From the comments, on coronaviruses

I am still waiting for the new conventional wisdom about what is happening to emerge, and I believe it will be as follows.

A particular ancestral betacoronavirus emerged in bats several decades ago with a special superpower, different from but conceptually not too distinct from HIV’s ability to rapidly mutate. This virus had the ability to easily spread out among many animal species and evolve among them through a standard slow process of mutation subject to selection pressures, but then to occasionally co-infect a single host and recombine to create a radically different variant (a “chimera,” although I think it’s better thought of as an “offspring.”). These offspring would occasionally be very deadly because they combined well-developed abilities that had evolved in separate lineages from the original ancestor evolving in separate species.

Eventually I think we will categorize all the recent betacoronavirus outbreaks (Sars-1, Sars-2, MERS) as part of this broader process, and require a vaccination strategy that can be quickly deployed against new recombinations from this original ancestral betacoronavirus as they randomly emerge from the primordial stew across many animal species, including ours. The evidence thus far points to recombinations resulting in the emergence of a distinct dangerous variant with some regularity.

This story also explains the existence of some preexisting immunity in much of the population to Sars-Cov-2, but substantial variation in what feature of Sars-Cov-2’s genetic code the immune system reacts to depending on whether the individual is known to have had SARS, MERS, or neither. In all likelihood, possibly many relatively nonlethal or even asymptomatic variants of the same betacoronavirus ancestor have been circulating undetected among human populations during this same 10-20 years, resulting in people people who have been exposed to different random bits of genetic material present in Sars-Cov-2.

Here is the link.  By the way, it turns out that smallpox is much older than we had thought (NYT).  Betting on origins being longer and deeper than other people expect is often the bet to make.

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So wear a mask, social distance, wash hands, and re-watch Breaking Bad. Gotcha.

And if interested in news about viruses, listen to the TWiV podcast.
https://www.microbe.tv/twiv/

What do virologists know about viruses? (Serious question, I mean no disregard or disrespect towards them, I'm just trying to understand their level of GRE scores and salaries to properly gauge my own level of confidence.)

Lol....

The mask isn't effective. The scientists and experts know it does not protect you or others. So what is the real reason we are being forced to wear the mask?

This is why you never, ever see medical personnel wearing masks when examining patients that are infected with contagious airborne diseases.

Bet you cannot post a link to even one picture, right?

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Your reasoning isn't effective.

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The suggestions and mandates re: masks don't address how long one mask will be effective, can any mask be washed and re-used and what the proper procedure is for disposing of a used mask. If a kerchief is used as a mask what is done with it after removing it? If the wearer stuffs it in his back pocket is he carrying his own and his contacts viruses wherever he goes?

When the pandemic first arrived, the constant refrain was "wash your hands" and "don't touch your face". We don't hear that anymore. What happened?

The plan for opening up my work location includes having sanitizers at all the entrances to use before entering.

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If 100% effectiveness was required to sanction actions, would anything happen at all?

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I'm no expert, but that sounds like a pretty good theory to me. It would explain the recent novel coronavirus outbreaks in China, as well as why some places seem to have more immunity.

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Smallpox. AFAIK, the earliest evidence of smallpox is 3rd Century BCE - mummies. I think 3rd Century BCE is earlier than 16th Century CE, or did I forget to carry the one? All three of these sars (mers, sars, and sars-2) are recent. It isn't rocket science to spot the trend. As far as its evolution, I'll wait for the published, peer reviewed REVIEW article in 5 or 10 years. We've had warnings for the last 20-40 years about our global vulnerability to the what were local pathogens. That it (finally) happened is 1) hardly a surprise and 2) I think we've been very fortunate that the IFR is so low, it could have been a lot worse - and if it were much better who'd have noticed it? Maybe we should be happy that the Holocene Mass Extinction event will make zoonosis less and less likely.

We've had warnings about all kinds of catastrophes, nuclear war, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, asteroid collisions, alien invasions and, yes, pandemic diseases. It doesn't seem as though the earthly population is very prepared for any of these events. So what?

