China must hand over the keys to Wuhan lab for Covid-19 origins and global good. Ongoing debates on the possible origins of this epidemic are important in themselves. However, no matter where the needle ultimately points to, the need to inform the dragon in the room. No intention, political dialogue on this issue is possible due to the depth and reach of Chinese influence.
The issue of the origin of the epidemic can easily be explained. For thousands of years, germs, bacteria and parasites infect other animals and sometimes ‘spillover’ infect humans closely. These spillover events often lead to fever or more severe symptoms and usually do not cause human transmission.
Another reason why human-to-human transmission is rare is because of the ‘key’ used by the virus to open the ‘lock’ on the surface of our cells. This key has a good balance to unlock the locks on other animals where it has hatched and emerged, but it has an unlockable lock to unlock the locks on humans, which can be similar but also have a big difference.
Coronaviruses can infect bats but do not cause any side effects. They grow and multiply in their keeper and sometimes accumulate changes that change the key genetic code. This happened decades ago. More often than not, you have a new key that has a good balance in the bat cell key but now also has the right balance in the human cell key. This new virus has never been seen in a human being, but it has the potential to infect the virus, and cause human transmission. This is how nature works.
Now, if one could get too much contact – in a bat cave or in a wet market, with such a bat; they can become infected. Then pass the disease on to other people. This is the natural hypothesis of ‘spillover’.
Scientists around the world are studying germs. Such research brings us basic knowledge and gives us insight and tools to fight disease. In dealing with known or potential viruses, strict safety rules must be adhered to. Lab leaks are unknown but rare, compared to the massive work of infectious diseases worldwide. Still, it is unknown. Smallpox virus leaked out of laboratories in the UK, anthrax from the US and SARS-1 may have had a small laboratory leak after its natural history. The H1N1 virus model is rare. In a recent episode, The Economist reiterates the origins of the leak of HIV.
Could Sars-CoV2 appear in a lab leak, by accident? The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) is one of the top virology labs in the world and research on corona viruses is being done extensively there. Another type of study that is suspected of being designed is the design of the coronavirus to improve its susceptibility to human cells or mice containing the ‘human’ virus receptor.
There are a lot of technical debates, in addition to those in popular newspapers, it is possible that these two ideas are correct. A ‘spillover’ animal is like buying a successful lottery ticket with a very large lotto. A very unusual event for any single person, but nonetheless, does happen (in this case only, a big loss and not a big victory). Leaking labs are like lottery fraud.
If animal-to-human spillover is active, then there will be wild animals, bats or pangolins, carrying the same virus that was found in the original cases of Wuhan. This is not yet available, it is unlikely to be found soon and there is no indication that the Chinese are in the process of finding such an animal. Therefore, we have no evidence of wild origins yet, and we may not have them forever. Searching is difficult on its own, even if it were to be done.
People have tried to look at the genome sequence or the type of test performed on WIV to gather evidence of the myth of the leak. Just as there is evidence to support this theory of wild shedding, there is some evidence to support this leaky theory.
Often, the most clever explanation will support wild spillover. However, with this epidemic, WIV and China need to explain more. Lab-spillover can be easily removed if WIV opens its books to the WHO team and allows lab members to be interviewed. This kind of openness can easily remove critics, as the intense wildlife that created this nail continues. Such openness is almost impossible from China.