The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age

    Wuhan & the Rand Paul Fauci Quarrel

    Rand Paul and Fauci had a big quarrel today in the Senate, accusing, blaming, without talking, calm testimony and inquiry, about the heart of the topic, virus research, like that at Wuhan and elsewhere. Some funded by the NIH.

    They did not talk about what kinds of restrictions on virus research should exist or be tightened.

    Viruses were being created for infectious disease research in Wuhan.

    No one knows for sure where COVID19 came from. The lab had reports of violations in safe containment of viruses under study. No one knows for sure where COVID19 came from, but the fact is it could have come from sloppy research.

    Potential pandemic pathogens were in fact being created for study in the Wuhan lab, and likely other labs in other nations. It is apparently done widely.

    The practice is creating, cutting, pasting genomes, putting parts into wild viruses, recombining them to see if the lab created virus could infect human cells.

    A research practice many in the field believe is highly dangerous (see WaPo below).

    The justification for this kind of research is to preempt nature by developing treatments or vaccines for viruses that do not exist, in case they do emerge. As far as I know, such a scenario has never happened. As there are tens of millions or billions of viruses in the wild, the likelihood such research would find the one that becomes dangerous seems slim

    And if you look into reports of Wuhan’s record of poor biological security  and whether or not this virus was natural or unnatural (no help to us now)  it does imply this type of research seems extraordinarily risky.

    From May 18 Wash Post.

    What is gain-of-function research?

    In many ways, it is basic biological research. It’s done all the time with flies, worms, mice and cells in petri dishes. Scientists create novel genotypes (such as arrangements of nucleic acids) and screen or select to find those with a given phenotype (such as trait or ability) to find new sequences with a particular function.

    But it’s one thing to experiment with fruit flies and another thing when the research involves genotypes of potential pandemic pathogens and functions related to transmissibility or virulence in humans.That’s when “gain of function” becomes controversial. The idea is to get ahead of future viruses that might emerge from nature, thereby allowing scientists to study how to combat them. But many believed the research was potentially dangerous.

    Check around on the topic. From MIT, 2 weeks ago:

    Inside the risky bat-virus engineering that links America to Wuhan

    China emulated US techniques to construct novel coronaviruses in unsafe conditions.

    In 2013, the American virologist Ralph Baric approached Zhengli Shi at a meeting. Baric was a top expert in coronaviruses, with hundreds of papers to his credit, and Shi, along with her team at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, had been discovering them by the fistful in bat caves. In one sample of bat guano, Shi had detected the genome of a new virus, called SHC014, that was one of the two closest relatives to the original SARS virus, but her team had not been able to culture it in the lab.

    Baric had developed a way around that problem—a technique for “reverse genetics” in coronaviruses. Not only did it allow him to bring an actual virus to life from its genetic code, but he could mix and match parts of multiple viruses. He wanted to take the “spike” gene from SHC014 and move it into a genetic copy of the SARS virus he already had in his lab. The spike molecule is what lets a coronavirus open a cell and get inside it. The resulting chimera would demonstrate whether the spike of SHC014 would attach to human cells.

    If it could, then it could help him with his long-term project of developing universal drugs and vaccines...


    OIC, ye olde bureaucrat's weasel words thing

    Would have been appropriate as a legislator and overseer of government funds and policy (Senate) for Paul to ask Fauci how long this research has been going on, how many labs, and what guardrails- if any -  there are on virus research.  This would lead into what law the Congress might need to pass to significantly tighten up the research done, and how it is done.

    Playing gotcha tribal politics is all Paul did, by going ballistic by accusing Fauci of the death of millions. And we got two powerful people we depend on to 'keep us safe' yelling liar at each other.

    We don't depend on Rand Paul for anything, except maybe entertaining fights with his neighbors


    I watched the hearing.

    When did Paul accuse Fauci of the "death of millions"?


    Hi Jeff - "you're trying to obscure responsibility for 4 million people dying during the pandemic"
    Took me 2 minutes to find from the hearing excerpt.
    Are you here to start silly fights from deep parsing again?
    Rand Paul acting like a complete turd keeping Fauci from answering was totally fucked up - they should have cut his mic or duct taped him. But he's not there to discuss - he's trying to drown out his opposition as usual.
    Well I say that, but he was better behaved a month before

    You are inferring things he didn't imply.


    He did not accuse fauci of killing 4 million people.  Its pretty clear that the US government was funding gain of function research at the Wuhan Lab.  Fauci, of course, wants to deny it.

