientific journals:

    You can read a related recent thread here:

  • Australia, this giant kangaroo that serves as a dog of the US

    Does someone remember that?

    "it seems that Australia, this giant kangaroo that serves as a dog of the US, will hit a deadlock with China on trade disputes in sectors like coal and beef. Hopefully, the US will compensate it!" one netizen said in a Weibo  

    A slap to the face to countries like Australia - the most active player in pushing forward a so-called independent probe into China over the coronavirus outbreak, which was then rejected by the international community. Such moves, clearly backed by Washington, are doomed to fail.

    So thanks to China's efforts, we got a 'trully independent' enquiry, which promptly pointed to frozen food imports and no case officially recorded in China before 8th Dec 19.

    That's the 'immaculate infection', nothing to do with China.

    It is time to stop this charade and to do a proper investigation, that goes beyond the tightly controlled joint-study report that was purely based on limited data made available by China and fully validated, word for word, by China.

    Our latest letter provides some clear reference points for such a proper enquiry: 'Essential Data', 'Essential Questions' and a clear distinction between the possible lab-related accident scenarios.

    It also shows the big gaps and flaws in the WHO-China joint-study conclusions.

    Three millions deaths is not a minor matter that does not require a proper investigation.

    It would be beyond shameless for countries that pride themselves on their humanist values to look somewhere else.

    This is not going to go away anytime soon, and electors will remember it.

  • Are we going to be shameless? Time for action at the World Health Assembly

    We shall see what the US administration recommends at the World Health Assembly, starting on the 25th May.

    In the meantime the NIH is expected to answer the request from the Republican Leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

    Our latest provides some clear reference points for such a proper enquiry: 'Essential Data', 'Essential Questions' and a clear distinction between the possible lab-related accident scenarios.

    It also shows the big gaps and flaws in the WHO-China joint-study conclusions on these.

    The World Health Assembly is a once a year chance to get things moving.

    Three millions deaths is not a minor matter that does not require a proper investigation.

    It would be beyond shameless for countries that pride themselves on their humanist values to look somewhere else.

  • Statement from the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Affairs regarding the WHO-China report

    They did it so quietly that I missed it.
    Quite amazing.@Anne_MarieBrady


    But note that NZ does not have the courage to mention the need to keep investigating the lab related accident hypothesis.
    The statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade simply does not go as far as Dr Tedros and never mentions that hypothesis!


    It's all about the critical importance of the OneHealth approach

    "[The report] has helpfully highlighted the critical importance of the One Health approach between human health and animal health regulatory agencies, shining a spotlight on an area that deserves greater attention"

    The statement by the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Affairs (🙄) is actually well short of the reservations expressed by Dr Tedros.

    It is maybe time for NZ to start asking ALL the valid questions, as Dr Tedros is ready to do.
    Come on, just try!

    Maybe start with the list of questions and recommendations we just issued.

    In particular check the tables in the Annexes for an understanding of the very flawed analysis of the China-WHO report concerning the lab-related pathway.


    See also:

    And if you liked that mural on the first tweet in this thread, here it is again:

  • What is Pakistan up to? Why is Nature so fawning?

    This is very important (H/T @Byron_Wan):

    "However, China, Russia, Syria and Pakistan specifically ask to delete a reference that would include the WHO’s coronavirus origins study in this report".

    Why does Pakistan pop up?

    Pakistan is in full collaboration with China under the Belt & Road Initiative.
    See for instance the Nature series of article, written by Ehsan Masood, 'Editor of Editorials' (!) at Nature, in particular #2 in the series:

    This collaboration includes civilian research with the WIV.

    With in particular Ali Zohaib having been trained by Shi Zhengli:

    For some of the research with the WIV or Huazhong Agricultural University (Wuhan), see:

    So far so good. All civilian research by the look of it, even if some of it may have dual purpose value.

    The precedents are not very good, so one may be justified in keeping a close eye on these developments, especially given the geopolitical situation

    On that subject the French services had some concerns:

    Ali Zohaib has just been appointed Topic Editor for a specific topic in Frontier in Microbiology-Virology, a post he shares with 3 Chinese researchers of the WIV.

    That was just 24 hours ago:


  • Military-civilian cooperative emergency response to infectious disease prevention and control in China

    Here is an interesting article worth discussing.
    This was published in 2016 in the journal of Military Medical Research, a Springer Nature journal which is edited by the PLA.

    [Nature and its pangolins papers, the PLA... Yes, I know!]

    The paper is about the positive role the PLA is playing in infectious disease prevention and control.

    The 2nd sentence of the paper gives you the theme, praising the contribution of the PLA to the prevention of SARS.

    Maybe they have in mind keeping secret military files that made it impossible for the WHO to control and monitor the spread of SARS in Beijing in 2004.