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Underreported! Don't forget to check out the comments in the OP to anonymous, by myself, resident virus guru Catinthehat, and the conventional consensus Dinwar, on the side issue of whether the Covid-19 virus is natural or artificial.

Cheat cheat:

Ray Lopez claims the only way to know whether C-19 virus is man-made or not is the discovery of an 'intermediate host' (an animal in the wild that has the virus). So far no intermediate host has been found (unlike for literally every other virus, though for Ebola and AIDS/HIV it took a few years to find the host).

Dinwar disagrees with Ray, implicitly agreeing with the Nature Medicine paper of March 17, 2020 by Andersen et al that C-19 virus "looks natural", pointing out that geologists can tell whether a rock is natural or artificial concrete, and artificial DNA often lacks 'junk DNA' (filler) (Ray counters that lab-made viruses can also have junk DNA, and I might add some sedimentary 'conglomerate' sandstone is virtually identical to some concrete)

anonymous subscribes to an interesting but to me very implausible theory, namely: "tldr; a pandemic-causing virus need not have a single animal host at all. It could have been uniquely created in a human co-infected with two distinct animal coronaviruses through a recombination event." - simply translated: a human can suddenly become an incubator for a new virus. The fact this happened near the WIV (bioweapons lab) that had an adjunct facility near the Wuhan wet market, dealing with lab animals where chimeric viruses were routinely tested (WIV director Dr. Shi in fact invented in 2015 an artificial virus, a predecessor to the Covid-19 virus, called SARS-CoV, and her team was actually sanctioned in the USA for a few years for doing so, she subsequently went to work for the WIV) is just a coincidence.

Catinthehat points out out the new C-19 virus may have been developed in the WIV lab or in the Wuhan wet market, but we'll never know since the Chinese razed the wet market, destroying all evidence.

That's a simplified cheat sheet that even a non-science major can follow.

Nature paper here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0820-9

As the paper notes, we do not have a complete inventory of all bat coronaviruses. Bats are highly social mammals that are conducive to incubating nasty viruses and people working in this field predicted years ago that a pandemic might come from bats. As it is, RaTG13 is about 96% similar to SARS-CoV-2. Anyone who is sure that SARS-CoV-2 came from a lab is effectively making an argument for intelligent design.

@Ricardo- agree with everything but your last sentence, "Anyone who is sure that SARS-CoV-2 came from a lab is effectively making an argument for intelligent design"- you do realize that lab recombinant DNA *is* intelligent design? My main point with the Nature Medicine paper is this: you cannot tell whether an organism is made in vitro in a test tube or made in vivo during mitosis/meiosis (keeping in mind with viruses, both mitosis and meiosis occurs in the 'hijacked' eukaryote cell). The Nature Medicine authors are contrary. Yury Deigin disagrees with them (and I agree with him). Do you disagree with me? I'm not an expert, but having done biotech patents I can pretend to be one on the internet. In the immortal words of Ted Bundy, which some of you non- Boomers reading this don't even know, 'Let's rock'.

Cite your evidence that you can tell if an organism is made in vivo vs in vitro. My first exhibit, is the 2015 NIH paper by Dr. Shi Zhingli, creating a chimeric virus she dubs "SARS-CoV", which is a predecessor to today's SARS-CoV-2. Do you think this virus 'looks artificial'? Remember viruses are simple organisms. It's not like you are crossing a mouse gene with a cotton gene (which has been done in vitro). I posit you can't really tell an artificial from a natural virus.

OK, Senior Moment, it's Al not Ted. More interestingly, note this article* which for non-science types is more interesting than the original NIH paper. Note Shi was doing gene splicing in early January, was muzzled at WIV (she has since lost her job as director and was replaced by a CHN military general), she has a temper (unless her quote is fake about stinking mouths), and she has a bias, like do most biotech researchers, to portray any Covid-19 virus leak as natural vs artificial so another ban on chimeric viruses is avoided. Another ban, because for four years around 2015 the US government put a temporary moratorium on chimeric virus research, which both Shi and Dr. Baric, both pioneers in this area, have opposed, and whose 2015 paper no doubt added fuel to this fire (the ban was not in direct response to the paper however).

