Hacker News Re-Imagined

The Next ‘Lab Leak’

  • 189 points
  • 7 days ago

  • @johncena33
  • Created a post
  • • 424 comments

The Next ‘Lab Leak’


@djsbs 6 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

The lab leak theory is taboo because it helps Trump style populism, which elites in China, EU and USA oppose.

The lab leak theory also attracts nut job conspiracy theorists because it helps Trump style populism.

We might never know what happened, but after two years my money is what a brilliant Chinese colleague (graduated from the top university in China said) told me (before we took COVID seriously)

“The bio lab is two miles from the wet market. I’ve worked with Chinese scientists. I’ve worked with US scientists. The safety culture in China is terrible.

Its a lab leak”

To anyone who thinks thats racist, its not so I don't care. Culture is not race - Ill never forget an Eastern European friend who disabled one of the gas alarms in his lab because they annoyed him when they went off. His excuse: “we didn't have working fume hoods at home”. His PI, from the same country, shrugged the whole thing off with a laugh.

Reply


@99_00 6 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

Some people don't believe the 'Lab Leak' explanation. They believe the 'Wet-market' explanation.

Well, wet markets are open. Wet markets are weapons of mass destruction.

In April 2021, the World Health Organization called for a total ban on the sale of live animals in food markets in order to prevent future pandemics.

Hasn't happened.

Given the ongoing damage caused by COVID-19, lives lost, economic, mental health, educational, is this OK?

I am going to make an extreme suggestion. Given the risks, I don't know what else is feasible: As long as wet-markets are open there needs to be mandatory quarantine of any traveler from China, or traveler from a country that doesn't enforce mandatory quarantines on travelers from China.

Reply


@cblconfederate 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

Biologists are able to generate highly specialized viruses for research for decades now, i m sure it was possible before covid. I think going forward you should be afraid of nature. We have evolved global transportation / shipping / tourism beyond the carrying capacity of modern epidemiology / bacteriology to keep up with spreading pathogens. SarsCov2 might be just one of many , since human population has not peaked in numbers yet.

Reply


@tpmx 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

> Covid might not have come out of a medical research lab

It most likely did, though.

Reply


@paulpauper 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

It has been now almost 2 years and still no closure or definitive explanation about where Covid came from? It would seem as if nothing changed . You have all these investigators ,scientists, and reporters but no progress it seems.

Reply


@teejmya 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙



@nice_byte 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

i don't understand why the so-called "lab leak theory" of origin for sars-cov2 is treated as some sort of conspiracy theory. it is completely plausible, and things like this have happened in the past (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sverdlovsk_anthrax_leak), not due to malice but due to incompetence.

Reply


@zanethomas 6 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

"might not have come out of a medical research lab"

uh huh

might have come out of a bio-weapons research lab

Reply


@cletus 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

There are many variations of the "lab leak" theory for Covid-19. For example:

1. Was the sample found or engineered? Or found then engineered?

2. Was it a deliberate leak or accidental?

Here are some open questions that haven't been answered or examined (at least publicly) to a sufficient degree:

1. If Covid-19 jumped from an animal species to humans, possibly through another animal, then why hasn't it been found in the wild? For example, SARS was relatively quickly found in the wild. To date there's been no equivalent discovery of the lineage of human-transmissible Covid-19. An alternative theory, that Covid-19 spread to humans at a wet market, would strongly suggest that Covid-19 would be found in the wild;

2. The Chinese had a database of Covid strains that was taken offline in late 2019. To the best of my knowledge, no independent third-party has been able to examine the contents of this database and see if it relates to Covid-19;

3. Covid-19 seems to be related to bat coronavirus strains from hundreds of miles away. How was the jump made? Through what species? and

4. We don't really know who Patient Zero was.

None of this adds up to positive evidence of any variation of the "lab leak" theory but given that there is no alternative theory that holds up to serious scrutiny or doesn't have serious flaws or unanswered questions, it has to stay in the running.

