The Spectator has an article by the co-Author of the book “Viral”, which discusses the possible origins of the pandemic. His co author is Alina Chan, who is a molecular biologist at MIT.
The news over the last couple days is that there is now “strong data” pointing to Racoon Dogs as a possible source. Instead of being reported as a “possible” source, this is being reported as big news.
And it’s kind of shrouded in a bit of controversy, as it seems the French scientists who’s preliminary work is being reported on, did not get the data properly. But really, that’s besides the point, because it’s not really new information anyway.
From the Spectator article:
we did know that raccoon dogs had been sold illegally in the market in recent years.
We found this out in June 2021 when a paper appeared detailing a two-year study of the illegal wildlife being sold in markets in Wuhan – a spectacular and useful coincidence. We immediately contacted two of the authors...were taken aback to be told that it had taken them many months to get their data into the public domain...the paper was deemed by the editors to be of insufficient general interest...
That the study had found that no pangolins were on sale in the market was apparently thought inconvenient to the prevailing (now discredited) theory that pangolins were the source.
The final word about the wildlife trade in Wuhan:
The authorities may have missed these illegal animals in the market, although not necessarily: the authors of the study told us that November, when the pandemic probably began, was a quiet time in the illegal wildlife trade and the numbers sold in Wuhan were anyway small.
The truth is we will never get to the bottom of this without full transparency of the Chinese authorities, but even then the initial opportunity to secure data and samples was probably missed. There is military work done at WIV, and thus this facility is probably will not be open for a rigorous inspection of records.
So there is no real way to verify the possibility that activities at WIV caused the pandemic, and there is only fragmentary data about the initial cases. After 3 years there has been no evidence of a natural spill over (that is, a population of wild animal intermediaries), which should have left some evidence along the trail these illegally traded animals traveled, if they indeed were the proximate cause. Of course, China is not letting us see all there potential data perhaps, or it is in my view more likely that they might have not had the disease surveillance they claim outside of the major cities and could have missed the actual start of the pandemic. But the case evidence published suggests strongly that the pandemic did in fact start in Wuhan.
The B/A lineage at the seafood market points to either 2 introductions of DIFFERENT lineages of the virus contained in the animals there to humans at approximately the same time, or by the time the virus was detected at the market the virus had been circulating enough in humans to mutate a little already. One of those scenarios is far less complicated than the other…
But that doesn’t implicate the lab, at the same time it not a reason to absolve the lab either. But it is obvious that there is enough information about the illegal wildlife trade, so there should have been enough of a clue to look at those animals at the outset. Or the Chinese possibly thought this was the original SARS, and just didn’t check.
We just don’t know. Probably never will. And I suspect that neither the natural surveillance nor the laboratory practices will be improved in any significant way. If, as some experts seem to think, the next pandemic is going to be relatively soon, the world will be in a world of hurt from not learning ANY lessons from the COVID pandemic.