It's pretty obvious that C-19 virus is an accidental leak from WIV. In the USA a person could be convicted of a crime for a lot less in circumstantial evidence.

* article: https://www.news.com.au/world/asia/coronavirus-chinese-batswoman-scientist-shi-zhenglis-chilling-prediction/news-story/99542343419bb8f210a4f196df1654fb

You don't even have to be a science major like I am to see how Shi's chimeric virus mimics the real SARS virus to a great degree, see below from her paper. Note in her paper she posits what Anon has stated, which to my knowledge is an unproven theory, in that you don't need an intermediate host for SARS-CoV to evolve, it can happen in the human directly (the proverbial "patent zero", a hapless butcher at the Wuhan wet market, if you believe in this mythology, was the first body in history to contain the C-19 virus, which occurred for the first time in history ever in his body...yeah right). Interesting, but I repeat for every other natural virus you've had an intermediate animal host prior to human infection. So it's still a red flag in my mind. - RL

PS--"Bio Basic", see below. The bioterrorists first vendor of choice!?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4797993/

Both wild-type and chimeric viruses were derived from either SARS-CoV Urbani or the corresponding mouse-adapted (SARS-CoV MA15) infectious clone (ic) as previously described27. Plasmids containing spike sequences for SHC014 were extracted by restriction digest and ligated into the E and F plasmid of the MA15 infectious clone. The clone was designed and purchased from Bio Basic as six contiguous cDNAs using published sequences flanked by unique class II restriction endonuclease sites (BglI). Thereafter, plasmids containing wild-type, chimeric SARS-CoV and SHC014-CoV genome fragments were amplified, excised, ligated and purified. In vitro transcription reactions were then preformed to synthesize full-length genomic RNA, which was transfected into Vero E6 cells as previously described2

I’m not a virologist, but have a PhD in molecular biology (microbes, plants; no animals). So I’m not super qualified. But, why couldn’t SARS-CoV-2 have appeared in the lab in experiments to determine how a zoonotic virus evolves? i.e. start with a bat virus and passage it in human cells, for many many generations, until something starts growing at a decent rate? Seems like a high risk (in terms of both likelihood of success, and potential threat of a successful outcome) but relatively low effort experimental plan. It’s exactly the sort of thing one would do in a chemostat to evolve a new phenotype in a bacterium. Would the putative progenitor virus(es) just not grow at all in human cells, so the evolutionary path couldn’t ever get started? If one of you more knowledgeable about coronaviruses would respond I’d be most grateful.

Different anonymous here. That sounds like a weapons lab protocol, and not something .. well don't labs have scales of risks for bio experiments?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosafety_level

Specifically creating a human pathogen would be beyond P4. P10?

I thought the original comment was interesting, and fine, but I expect the final answer to remain indeterminate. Remember Schrödinger. Be comfortable with indeterminacy. Do not require unreasonable answers.

Fwiw, a 2017 story at the NYT:

Federal officials on Tuesday ended a moratorium imposed three years ago on funding research that alters germs to make them more lethal.

Such work can now proceed, said Dr. Francis S. Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, but only if a scientific panel decides that the benefits justify the risks.

Some scientists are eager to pursue these studies because they may show, for example, how a bird flu could mutate to more easily infect humans, or could yield clues to making a better vaccine.

Critics say these researchers risk creating a monster germ that could escape the lab and seed a pandemic.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/19/health/lethal-viruses-nih.html

I missed that at the time, and I'm surprised we decided to take more chances in this country.

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Heh, it's a Turing test. If you "know" where the virus came from, you are not an AGI.

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Not just culture the virus but Zhengli-Li Shi ( from the WIV) and Ralph Baric actually built a chimeric virus. They took a SARs-CoV Backbone and inserted a new sequence encoding a novel, zoonotic CoV spike protein—from the RsSHC014-CoV sequence that was isolated from Chinese horseshoe bats.

https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.3985

could a similar virus have escaped the Wuhan lab ?

https://medium.com/@yurideigin/lab-made-cov2-genealogy-through-the-lens-of-gain-of-function-research-f96dd7413748

or is it a natural recombination/mutation in an animal reservoir or humans ( The rebuttal)

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0820-9#Fig1

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SARS-CoV is the virus associated with the SARS epidemic in 2003. Why are you calling it an artificial virus invented in 2015?