My suspicion is the Chinese government doesn't know either but, more importantly, they don't want to know because absolutely no good can come from that becoming public. There is literally no upside. This applies on the individual level too. If you're a manager of a lab or even just a lab technician, do you really want to be held responsible, even just in the public eye, for "starting" Covid-19? God, no. That may well be bad for you, your family, the government and countless others.

So there's a concerted effort to not know.

And the WHO's response to all this has been utterly anemic from the early days of the pandemic where China's pronouncements were taken at face value to the late joint investigation with laughably narrow frames of reference.

Reply


@kwertyoowiyop 6 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

Can we have some posts about computers now? (Yeah, yeah, be the change you want to see in the world)

Reply


@Ambolia 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

Nobody took responsibility for the first one nor seem interested in investigating it, but I should worry about the next one?

Reply


@somewhereoutth 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

'Giant Watering Can theory under pressure as more evidence points to clouds'

Reply


@Kenji 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

Nobody should be afraid. Fear is not an emotion to cultivate. Enjoy your life until you meet the grim reaper, regardless of whether that happens tomorrow or in 50 years.

Reply


@ramesh31 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

I think we have to accept at this point that pandora's box has been opened with our ability to now directly synthesize genetic material and modify organisms. It wont be long before anarchic hackers can start doing this just to troll the world. There's sort of a parallel with computing, where viruses were never really a problem until everyone had access to the technology. I can see a future where we all need to get regular "security upgrades" installed to our immune systems in the form of an mRNA cocktail tailored to the latest bio threats that have been released.

Reply


@halfmatthalfcat 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

I want to take the contrarian take to most people in this thread.

Sure, lab leak could be true and with all the available evidence, could very well be true but the confirmation of of it being true may have more far reaching domestic and geopolitical ramifications that may do more harm than good.

It seems like there's some game theory going on within the political sphere of many western governments in that increasing anti-China sentiment by confirming lab leak could further put us down the path to an eventual confrontation (read: war) with China, in which we lose a lot more.

The only thing we gain by admitting to lab leak is the truth but is the truth (that we've pretty much deduced at this point) worth worsening relations not only politically but gives anti-Chinese factions in the west more evidence as a prelude to war?

Reply


@hlwez 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

Fauci funded "research" that ripped vocal cords out of puppies so the "scientists" wouldn't have to hear them scream in pain as they were EATEN TO DEATH by horseflies.

He also funded "research" that poured acid on monkeys' brains to 'induce terror'.

and you people still trust this raging piece of shit? He should be fucking shot.

Reply


@sleepysysadmin 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

Regardless of covid's source. Are we ready for something that is truly bad? It sure is a good thing that covid turned out to not be anywhere near as deadly as the spanish flu as they touted it to be.

Here's an article from April 1st 2020.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/dems-media-change-tune-trum...

Trump put in travel restrictions for china in february of 2020 and was called xenophobic and fear mongering over what wasn't yet a pandemic. Sorry but the democrats went on the offensive attacking trump for doing what everyone did.

Flipside, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/obama-team-left-pandemic...

Trump had a pandemic playbook on how to react to a pandemic and didn't use it? Is it possible because of the political attacks on him?

It's pretty obvious that politics got in the way bigtime. I have no expectations this will be different next time.

Then we had clearly political decisions made all throughout. By May 2020 we had the data in that people like Dr. Neil Ferguson of Imperial College said covid is the equivalent of the Spanish Flu of 1918.That was wrong and we still reacted like it was indeed still dangerous. When in reality it was less dangerous than the normal flu season(largely due young children being unharmed).

The number of political abuses is so high that society right now would not accept another pandemic. That they are almost certainly full of shit at this point.

Reply


@m0zg 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

LOL, they still are trying to sell the narrative that it "may not have come from a lab" with freaking bat caves a thousand miles away from Wuhan, and confirmed gain of function experiments at the lab. NYT is a joke.

