Preprint: Coronaviruses with a SARS-CoV-2-like RBD isolated from bats of the Indochinese peninsula

“We found that the RBDs of these viruses differ from that of SARS-CoV-2 by only one or two residues”

Here we show that such viruses indeed circulate in cave bats living in the limestone karstic terrain in North Laos, within the Indochinese peninsula. We found that the RBDs of these viruses differ from that of SARS-CoV-2 by only one or two residues, bind as efficiently to the hACE2 protein as the SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan strain isolated in early human cases, and mediate hACE2-dependent entry into human cells, which is inhibited by antibodies neutralizing SARS-CoV-2.

None of these bat viruses harbors a furin cleavage site in the spike. Our findings therefore indicate that bat-borne SARS-CoV-2-like viruses potentially infectious for humans circulate in Rhinolophus spp. in the Indochinese peninsula.

ResearchSquare preprint:  Coronaviruses with a SARS-CoV-2-like receptor-binding domain allowing ACE2-mediated entry into human cells isolated from bats of Indochinese peninsula


Preprint: Molecular evidence for SARS-CoV-2 in samples collected since late summer 2019 in Lombardy

435 samples from 156 cases were investigated.  RNA isolated from oropharyngeal swabs and urine was screened by hemi-nested PCRs targeting key sites for viral typing. Molecular evidence for SARS-CoV-2 infection was found in 13 subjects. Two patients were from the pandemic period (2/12, 16·7%, March 2020-March 2021) and 11 were from the pre-pandemic period (11/44, 25%, August 2019-February 2020).

Five of the positive individuals showed the simultaneous presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. No clear evidence of infection was found in 281 samples collected between August 2018 and July 2019 from 100 patients. The first positivity for SARS-CoV-2 RNA was found in a sample collected on September 12, 2019. Mutations typical of B.1 (PANGOLIN classification) strains, previously reported to have emerged in January 2020, had already been circulating in October 2019. Hence, we estimate SARS-CoV-2 progenitor of known human infections to have emerged in late June-late August 2019.

Preprint: Molecular Evidence for SARS-CoV-2 in Samples Collected From Patients With Morbilliform Eruptions Since Late Summer 2019 in Lombardy, Northern Italy



Italy: WHO retests patient samples from September 2019 that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RBD-specific antibodies



Image by Tommy_Rau from Pixabay

Shi Zhengli: We need to learn to live with the virus

Shi Zhengli, China’s ‘Bat Woman’, has said that new variants of Sars-Cov-2 will continue to emerge, but that vaccines are ‘effective’.  “We shouldn’t panic, but we need to prepare to co-exist with the virus in the long term,” Shi told media on Wednesday. report



USA: Republican Mike McCaul’s final report into the origins of the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic

Mike McCaul’s final report on the origins of the pandemic can be downloaded here.

A House Republican lawmaker’s investigation into the origins of COVID-19 is raising concerns that the pandemic outbreak stemmed from a genetically modified virus which leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Chinese city where the disease was first detected in December 2019.

The Hill article

Moderna founder: “I am convinced that the #coronavirus came out by accident from a laboratory in Wuhan”

The Canadian biologist Derrick Rossi (Toronto, 1966) is one of the founders of Moderna , one of the pharmaceutical companies that has managed to develop one of the coronavirus vaccines.

“We have no evidence in any way, but this virus is so different from bats that it seems unlikely to me that it was a natural leap.” It is a fact that a laboratory in Wuhan worked with him and I am convinced that he came out of there, that he escaped them. I don’t think it was deliberate, they were just studying it and there was an accident. China denies it, of course, but it is the explanation that I see as the most logical. report

Preprint: Recovery of deleted deep sequencing data sheds more light on the early Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 epidemic #coronavirus

“Here I identify a data set containing SARS-CoV-2 sequences from early in the Wuhan epidemic that has been deleted from the NIH’s Sequence Read Archive. I recover the deleted files from the Google Cloud, and reconstruct partial sequences of 13 early epidemic viruses. Phylogenetic analysis of these sequences in the context of carefully annotated existing data suggests that the Huanan Seafood Market sequences that are the focus of the joint WHO-China report are not fully representative of the viruses in Wuhan early in the epidemic. Instead, the progenitor of known SARS-CoV-2 sequences likely contained three mutations relative to the market viruses that made it more similar to SARS-CoV-2’s bat coronavirus relatives.”

BiorXiv preprint



Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

China: Thousands of wild animals for sale in Wuhan wet markets prior to the #coronavirus pandemic

Horrendous new report: “Here we document 47,381 individuals from 38 species, including 31 protected species sold between May 2017 and November 2019 in Wuhan’s markets. The wild animals on sale in Wuhan suffered poor welfare and hygiene conditions and we detail a range of other zoonotic infections they can potentially vector” article


China: Zhengli/Daszak/Ecohealth – “Serological Evidence of Bat SARS-Related #Coronavirus Infection in Humans, China” 2018


Image by klimkin from Pixabay

Russia: WIV “did absolutely insane things in my opinion, for example, insertions into the genome”

“In China, scientists at the Wuhan Laboratory have been actively developing various variants of the coronavirus for more than 10 years. And they did this, supposedly not with the aim of creating disease-causing variants, but to study their pathogenicity. They did absolutely insane things, in my opinion, for example, insertions into the genome, which gave the virus the ability to infect human cells.”

В Китае ученые Уханьской лаборатории на протяжении более 10 лет активно занимались разработкой различных вариантов коронавируса. Причем они это делали, якобы не с целью создания болезнетворных вариантов, а для изучения их патогенности. Они делали совершенно безумные, на мой взгляд, вещи: к примеру, вставки в геном, которые придавали вирусу способность заражать клетки человека. Сейчас это все было проанализировано. Картина возможного создания нынешнего коронавируса потихоньку вырисовывается.