@start... see Catinthehat's answer. I assumed you knew that Shi build a chimeric SARS-CoV virus.

I agree we may never know, since in theory it's possible for the C-19 virus to arise spontaneously in a hapless butcher who is exposed to bat and pangolin coronaviruses, said C-19 virus being created for the first time inside the body of said butcher, and it's just a coincidence that the WIV is in the same neighborhood and Shi is building all kinds of chimeric organisms in the very same field (even the RaTG13 bat coronavirus may be chimeric, see speculation in the Deigin article). But, in my mind, it's not very likely. If you want a civil law preponderance standard you can get it, but not "BYOD" (beyond a reasonable doubt) criminal law standard. Though in the US Deep South I recall from law school a majority 3 out of 5 jurors was sufficient at one point to vote for the death penalty in a capital case (a travesty of justice).

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SARS like viruses (SLV) bind to the ACE2 receptors through their receptor binding domain (RBD) and specifically at the receptor binding motif (RBM) a subunit of the RBD.

The RBM is an extended loop that makes all the contact with ACE2. Overall, 14 RBM residues ( single amino acids) directly contact 18 ACE2 residues at the N terminal lobe of the ACE2 peptidase domain. five are critical for host range: Y442, L472, N479, T487 and Y491

Mutations at hotspots on this RBM can facilitate a tighter binding to ACE2. For example a K to R mutation at residue 489 enhances binding Therefore a SLV can gain sustained infectivity for human cells through stepwise adaptation mutations at these residues

What Zhengli-Li Shi group did in 2015 was to take took a mouse adapted version of SARS-CoV ( called MA5) and enhanced its infectivity by splicing into it parts of the RBM of another SLV ( SHC-2014) that was isolated from Chinese horseshoe bats1.
This created a chimeric virus encoding a novel, zoonotic CoV spike protein.
When mice were infected with this chimeric virus ( SARS-MA15), they died within 4 days. With the starter virus (SHC014-MA15 ), mice lost weight but none died

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The notion that 'natural' means an animal origin - but then exempting humans for no apparent reason other than well, they're human, is senseless. The Covid virus has obviously mutated in human hosts - the evidence being different strains. There's no reason that mutation to the form that has been so successful in humans could not have happened in a human host.

"good point" Wally, pace every other major virus and quite a few minor ones that have animal hosts first and then jump to humans. Even smallpox (originated in cows). The idea that a novel coronavirus originated for the first time ever when a human is exposed to two or three different viruses from other animals is unprecedented. After all, bats themselves are known 'reservoirs' of such novel viruses, and would be the logical incubators (just like the Ebola viruses). That's why they call it a cross-species jump. It starts in another animal first, not the human animal as claimed by Shi and others.

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1. First of all it’s not all beta coronaviruses there are 2 types that infect humans alpha and beta. 4 cause common colds ( 229E (alpha coronavirus),NL63 (alpha coronavirus),OC43 (beta coronavirus),HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
2. Covid-19 does not mutate any faster than other coronaviruses. As a group they mutate a lot slower than HIV because of their proofreading mechanism on nsp14
3. On the plus side of this theory: In one recent paper Immunity to SARS_COV2 in unexposed individuals was not well associated with these HCOv I quote :” These latter two T cell specificities were particularly intriguing since the homology between the two protein regions of SARS-CoV-1/2 and other “common cold” coronaviruses (OC43, HKU1 NL63 and 229E) was minimal (Fig. 4e)”. This intrigued the researcher
4. There are many strains of coronaviruses circulating in bats. RATG13 is well known and fairly close to Covid-19 . A recombination event ( not a mutation) between different strains in say bats is always possible.
In summary: it’s possible and cannot be ruled out, but if that primer ancestral virus ( say similar to RATG13 or Pangolin-MP789) circulated in human populations, it cannot have been too virulent or too infectious or it would have been detected
Here is the Nature T cell paper that lends support ( see p 3)
: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2550-z

We note in a similar vein, that HIV supposedly was in the Congo in the 1920s, had its first confirmed case in the Congo again in 1959 ( the blood was conserved and tested later) but only exploded as an epidemic in 1980.