    We will see what the DOJ does, or most likely won't do.




    FFS, Jeff - he literally said "you're trying to obscure responsibility for 4 million people dying during the pandemic" - is English not your first language?

    Fauci also noted 27 times that Rand Paul was using a different flawed definition of "gain of function" and yet Paul wouldn't let Fauci finish, so fucktards like you could spin it exactly the same way - mission accomplished. Now go fuck yourself - somewhere else.

    Fauci flat out said there was no gain of function research going on at Wuhan. It is reasonable to conclude that gain-of-function RESULTED from the work going on at Wuhan.

    Has there been an animal found with the Covid-19 virus?


    On a side note, why are you censoring my posts?  What are you afraid of?





    Jeff, read the extensive postings on this - i explained in depth where Rand Paul could have been professional, and if you're interested search NCD's for "Fauci" to see what Paul could have asked if he wasn't just trying to score quick points for his base.

    Until you up your game and actually contribute something intellectual/intelligent or at least of interest, i Will Slow your access. Yes, Rand Paul accused Fauci of essentially causing the death of millions, which *Might Be Accurate!* But simply denying Paul's words and his counterproductive loudmouthed behavior in committee means you're just an annoying drive-by spammer. Analyze, tell us something real & useful. I'm "afraid of" you boring us to pieces and diverting real adult talk with useless correcting the record and doing your goddam homework for you as I've already done about 5 times. 

    I'll help you for the 6th:

    Search for Fauci and read how Fauci *may have been wrong*, abusing a term of art, etc.

    Slow My Access !!



    Use Your Illusion II? Strange or Estranged?
    (talking to yourself & nobody's home? how do i relate?)

    I think Jeff's participation here makes clearer for me that he has strong libertarian sympathies, not necessarily Republican ones, and he almost does the partisan thing sometimes with politicians voicing libertarian opinions, as if there was a Libertarian party and there's not.

    The problem of doing that which I see: you, NCD, Jeff and Rand Paul are suspicious of what happened in Wuhan and possible U.S. funding of it, but you are attacking each other rather than agreeing and collaborating.

    Just another example for me of how distorting the us vs them frame of national Democrats vs. Republicans is as far as real issues are concerned. Everything is framed as to winning the games ot the two political parties, and the politicians manipulate that to distract,, to their own political benefit.

    In the past, I've seen Jeff's comments as not so much as "Trump supporter" or "conservative", as someone who dislikes Democratic party political agitprop.

    Let me just say that I did appreciate NCD's initial approach here, basically presenting the hearing story as a hissy fit argument between two egos that was very regrettable, rather then the same old same old GOP vs. Dems, which side are you on?

    And what I personally see. and it's all I see so far:a government entity staffed with elites (including Fauci) trying to get away with breaking the rules enacted by a democracy by playing funny games with words, because they thought it was a good idea at the time. Ryan was trying to make a big "gotcha" out of it for personal political gain, because Republicans and Trumpies both have already demonized Fauci for political purposes. But Rand Paul also has genuine interest in investigating all things China, perhaps too much so, as he has a basic belief that all big governments are up to no good.

    Adding an ironic side note: politically, Fauci in past incarnations was probably far from Democratic liberal. (see tales of his relationship with Larry Kramer for more.)  Trump just pushed him into that camp. He's just the arrogant type of elite who gladly takes a government job and funding because he believes he knows best what's good for the country.

    p.p.s. Another possible "big government is good when it's on our side" story. Struck me reading this that if I just changed the "plotters" from right wing nuts to sympathizers with Islamic radicalism, it could be one of many articles of old by Democrats complaining about the Bush era FBI goading angry people to violence and then arresting them for it. Though I do have a lot of libertarian sympathies, I'm actually mostly on the side of the FBI trying to do this to prevent violence when lack of free speech have driven nut cases "underground", but liberals historically have been very much against it (i.e. not just during Iraq war, but Black Panther infiltration in the 60's, and anarchist groups in the early 20th century supposedly plotting bombings...)

    If Rand Paul had actually asked incisive followup questions, maybe he could have gotten some gotcha, but instead he talked over Fauci. Im not a Fauci fan or enemy - maybe there was some money transferred to Wuhan for this research, not just North Carolina - but show the money trail - though you also have to be careful, like Elon giving $40k to Republicans is not a huge investment. As for Jeff, bring something real to the table. Orion believes the born in the wild theory. I just posted Evan's piece as a strong rebuttal. But sure, can be another datum that changes the picture let's debate, not just toss out glib talking points then.

