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On the lab leak theory


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19 minutes ago, PhilGeis said:

Am I right in thinking there's nothing sinister about this, just a cock up in the containment protocols at Wuhan? Also, does it just appear to be a normal Chinese science project with some US funding that went wrong in releasing the virus? Is the wet market theory discredited now?

Edited by StringJunky
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I don't think that there was fundamentally new information (or at least I recall that one or two years ago it was reported that there were some folks working at the institute getting ill around the early times of the outbreak. It was a tick towards a potential leak, but nothing conclusive as far as I can tell, even assuming that they got COVID-19 (and not something else). Transparency is certainly something to critique them for, but so far no smoking gun.

One problem that I am still seeing is that the earliest timelines are a bit hazy. Now that we know a bit more about the transmissibility of the early variant plus the associated severe disease rate, there is a bit more uncertainty regarding the earliest transmission. This could push the timelines a bit further back, especially in a younger population. But this is purely speculative at this point, of course. It would be interesting to follow up on some of the sample found early in Europe to see whether one can get a bit more precise data (or if available, blood samples in Wuhan).

Also, if I recall correctly, at least one of the infected researchers was working in BSL4? If so, that makes it even less likely as they are way better protected there  than outside. If there was a leak, I would think that BSL2 conditions are (way) more conducive to escape.


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