Reply


@mypalmike 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

This comment section is, at best, 99% speculation by internet detectives and conspiracy theorists.

Reply


@hwers 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

The news have abused my "you should be afraid" notification too many times for me to take this to heart.

Reply


@Mikeb85 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

When mainstream news starts putting 'The Next' without a question mark in headlines it certainly gives conspiracy theories some credibility.

Reply


@theduder99 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

How many level 4 biosafety labs exist in the world where this type of dangerous research is carried out? 15. How many are in China? 2, one of which is in Wuhan the epicenter of the origination of the virus. Lab leak theory should have been the default root cause until proven otherwise by independent researchers (which China won't allow in).

Reply


@tamaharbor 6 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

My first thought is why do they seem to locate infectious disease labs in highly populated urban areas?

Reply


@peterburkimsher 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

I'm not so worried about humans maliciously trying to destroy the world. There are few who would do so intentionally.

Far more worrying is when people do what is easiest for them, regardless of the cost to their neighbour.

A mask collects particles, including the COVID-19 virus. Please can we work together to pick up the masks from the street?

Worms will eat the masks. Bats will eat the worms. And the bats will give COVID back to us.

We're not responsible for world-scale Epic issues: plastic in the ocean, climate change, pandemics. We are fully responsible for the Issues we see. Please, let's clean the streets while we cycle/walk dogs/skateboard and the butterfly effect will help to fix the bigger problems too :)

Reply


@tomjen3 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

The only thing I am afraid of is ideas being disregarded because they don't help you politically.

Reality is what reality is. Whether this was leaked by a lab in China or not should not depend on which side of the election we are on. Ivermectine is not effective or not based on which side of the political spectrum you are on.

And if it doesn't work, that doesn't mean we make fun of those who believe it does, it means we try something else. It took thousand of failed attempts to find the one bacteria that could effectively attack TB.

If you want to reject reality and substitute your own, I won't stop you. Don't force it upon me.

Reply


@nomdep 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

How the lab leak is not considered a fact already? Have everyone forgot about this https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28644428 ?

The leaked grant plus Peter Daszak Wikipedia page screams “guilty”

Reply


@alok-g 6 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙



@smsm42 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

If such labs and research are dangerous, shouldn't we, you know, be more careful in working with them, especially in a country which is notorious for hiding data, cutting various corners and preferring good looking lies to the ugly truth, and being in control to doing the right thing?

And shouldn't we ensure that people who work with such labs when and if it is necessary to do so are fully, 100% transparent and subject to public oversight? And if they, say, lie to the public and/or use weasel phrasing to hide their actions and mislead the overseers and the public about what kind of research is conducted in the dangerous labs and how it is financed and supported - shouldn't there be some consequences to it? I mean, beyond ones for lying to the Congress, which has become so routine now nobody even bats an eye at it?

Reply


@gootler 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

Oh people of the internets are so smart as shit. Bravo sleuths!

Reply


@devmunchies 6 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

I keep seeing more hints of smallpox like media companies are priming the public. It’s really eerie after I noticed it.

Reply


@eternauta3k 6 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

I can't find the exact link, but 80000 hours has written about lab safety as a possible high-impact career area.

https://80000hours.org/podcast/episodes/toby-ord-the-precipi... https://80000hours.org/preventing-catastrophic-pandemics/

Reply


@robbmorganf 7 days

Replying to @johncena33 🎙

This article briefly mentions SARS-CoV-2, but at length it discusses Ebola and others quite a bit more. This article isn't about what happened with COVID-19, but about whether we should have BL4 labs at all.

In my opinion, we absolutely should. Awful diseases like Ebola are effective at what they do, so they're great places to learn about molecular biology and genetics. It seems feasible that we can manage the risk well enough to get a net expected benefit.

Reply


About Us

site design / logo © 2021 Box Piper