    You might read the link below.

    The NIH was funding "gain of function" creation and 'research' on corona viruses at Wuhan, which used level 2/3 biological containment, L2 being that done in dental offices. L4 is highest.

    The medium article seems in the 10,000 word or more range.


    "Inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology

    Dr. Baric had developed, and taught Dr. Shi, a general method for engineering bat coronaviruses to attack other species. The specific targets were human cells grown in cultures and humanized mice. These laboratory mice, a cheap and ethical stand-in for human subjects, are genetically engineered to carry the human version of a protein called ACE2 that studs the surface of cells that line the airways.

    Dr. Shi returned to her lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and resumed the work she had started on genetically engineering coronaviruses to attack human cells..."

    That's a brilliant writeup. So what Rand Paul (and his admirer Jeff) should have focused on (searching for "Fauci" near the end of the paper) was eliciting 1) what definition of "gain-of-function Fauci is working under if not the very open definition in the protocols, paraphrasing "anything that can increase virus potency" or how exactly written, 2) why did Fauci *not* see this research requiring an exception after the Pause ended, 3) why does Fauci claim that NIH money didn't fund this, when EcoHealth grants were explicitly subcontracted to Wuhan (or is "indirectly" a loophole in his response, not the prime contractor?, 4) what practical good could have come from gain-of-function research when vaccination research lagged horridly behind gain-of-function capabilities in the lab, so the chance of learning how to control Frankenstein's monster became less and less? 5) what are the ethical repercussions and sanctions for Daszak's(sp?)/EcoHealth's role in stirring up and then denying this process?

    For as much as people bitch about AOC, when she's examining someone, she asks razor sharp questions and gets clear, useful sharp answers. (Al Franken was also good). Rand Paul's grandstanding may have had some basis in fact and reason, but in 2 hearings, he failed to elicit any further clarity from the "Where we are/4. US involvement" section of this paper, and that's a tragic failure for the public's need to know. And in general, spreading papers like these *should* at least raise the intelligence of the discussion. Jon Stewart did offer some reasonable anecdotal support but he could have added some further details/arguments/sources to lead his audience past the Colbert vs Stewart humor--a-thon. Similarly, Jeff could acknowledge that Paul is largely accusing Fauci in his prior infections role of helping launch the pandemic that's killed millions *if* this oaper's arguments are worthy, or that this type of dangerous research still augurs similar results if not controlled or paused.

    Nail on head: " what practical good could have come from gain-of-function research when vaccination research lagged horridly behind gain-of-function capabilities in the lab, "

    Can you imagine the financial obligations for a nation that funds gain of function research, that leads to a global pandemic because of an escape of a carefully designed Frankenstein virus spread from the contracted lab?

    Maybe that's why they put the lab next to the wild meat market, "couldn't be us".

    Longer Wuhan thread 1 1/2 months ago
    Vanity Fair article especially good and comprehensive

    Thanks. Where is the US or world body looking into who is doing this, why and what is the risk/benefit?

    Where and by whom in what labs?  ... Evaluating if digging up and playing around with cave guano and attaching Corona virus spikes to bat viruses is perhaps as dangerous as trying to make airborne anthrax.

    news on topic:

    Theoretically, a U.N. investigation would be ideal given that there are so many motives for political parties and nation states to spin or outright lie.

    Virologist Shi Zhengli and staff were actually constructing very nasty viruses not found in nature, and they won't open the data books on the genetics of the (Frankenstein?) viruses they were playing around with, see below and it's link:

    " ...The lab leak hypothesis has picked up more adherents as time passes and scientists fail to detect a bat or other animal infected with a virus that has COVID’s signature genetics. By contrast, within a few months of the start of the 2003 SARS pandemic, scientists found the culprit coronavirus in animals sold in Chinese markets. But samples from 80,000 animals to date have failed to turn up a virus pointing to the origins of SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID. The virus’s ancestors originated in bats in southern China, 600 miles from Wuhan. But COVID contains unusual mutations or sequences that made it ideal for infecting people, an issue explored in depth by journalist Nicholas Wade.

    Scientists from the Wuhan Institute have collected thousands of coronavirus specimens from bats and registered them in databases closed to inspection. Could one of those viruses have escaped, perhaps after a “gain of function” experiment that rendered it more dangerous?.."