Though a clear conspiracy theory, it's not impossible that the current strains of Ebola were part of a bioweapon program. The first natural Ebola virus may have attracted the attention of government bioweapons labs, which used it to build a better military virus, due to the high lethality of Ebola. This was in fact perfectly legal before the 1969 Bioweapons treaty, which China and the USA adhere to today, and only design or bred viruses for "defensive" purposes (typically a vaccine, which some say Shi et al were engaged in, in fact, one link claims SARS-CoV-2 is an Ebola vaccine carrier, see: https://www.politicalite.com/coronavirus/like-a-nazi-weapon-two-scientists-claim-covid-19-escaped-from-chinese-laboratory/ and www.zerohedge.com/health/covid-19-man-made-virus-hiv-discoverer-says-could-only-have-been-created-lab

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That comment and the many others that followed need citations. I don't have a problem with people having their favorite pet theory but there's too many of them out there and we need to start sorting them out.

Pet theories are how we get to the citation part of the game. I doubt anonymous has the details right, but I agree with him that it's likely that SARS-2 has been around longer than we think, and took a route we haven't even thought of yet. Forget the details, the lesson here is to keep an open mind.

Yes, identical symptoms appeared some time ago.

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"I doubt anonymous has the details right, but I agree with him that it's likely that SARS-2 has been around longer than we think, and took a route we haven't even thought of yet."

Yes, it's a way to flesh out the "dark matter" hypothesis that Tyler linked to several days ago. SARS Cov-2 has an origin story, and it's probably an interesting and convoluted one.

But with the knowledge that we currently have, there are many many origin stories that we could make up that would fit the facts as we currently perceive them to be. The story that the OP tells is just one of many that we could make up.

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I believe exactly the opposite. On two many issues there is a single theory that is established as "consensus", re-affirmed with thousands of papers and methodologies, and serves as an almost required belief to be regarded as an expert in the field. Science is actively hostile to holding two or more rivalrous and incompatible theories to be within the domain of the possible, and by far the most reliable way to establish a career is to confirm or extend an existing theory with new data or methodology, rather than to develop a new theory incompatible with existing consensus.

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They just in the way of the joy of having pet theories to hold and snuggle.

Pet theories make the best emotional support animals.

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Indeed, and the mental gymnastics necessary to exonerate China means that these just-so stories are reaching the point of Ptolemy's epicycles.

They failed horribly to effectively respond to a novel virus.

What they didn't do (tzo a very high degree of probability) is create the virus in a lab.

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https://www.thedriftmag.com/the-cure-and-the-disease/ via the ever excellent Metafilter.

"A year earlier, the British journalist Ed Hooper had made headlines with a door-stopper of a book entitled The River, which carried a foreword by Hamilton. In nearly twelve hundred meticulously documented pages, the book expounded the theory that a team of scientists, led by Polish-American virologist Hilary Koprowski, had unwittingly introduced the virus through a contaminated oral polio vaccine (OPV) administered to hundreds of thousands of residents of the Belgian Congo in the late 1950s. Koprowski, Hooper claimed, had secretly manufactured the batch of vaccines used in the Congo with kidneys from local chimpanzees who were infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), the precursor to HIV.

Set on corroborating the so-called “OPV/AIDS hypothesis,” Hamilton believed that the evidence rested in the troupes of chimpanzees that lived near where Koprowski had purportedly harvested organs. When war broke out in the DRC, Hamilton fretted that food shortages would spur bushmeat hunters to wipe out the chimpanzee populations he was interested in, leaving him with no choice but to collect the desired samples himself—as soon as possible.