    Or maybe they have in mind the fact that patients were hidden in PLA hospitals, who them moved them out temporarily when the WHO was eventually allowed to visit these hospitals.
    Transparency in the local fashion.

    But anyway, clearly the Editor (the PLA) had no problem peer-reviewing this paper written by 4 PLA members, and published in the prestigious and highly professional Nature.

    So we are good with that and let's move on to some interesting insights.

    One of the reasons for the PLA involvement in outbreaks control is to 'maintain social stability'.

    It's also a rehash of Xi Jinping's move for a tighter civil-military integration in all parts of society.
    Nice to see that they did not forget to mention him.

    Some recommendation:
    'the military immediately initiates the emergency research mechanism, [--] and deploys emergency research tasks to scientific research institutions'

    We saw that with Major Chen Wei

    Another recommendation: Informatization of military-civilian collaborative management means

    We saw that with the 'public' early-cases database (managed by Pr Chuanhua) effectively being a front that was 'sanitised' while the military had its own private database of early cases.

    The real database was managed by the National University of Defense Science and Technology, and informed some key modelling based on the actual movements of early cases.

    Powerful modelling was available to the Chinese government based on the real data.


    Last, the military must play a key role in identifying the index case and in the early 'disposal of local epidemic outbreaks'.
    'Successful past experiences that resulted in preferable public effects can be attributed to the army'.

    I wonder what preferable public effects means.

  • White Unicorns - or the silly stories about no Covid-19 positive tests at the WIV (and other labs)

    Issue #1:

    Sorry @China__Focus, but you have been caught lying.
    Ignoring your 2019 typo (should be 2020), the 700 tests ILI samples are from the Wuhan Xiehe Hospital - not from the WIV (which anyway has 590 staff and students).

    From Annex D7 of the China-WHO study report:

    From the official website of the Institute of Virology in August 2020, the Institute normally hosts 325 graduate students and 268 employees. That gives us a total of around 593 people.

    Issue #2:

    The WIV did test some lab staff in April 2019 and March 2020.
    Given that the prevalent IgG+ rate in Wuhan was about 4.4% at the time then there would have been positive tests.

    First let's be clear that the prevalent IgG+ rate was around 4.4% in urban Wuhan around April 2020 (95% confidence interval: 4.0%-4.8%).

    See jamanetwork.com/journals/jaman…

    Then let me show you the probability of 0 IgG+ (positive test for pas Covid-19 infection) amongst 550 staff and students at the WIV (I cut it a bit from 590):

    Let's try again with the lower value of the confident interval: 4%, and let's say that the WIV was a bit lazy and tested only 100 students and staff (which makes the test quite irrelevant actually):

    1.7% is one chance in 60.

    Said otherwise people at the WIV MUST have tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies (IgG) in March 2020.

    Either a ridiculously small group of people was tested (17 people gives 50/50 chance of 0 positive with a 4% background rate) or the whole story is just lies.
    To make it worse, the WIV should have actually tested all 590 staff and students, plus construction workers.

    That was not the first time funny statements were made about no positive antibodies test at labs in Wuhan. Let's go through previous examples:

    Shi Zhengli’s Reply to Science Magazine, pdf dated 27th 2020:

    Q: Is it possible that someone associated with the institute became infected in some other way, for instance while collecting, sampling, or handling bats?

    A: Such a possibility did not exist. Recently we tested the sera from all staff and students in the lab and nobody is infected by either bat SARSr-CoV or SARS-CoV-2. To date, there is "zero infection" of all staff and students in our institute.

    Peter Embarek quoted in Science Magazine 14 Feb 21:
    Q: But my question is whether you learned anything new in China. Now that you’ve been there, do you have more reason to say it’s “extremely unlikely” than before?
    A: Yes. We had long meetings with the staff of the Wuhan Institute of Virology and three other laboratories in Wuhan. They talked about these claims openly. We discussed: [--] ‘Did you test your staff? [--]. They had retrospectively tested serum from their staff. They tested samples from early 2019 and from 2020.’

    And then these so statements of no positive cases were used in the China-WHO report to dismiss any possiblility opf a lab-related accident:

    Arguments against
    [---]The three laboratories in Wuhan working with either CoVs diagnostics and/or CoVs isolation and vaccine development all had high quality biosafety level (BSL3 or 4) facilities that were well-managed, with a staff health monitoring programme with no reporting of COVID-19 compatible respiratory illness during the weeks/months prior to December 2019, and no serological evidence of infection in workers through SARS-CoV-2-specific serology-screening.

    Maybe you would ask if one could argue that the WIV people were somehow isolated from the general population in the "safety" of their lab?