    Note in particular "samples from 80,000 animals to date have failed to turn up a virus pointing to the origins of SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID". ....... whereas SARS 1 was found to occur in animals after they emerged.

    Of course, now this virus can be found around the world, in animals from weasels to lions, it is highly transmissible.

    How could a cross species 'natural' pandemic super spreader virus be unknown in nature and still never found (80,000 samples tested see above)?  Until it broke out near the Wuhan lab?  No wonder they are hiding the research data.

    From the modernhea!thcare link above on virus research that cuts and pastes virus  genes to make them more dangerous to humans, from May, 2021:


    ".....At least six of the 18 signatories of the Science letter are part of the Cambridge Working Group, whose members worry about the release of pathogens from the growing number of virus labs around the world.

    In 2012, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who leads NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, came out in support of a moratorium on such research, posing a hypothetical scenario involving a poorly trained scientist in a poorly regulated lab: “In an unlikely but conceivable turn of events, what if that scientist becomes infected with the virus, which leads to an outbreak and ultimately triggers a pandemic?” Fauci wrote...."

    It would also make sense,  DON'T PUT THE VIRUS LAB next to the wild animal market, you could get blamed for an outbreak from the market.  Of course it would provide a scapegoat to cover-up for sloppy lab work that started a pandemic.

    I'm not a scientist but one issue I have had with the lab leak theory is that there is a long history of outbreak of disease coming from China. If it did originate from a lab, it seems the pandemic would have been caused by experimentation on something already existent.

    Nobody experiments on what's existent - they go for the Next Big Thing.

    Can you elaborate?

    No COVID 19 virus has never been found in the wild. Viruses from the wild can be found in the wild. It appeared fully infective to humans out of nowhere.

    80,000 animal samples were tested to find this virus in the wild in that region of China, after the pandemic broke out. They looked for COVID19 in animals, meat markets, caves etc, in people who visit, explore or gather guano in the bat caves.

    With both SARS1 and MERS, early 2000's, an animal reservoir and a transitional animal (Civet and camel) were found within months that allowed the virus to change, and jump species to humans.

    The Wuhan lab was cutting, pasting and manipulating bat cave corona virus using human respiratory cells in culture.  To see which one would infect human cells most effectively. They used cell cultures and 'humanized immune system' altered mice. 

    NIH bought into this with a $600k grant to Brit virus researher CEO Peter Daszak of "EcoHea!th Solutions", who funneled some of the money to Wuhan. Daszak led the charge to immediately blame the meat market almost as soon as the pandemic broke out.

    The justification, was a to preempt a pandemic by creating a pandemic virus to study before it caused a pandemic.

    They were doing this at the biological containment level of an US dentist office, Bio Level 2, with poorly trained personnel (noted in a 2018 US State DEpt. memo).

    See the 11,000 word essay covering this at Medium website.

    The author has many links to relevant sources.

    CRISPR's the new fantasy toolkit - make your own monstrosity. Not much excitement with reinventing old 2002-era SARS - a chimera mixing 2 or more of your favorite beasties is driving the religion now. The article noted the scientists want to create the next gen virus we might confront - theoretically so as to invent an antidote, but then they got so excited they forgot to work on a vaccine. Small detail.

    For decades, scientists have been hot-wiring viruses in hopes of preventing a pandemic, not causing one, but what if ?

    The intentional creation of new microbes that combine virulence with heightened transmissibility “poses extraordinary risks to the public,” wrote infectious-disease experts Marc Lipsitch and Thomas Inglesby in 2014. “A rigorous and transparent risk-assessment process for this work has not yet been established.” That’s still true today. In 2012, in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Lynn Klotz warned that there was an 80 percent chance, given how many laboratories were then handling virulent viro-varietals, that a leak of a potential pandemic pathogen would occur sometime in the next 12 years.

    The Lab-Leak Hypothesis  NY Magazine 1/4/21

    NYT science writer article, May 17, 2021,  on origin of COVID19, see link.


    "I spoke about Nick’s article last week with Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, the renowned Columbia University virus hunter who was one of the five co-authors on the seminal “proximal origin” paper.

    He favored a natural origin theory, he said, in part because he had assumed that all the Wuhan Institute’s 2019 work with SARS-like viruses had been done in its top-level BSL-4 lab, which was cleared to operate in 2017. (State Department cables from 2018 raised questions about how well-run the lab was.)

    But later he learned of studies with Dr. Shi’s name on them showing that work he considers dangerous had been done in level BSL-2 labs, which he considers highly porous to leaks, not just in 2016, but in 2020.