If Bozzi’s disclosure helped shed light on the reason for Hamilton’s trip, it did not do much to explain why he had become almost suicidally obsessed with the OPV/AIDS theory in the first place. Two decades later, the full story of Hamilton and the debate about the origins of HIV still hold important lessons, as we confront a new batch of conspiracy theories and recriminations in the midst of the worst pandemic since HIV/AIDS."

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Are aliens among us? It's no coincidence that recently we've had many sightings of aliens. Do aliens self-quarantine when they visit? Have we demanded that aliens self-quarantine? Do aliens wear masks? Do we wear masks when we meet with aliens? Or are the sightings of aliens a ruse, to divert our attention from more earthly sinister activities? It would seem relevant to know if vaccines have been secretly administered to us, through our medications (including vaccines), food or water, vaccines that have taken on a life of their own beyond our control. Does the sharp rise in autism have anything to do with this? Have we already experienced close encounters of the third kind, from which we have harvested alien genes? Have those genes been secretly administered to us? Genetic engineering without our consent? Is Operation Warp Speed just a ruse for government funded genetic engineering? Who among us knows the answers to these questions? Who can be trusted? Can we handle the truth?

The only way to answer these difficult questions is to abduct one or two aliens and probe them.

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Given China's secrecy around the Wuhan lab and their outright refusal to let anyone investigate the origin of the virus, it should be pretty well established by now that COVID originates from a research lab. Probably an accident rather than a conspiracy, but a direct fault of humans nonetheless.

OPs theory is nice though and I'd be happy to subscribe to it if we didn't know about the Chinese BSL-3 lab.

Hmmm... so you're not paranoid if they are actually after you, but if you are paranoid you are actually after them?
Or something like that.
File under: Paranoia as proof of guilt.

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Effectively erasing the information that demonstrates the logic of their existence.

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"Grimes, the singer and artist, and Elon Musk, the rocket man and Tesla magnate, have an otherworldly romance. Which works out well since Mr. Musk wants to occupy Mars, in case malevolent robots or an engineered virus threaten Earth, and then die on Mars, just not on impact." Now it's confirmed. Musk knows what's going on.

Grimes' best song by album:
Geidi Primes -- Shadout Mapes
Halfaxa -- Dream Fortress
Darkbloom -- Vanessa
Visions -- Genesis
Art Angels -- Realiti
Miss Anthropocene -- Delete Forever

Visions --

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While I object to the cynical politically-motivated attacks on scientists that the right has waged in order to provide cover for its continued pollution of the earth, to coddle its whack base, and cover its crimes....

It is also true that this Covid affair is again revealing that - despite all our professions of expertise on all matters from economics to epidemiology to space travel - we don't know jack about anything.

That's not true. We were able to sequence the novel virus immediately, creating a precise form of knowledge, and something that would have completely blown minds a generation ago.

The problem is one of science communication, including conveying the boundaries between advanced knowledge and open questions.

We know so much, yet know so little. We sequenced it's DNA. Okay. Measuring and counting. Yet, we don't know...

It's source.
Why some people get it worse than others.
Why it seems to be so opportunistic.
How it spreads.
How long we are infectious.
How long we get immunity, if at all.
What are the age differences And why.
Viability of free germs.
Viral load required for infection.

There's much much more, but I have not had enough coffee.

Look, I am not being critical. I am being humble (on the behalf of humanity).

Have you ever noticed in drug advertisement disclaimers when the voice-over says: "it is THOUGHT THAT drug X does such-and-such..." They don't actually know for certain what some drugs actually do; they only know what the average reactions seem to be.

Some of those are interesting and possible to solve in time, but I don't think we can ever expect to name the "source" of any contagious virus.

My contribution to Science Communications would be to link to:

https://www.complexityexplorer.org/

There aren't easy answers to "the boundaries of knowledge" but maybe it's something to think about.

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“If we knew exactly the laws of nature and the situation of the universe at the initial moment, we could predict exactly the situation of that same universe at a succeeding moment. but even if it were the case that the natural laws had no longer any secret for us, we could still only know the initial situation approximately. If that enabled us to predict the succeeding situation with the same approximation, that is all we require, and we should say that the phenomenon had been predicted, that it is governed by laws. But it is not always so; it may happen that small differences in the initial conditions produce very great ones in the final phenomena. A small error in the former will produce an enormous error in the latter. Prediction becomes impossible, and we have the fortuitous phenomenon.