    Unfortunately no. A few lab researchers may have isolated untill Wuhan got into a lockdown on the 23rd Jan. But that would be a small fraction of the population of interest, which is all staff including maintenance plus students.
    The ones who may have self isolated at the WIV and other labs of interest would have been the ones studying SARS-CoV-2 and doing corresponding sample testing.
    But that would be a small fraction of the population of interest, which is all staff including maintenance plus students. Most of these most likely never self isolated before the Wuhan lockdown and are representative of that Wuhan urban population with a demonstrated 4.4% seropositivity in April 20 (95% Confidence Interval: 4.0%-4.8%).

    Mathematical corner:

    Here is how you can easily tabulate the probabilities in your head:

    The key is to remember that with a 4% seropositivity rate there is very close to a 50% chance of no seropositive in a group of 17 people.
    This is a simple binomial distribution result. See for instance this online calculator.

    If you add another 17 people, the probability of no seropositive in the group is again divided by 2. From there you can see that the probability of no seropositive at in a group of (n * 17) people is ~1/2^n.

    510 is still short of the 590 staff and students at the WIV.
    510 = 30 x 17 = 3 x 10 x 17. But 1/2^10 ~ 1/1,000, so the probability of no seropositive in a group of 510 people is around 1/1,000^3 = 1 in a billion!

    If you prefer to work in powers of 1/100 then the probability is about 0.01 for a group of 113 people. So for 565 people (5 x 113) it becomes 1/10^10, a 10th of a billionth!

    Issue #3:

    Now going back to that paper jamanetwork.com/journals/jaman…, it’s interesting to see that ‘Informed consent was waived because de-identified data were used.’

    Basically no need to ask people for consent as data is anonymised.

    But for some reason the joint-team mission could not have access to raw data due to the very strict privacy laws in China.

    Not sure how that works - since you can apply for a waver with anonymised data, as was done for that paper.

    I call that a lie.

    Maybe that explains why @DrTedros lost patience with all the nonsense and foot dragging from the Chinese authorities.


    @DrTedros @JamieMetzl @Ayjchan

  • Learning from the past - or not.

    Anybody who really wants to understand China's attitude today would benefit from reading Chapter 5 of this excellent book:


    According to this table from the WHO update of the 16h March SARS had nothing to do with China. No case officially reported - just some unrelated atypical pneumonia.

    SARS clearly must have started in Hong Kong or Vietnam.

    Anyway according to Chinese scientists these atypical pneumonia cases in China were Chlamydia pneumonia, which can be treated with antibiotics - no worry it's all under control.

    Keep moving and check Hong Kong instead.

    That did not go too well with the WHO when they eventually met Chinese health officials in Beijing on the 24th March 2003.

    And as usual there was no data to show. Also trust us it's Chlamydia.

    No need to go ad visit Guangdong as well.

    And it went on like this. April was not any better.
    China kept saying that it had nothing to hide and was not covering up. Just trust us.

    But soon the story started changing:

    But then the problem moved to Beijing, where once, again - trust us - there was nothing particular going on.

    It there are any cases in Beijing there are imported from Thailand.

    However soon Dr Jiang Yanyong of the 301 PLA hospital in Beijing had enough of that charade and raised the alarm:

    But China kept dragging its feet, especially blocking access to the military hospitals where many SARS patients were being treated.

    Despite promises, China kept underreporting cases, using the PLA and its military hospitals to hide the cases.

    Eventually the WHO had enough and rebuked Beijing:

    But to the very end Beijing tried to cheat its way through.

    After agreeing to the WHO team visiting some key hospitals, Beijing started moving the patients out to other facilities or even moving them around in ambulances for the duration of the WHO visits.

    Things only started improving at the end of April.

    In all 5 months were wasted due to Beijing's obfuscation - all the way paved with reassurances of its honesty and transparence.


  • Westphalian sovereignty vs. global health governance

    This was written in 2004.

    Swap Covid-19 for SARS, Wuhan for Guangdong and 2019 for 2003 and the whole story is very similar.

    If anybody thought that things would change, then they clearly got it badly wrong.

    China - or more correctly its government - did not change when it comes to transparency in such matters.

    No. It would rather change US.

    The main problem is that we are using a 19th century governance framework to address 21st century threats.

    This needs to be fixed before SARS3.

    For the early warnings of 2004 - that the international community chose to ignore -- see the full report:

    Maybe this time, we can shake out the 19th governance framework and put in place one that addresses the 21st century issues.

    And by that I don't mean a Beijing based one.

    Otherwise it's the same broken disk repeating itself.
    We all deserve better than that, Chinese citizens included.

    @threadreaderapp compile

  • Nothing changes - China just got better at pretending and playing the WHO

    This is the crux of the matter.

    Add to that the team leader, Peter Embarek, is a foodborne diseases expert. Maybe that explains why China chose him instead of the 3 US candidates.

    No surprise then that the report goes for food-induced zoonoses, despite any evidence for it.

    When you have a hammer as only tool (and there was not one lab-forensic expert in the team) - then everything is a nail.

    We needed people like Tony Della Porta.

    But wait, China did not want him to do the investigation of the SARS Beijing leaks in 2004.

    The problem is that Tony did a great job investigating the Singapore SARS leak and then the Taiwan SARS one in 2003.

    Way too good a job for Beijing. So he was not picked up.

    And predictably the WHO 'investigation' of the Beijing leak was a whitewash.
    👉🏻No report ever published!

    At the end of the day, it's the same story of hiding the truth, hiding the numbers, not cooperating and dancing around the WHO.

    SARS 2002/03, Beijing SARS leak 2004, Covid-19 it's all the same pattern of non-cooperation and deception.


    The only real change is that China is only getting better at it.

    It is NOT more transparent. It is NOT cooperating more (in any real sense). It is just smarter at pretending.

    But it is essentially the same story.

    @threadreaderapp compile

  • A long history of addressing epidemics with lies

    @MFA_China Why don't you start by scientifically explaining the obvious manipulations of the 2019 cases by China?

    Here is a good start from your very own CDC (27th Jan 20):

    @MFA_China I have a full catalogue of your 'disappearing' confirmed cases.

    I am not sure what your definition of science is, but mine does not allow for crude lies and manipulations.

    @MFA_China With a good example of the CDC gag order of the 25th Feb 2020 at play:

    @MFA_China But there is plenty more. Just read our 'Silent Numbers', or the systematic distortion and misreporting of 2019 cases.

    @MFA_China And since China is so transparent, could it actually release the WHO investigation report of the very bad SARS leaks at the top Chinese P3 (Beijing) in 2003?

    Funny enough, it was never made public! That's transparency with Chinese characteristics.


    @MFA_China Is it because it exposes crass incompetence and incredible bad practices, such as a SARS sample fridge moved into the corridor outside of the lab, without forgetting an attempted cover-up?


    @MFA_China Or maybe you could tell us how China was moving about a 100 patients out of hospitals to hotel rooms or just driving them in ambulances when the WHO was investigating the SARS outbreak in Beijing in 2003?


    @MFA_China Or again: washingtonpost.com/archive/politi…

    @MFA_China And don't forget to tell us how China tried to blame Hong Kong and even Thailand for the SARS outbreak in Beijing.

    Bad habits die hard...

    @MFA_China Blame anybody (Italy, France, Spain, US, etc) but China - that's the usual answer of the Chinese government to epidemics.

    Unfortunately everybody can see through your BS. Sorry, I know, it's so unfair. China is clearly a victim of the West.


    @MFA_China @threadreaderapp compile

  • How could the negotiation of the ToRs in July 2020 be so lenient on China?

    It strikes me as incredible that when in China to negotiate the Terms of References (ToRS) in July 2020, the WHO accepted totally restrictive ToRs despite deploring that China had hardly done any epidemiological investigation at all since Jan 20.


    Peter Embarek even complained about it in an internal WHO memo that leaked.

    Still China got a free pass and ToRs that forced the joint team to rely exclusively on Chinese studies (not even started - China having done near to nothing).

    I cannot understand how one could accept that.

    Is that because the ToR negotiation team leader, Peter Embarek, had spent 2 years in Beijing advising the Chinese government, and he could not imagine anything going wrong?

    It also strikes me that for someone with a hammer everything looks like a nail.

    So with zero experience of lab leaks investigation but a 'passion, interest and expertise in managing food safety' SARS-CoV-2 may well look like a food chain issue.

    Some info I had missed:

    “The joint team of Chinese and international scientists **began virtual meetings in the autumn of 2020.**”


    Interesting.. Could we know more about that work?

    Why was it never mentioned?
    What was in these meetings? What was discussed?

    Did they discuss getting proper access to data for instance?

    @threadreaderapp compile

  • CBS 60Minutes on the Immaculate Infection

    60 minutes has just exposed on prime TV the total lack of evidence for the natural pathway and the flimsiness of the wishy-washy joint-study.


    The most amazing is that more than one year has now elapsed, and all there is to show is nothing: no positive animal at the market, no animal reservoir found, no traces of previous infection in South China - nothing.

    It's the immaculate infection.

    But for those with the faith it's good enough to rule out the lab-leak theory - because our Chinese friends are very clear about it.

    You would believe them, wouldn't you? They tend to tell the[ir] truth.

    Just remember "75% of emerging diseases come from animals into people", so it cannot be a lab leak.

    In the same way many non-smokers die of cancer, so clearly cigarettes have nothing to do with lung cancers.
    It's very good logic from a top scientist.

    All we need to do now is to give EHA a few more $100 millions of taxpayers money so that it may find one day the missing animal reservoir, infected village, contaminated fish-finger - whatever - which clearly MUST be somewhere there.

    @threadreaderapp compile

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