    “That’s screwed up,” he said. “It shouldn’t have happened. People should not be looking at bat viruses in BSL-2 labs. My view has changed.”

    That is still not, as he pointed out, direct evidence of a lab leak. There is no proof of a leak.

    But the Occam’s Razor argument — what’s the likeliest explanation, animal or lab? — keeps shifting in the direction of the latter...."

    Fauci undermined strict rules on pandemic virus research made under Obama. The NIH rules were for standards and safeguards in gain of function research.

    The Wuhan Bat Pandemic Virus Lab got 600K in funds from the US NIH which might have been blocked under the Obama rules. If it was blocked, it is unkown what impact that would have had on the continuation of the research at that lab that has been implicated as a COVID19 source. (see above links) 


    .... high-risk (pandemic virus) research has reemerged as a focal point because of speculation that such experiments in Wuhan, China, may have accidentally triggered the coronavirus pandemic ...

    “The risks are absolutely real. They’re not intellectual constructs or hypotheticals,” (or 'conspiracy theories' I would note) said David A. Relman, a Stanford University physician and microbiologist who has advised NIH and other federal agencies on biosecurity. Eventually, he said, “something that you make or information that you release will result in an accident of some kind.”

    aides to President Barack Obama, who were alarmed by what they saw as insufficient scrutiny of the research with ferrets. The NIH leaders and the Department of Health and Human Services pledged to subject the work to increased transparency and vetting. This included forming a review group of federal officials — known informally as a “Ferrets Committee” — to vet proposed projects for safety and worthiness. .... Collins and Fauci in recent years have ... undercut the committee’s authority, according to federal documents...

    (both found retweeted by Laura Rozen)

    Inside the Wuhan lab: French engineering, deadly viruses and a big mystery

    By Eva Dou (China correspondent focusing on business and technology), Pei Lin Wu, Quentin Ariès and Rebecca Tan @, Today at 4:00 a.m. EDT

    Very lame article.  Since a conclusion the virus was made by grossly negligent virus researchers in Wuhan would lead to possible societal chaos, result in huge loss of faith in science research and governments, not to mention incalculable liabilities, it will never happen. 

    The Wuhan Virology Lab was using serial human culture cell selection and mice with modified human immune systems to create possible pandemic viruses, could those viruses have accidentally leaked from their labs? But isn't that a conspiracy theory, a fantasy?

    May, 2004 NIH:

    The World Health Organization has confirmed that breaches of safety procedures on at least two occasions at one of Beijing's top virology laboratories were the probable cause of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) there last month, which infected nine people, one of whom died.



    "On 9 December 2019, before the outbreak of the pandemic became generally known, Dr. Daszak (contracted with the Wuhan Lab through his company EcoHealth Solutions)  gave an interview in which he talked in glowing terms of how researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been reprogramming the spike protein and generating chimeric coronaviruses capable of infecting humanized mice. “And we have now found, you know, after 6 or 7 years of doing this, over 100 new sars-related coronaviruses, very close to SARS,”


    MIT Tech Review, 3/2021

    "No one can find the animal that gave people covid-19

    Here’s your guide to the WHO-China searchor the origins of the corrus. food animal has been identified as a reservoir for the pandemic virus. That’s despite efforts by China to test tens of thousands of animals, including pigs, goats, and geese, according to Liang Wannian, who leads the Chinese side of the research team."

    From Vanity Fair, October 22, 2021:

    Instead of helping to lead a search for COVID-19’s origins, with the pandemic now firmly in its 19th month, the NIH has circled the wagons, defending its grant system and scientific judgment against a rising tide of questions. “It’s just another chapter in a sad tale of inadequate oversight, disregard for risk, and insensitivity to the importance of transparency,”

    On 9 December 2019, before the outbreak of the pandemic became generally known, Dr. Daszak gave an interview link.

    In which he talked in glowing terms of how researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been reprogramming the spike protein and generating chimeric coronaviruses capable of infecting humans.  From the interview link:

    "And we have now found, you know, after 6 or 7 years of doing this, over 100 new sars-related coronaviruses, very close to SARS,” Dr. Daszak says around minute 28 of the interview. “Some of them get into human cells in the lab, some of them can cause SARS disease in humanized mice models and are untreatable with therapeutic monoclonals and you can’t vaccinate against them with a vaccine. So, these are a clear and present danger…"

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