- Henri Poincaré in a 1903 essay "Science and Method"

For instance, how well can you prediction social adaptation, and how will that affect the answer to "how it spreads?"

It is even possible that there is uncertainty at a sub atomic level, I hear.

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Reiterated by Robert May in 1976:

Alternatively, it may be observed that in the
chaotic regime arbitrarily close initial conditions can lead to trajectories which, after a sufficiently long time, diverge widely. This means
that, even if we have a simple model in which all the parameters are
determined exactly, long-term prediction is nevertheless impossible

Somewhere between 1903 and 1976 the phenomenon was dubbed "parametric sensitivity" - taking the view that initial conditions are just more parameters in your differential equations.

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Some of these questions have been answered or partially answered.
—Infectious ; median 10 days
- immunity : at least 5 months since no one is getting reinfected. aB like SARS likely 2 years, T cells much longer
- why age differences: comorbidities and immunosenescence.
- how goes it spread ( airborne, droplets/aerosols )
etc..,

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Why do people feel that experts are useless just because they don't know every single thing about their subject? Or don't know everything on Day 1?
Do you know what good experts do? They give the their best advice, and as they learn more, they improve that advice.
Agree, communication needs to improve.

I didnt say they were useless

i said we know a hell of a lot less than we think we do

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"its whack base"

The base is not covering itself in glory at the moment.

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fauci-security-detail-threats-source/story?id=69933965

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/24/media/sinclair-fauci-conspiracy-bolling/index.html

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I am pleased that my anonymous armchair epidemiology has probably already attracted more eyeballs than my nonanonymous professional work.

What I’d really like to see is someone with scientific expertise opine on the empirical plausibility of “the existence of a parent virus to SARS-Cov-2 that circulated undetected” because “it differs substantially from SARS-Cov-2 (having created it through a recombination event rather than mutation)” and “because its observable effects were mild or nonexistent, so nobody looked.”

Absent at least one of the parent viruses already actively circulating among humans, the required recombination strikes me (not based on any actual scientific knowledge) as too rare an event to be the likely origin.

Following on this point, I think these theorized origins do have something to say about the likelihood of natural vs. laboratory creation.

As several have commented, it is indeed likely impossible to distinguish a virus resulting from a natural recombination event randomly in “nature” vs. a deliberate one in a laboratory.

But, a lab that is artificially incubating “natural” random recombinations of betacoronaviruses by deliberately co-infecting animal hosts has no control over this random process, other than the choice of parent viruses. (Lets take as given the claims by experts that more deliberate insertions and manipulations would be detectable). In addition, they have only a handful of “shots on goal” to use this random process to create a recombination that is both transmissible and deadly.

In contrast, a highly transmissible parent coronavirus already circulating among hundreds of thousands of humans, who in turn are individually exposed to a wide range of novel betacoronaviruses from a wide range of animals, has at least thousands of “shots on goal” to breed the required deadly and transmissible recombination.

It is basically just a natural selection argument, but taking into consideration that a facility for sudden recombination of rather distinct betacoronaviruses would both rapidly accelerate the speed of “evolution” (as compared to just mutation), and simultaneously makes it much more difficult to trace with sequencing.

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It's much easier to apply Occam's razor, still sharp as ever after all these years. Coronaviruses constantly mutate. We've seen variants with SARS and MERS and now COVID. There are likely countless others that no one ever bothered to study in any detail.

The viral mutations have certain constraints, the mutant has to be able to get into a cell and get itself copied, so there can be huge variability but the conservation of essential components. That means that some antibodies to one coronavirus might work on another, just by chance. There is no need to imagine hidden strains, magic immunity, lab created viruses and so on.

Sure, it's fun to imagine a mystical slab like space intelligence mutating ape brains so they learn how to hit things with sticks and bones with the soaring tones of Thus Spoke Zarathustra playing in the background, but it is quite possible for apes to figure out how to hit things with sticks and bones just fine on their own.

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