From an interview with Petr Chumakov, Professor, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology.

Interview With Professor Petr Chumakov in Moskovsky Komsomolets (in Russian)


China: Zhengli & Daszak – Human-animal interactions and bat #coronavirus spillover potential among rural residents in Southern China


India: Shi Zhengli, October 2019 – Filovirus antibodies in humans and bats imply zoonotic spillover


Image by Михаил Иванович Лукин, пресс-служба РАН, CC BY 4.0, Link

India: Shi Zhengli, October 2019 – Filovirus antibodies in humans and bats imply zoonotic spillover

India, October 2019, Zhengli Shi et al: “We present evidence for prior exposure of bat harvesters and two resident fruit bat species to filovirus surface glycoproteins… Our results indicate circulation of several filoviruses in bats and the possibility for filovirus transmission from bats to humans.

Research Article: Filovirus-reactive antibodies in humans and bats in Northeast India imply zoonotic spillover

… Shi’s a busy lady…


Indian scientists explored the “unconventional evolution” of Sars-CoV-2 in January 2020

“One of such studies that was brought to the notice of Fauci was a research paper by some scientists from India. In January 2020, Indian researchers had published a paper, where they had found that the spike glycoprotein (S) of SARS-CoV-2 had four insertions which are not found in any other Coronavirus, and the insertions are similar to those found in HIV virus. The study had raised that possibility that SARS-CoV-2 may have been bio-engineered using the existing Coronavirus and HIV virus.” news report

Preprint: Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag


** UPDATE 1 **

A day after the authors withdrew the above paper, on 2 February 2020, the director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Shi Zhengli, and her team, published the sequence of a bat coronavirus called RaTG13 in what was the very first paper to properly describe and characterise what would eventually become known as the SARS-CoV-2 virus. report


** Update 2 **

Indian researcher still backs their study and says they were forced by vested interests to withdraw

OpIndia talked to Ashutosh Kumar Pandey, one of the researchers of the study. Earlier he had commented on Twitter that they stand by their conclusion that the SARS-CoV-2 is not natural. “We said this in Jan 2020, we are saying it again”, he had tweeted. news report

Spain: SARS-CoV-2 #coronavirus found in Barcelona sewage in March 2019

“SARS-CoV-2 was detected in Barcelona sewage long before the declaration of the first COVID-19 case, indicating that the infection was present in the population before the first imported case was reported. Sentinel surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater would enable adoption of immediate measures in the event of future COVID-19 waves.

Most COVID-19 cases show mild influenza-like symptoms (14) and it has been suggested that some uncharacterized influenza cases may have masked COVID-19 cases in the 2019-2020 season (11). This possibility prompted us to analyze some archival WWTP samples from January 2018 to December 2019 (Figure 2). All samples came out to be negative for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 genomes with the exception of March 12, 2019, in which both IP2 and IP4 target assays were positive. This striking finding indicates circulation of the virus in Barcelona long before the report of any COVID-19 case worldwide.”

Medrxiv preprint: Sentinel surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater anticipates the occurrence of COVID-19 cases

** This is an important story from June 2020 that we are sure we covered at the time but it seems to have disappeared from our archives, so we are republishing it.


Italy: WHO retests patient samples from September 2019 that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RBD-specific antibodies


#Coronavirus was already spreading in #France in late December 2019




Image by Patrice Audet from Pixabay

Italy: WHO retests patient samples from September 2019 that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RBD-specific antibodies

Samples from a study suggesting the coronavirus was circulating outside China by October 2019 have been retested at the World Health Organization’s request, two scientists who led the Italian research said.  “The WHO asked us if we could share the biological material and if we could re-run the tests in an independent laboratory. We accepted,” Giovanni Apolone, scientific director of one of the lead institutions, the Milan Cancer Institute (INT), said.

The original Italian study was titled “Unexpected detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the prepandemic period in Italy

From that study: “SARS-CoV-2 RBD-specific antibodies were detected in 111 of 959 (11.6%) individuals, starting from September 2019 (14%), with a cluster of positive cases (>30%) in the second week of February 2020 and the highest number (53.2%) in Lombardy.” report


#Coronavirus was already spreading in #France in late December 2019



Spain: SARS-CoV-2 #coronavirus found in Barcelona sewage in March 2019


Unexpected detection of #SARSCoV2 antibodies in Italy in September 2019




Photo by Matteo Raimondi on Unsplash

China: Government documents show first #coronavirus case was found November 17th 2019

The first case of someone in China suffering from Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, can be traced back to November 17th [2019], according to government data seen by the South China Morning Post.  According to the government data seen by the Post, a 55 year-old from Hubei province could have been the first person to have contracted Covid-19 on November 17. From that date onwards, one to five new cases were reported each day. By December 15, the total number of infections stood at 27 – the first double-digit daily rise was reported on December 17 – and by December 20, the total number of confirmed cases had reached 60.

South China Morning Post report on 13th March 2020



Fauci: I’m ‘not convinced’ Covid-19 #coronavirus developed naturally

Dr. Anthony Fauci says he is “not convinced” COVID-19 developed naturally, and called for an open investigation into the virus’ origins. PolitiFact’s Katie Sanders asked Fauci: “There’s a lot of cloudiness around the origins of COVID-19 still, so I wanted to ask, are you still confident that it developed naturally?” “No actually,” said Fauci.

The director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said “I am not convinced about that, I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened.”

Fox News Report



Image by Christophe Vander Eecken, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons