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Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier embraces the conspiracy theory that SARS-CoV-2 was made in a Wuhan lab

Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier, co-discoverer of HIV, the virus causing AIDS, went further down the rabbit hole of pseudoscience, embracing the conspiracy theory that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, was made in a lab.

I’ve written about what I like to refer to as the “Nobel disease,” defined as the tendency of Nobel Laureates to turn into cranks. Whether Nobel Laureates turn into cranks at a higher rate than scientists in general or even the population in general is not known. While it is plausible that all the praise and their high stature might contribute to a higher degree of Dunning-Kruger effect when they wander out of their area of expertise, who knows if they do “go crank” more frequently than average. What is undeniable, however, is that when Nobel Laureates “go crank,” it’s far more damaging to science than when just a run-of-the-mill scientist goes rogue, because of stature Nobel Laureates enjoy. That’s why Luc Montagnier, who was a Nobel Prize in 2008 as co-discoverer of HIV as the cause of AIDS. Given how much damage French “brave maverick scientist” Didier Raoult has caused with his bad science and premature hyping of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for COVID-19 has done to public health, imagine how much damage Luc Montagnier could do if he decided to “go crank” over COVID-19. Well, I’ve learned that he just did, endorsing the conspiracy theory that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, was engineered in a laboratory. Fortunately, because Montagnier is French, and few accounts of his endorsement of the “engineered coronavirus” conspiracy theory exist in English. This is the interview in which he made these claims:

The video is in French. I include it for those of you who can understand French. Unfortunately, my French is sufficiently rusty that I do far better understanding written French than I do spoken French (which I have a hard time understanding unless it’s spoken slowly); so I must confess that I didn’t understand a lot of it. Fortunately, there are news reports that I can cite.

First, though, lets delve into a bit of background. Although there are quite a few other Nobel Laureates who have gone down the same sort of “Nobel disease” rabbit hole, such as James Watson, Kary Mullis, William Shockley, Louis Ignarro (who’s shilled for HerbaLife), Linus Pauling, and more. However, the biggest baddest case of Nobel Disease of all, to me, has to belong to Nobel Laureate Luc Luc Montagnier, who won his Nobel Prize. He’s not only embraced The One Quackery To Rule Them All (homeopathy), but he’s embraced a wide variety of autism quackery as well, including (of course) the scientifically discredited idea that vaccines cause autism, as well as pseudoscience claiming “DNA teleportation.” He’s even spoken at the autism quackfest known as AutismOne and appeared in Andrew Wakefield’s antivaccine propaganda “documentary” VAXXED, after having started a pseudoscientific and unethical clinical trial of long term antibiotics to treat autism. Basically, Luc Montagnier has gone full antivax, having appeared with Henri Joyeux to promote the idea that vaccines cause sudden infant death syndrome.
This time around, he’s promoting the conspiracy theory that SARS-CoV-2 is a bioweapon engineered in a laboratory that escaped to cause the pandemic, and he does it on the most scientifically shaky basis. Let’s take a look:

We knew that the Chinese version of how the coronavirus emerged was increasingly under attack, but here’s a thesis that tells a completely different story about the Covid-19 pandemic, which is already responsible for more than 110,000 deaths worldwide. According to Professor Luc Montagnier, winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2008 for “discovering” HIV as the cause of the AIDS epidemic together with François Barré-Sinoussi, the SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that was manipulated and accidentally released from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, in the last quarter of 2019. According to Professor Montagnier, this laboratory, known for its work on coronaviruses, tried to use one of these viruses as a vector for HIV in the search for an AIDS vaccine!

“With my colleague, bio-mathematician Jean-Claude Perez, we carefully analyzed the description of the genome of this RNA virus,” explains Luc Montagnier, interviewed by Dr Jean-François Lemoine for the daily podcast at Pourquoi Docteur, adding that others have already explored this avenue: Indian researchers have already tried to publish the results of the analyses that showed that this coronavirus genome contained sequences of another virus, … the HIV virus (AIDS virus), but they were forced to withdraw their findings as the pressure from the mainstream was too great.

No, they were forced to retract because their scientists pointed out the many glaring flaws in their methodology and how their conclusions were not justified by the data. In particular, the Indian investigators didn’t seem to realize that HIV sequences are common in naturally occurring coronaviruses; so finding them in SARS-CoV-2 does not mean that they were artificially inserted. I’ll explain more in a moment, but I can’t help but also mention that, wow, this conspiracy theory seems like ancient history already, even though the paper that originally sparked it by making this claim was published two and a half months ago, as was Montagnier’s paper claiming that SARS-CoV-2 was made in a lab.

Pray continue, Prof. Montagnier:

Faced with these assertions by a professor who is sometimes challenged following iconoclastic positions, in particular on vaccination, one might also think that these conclusions are due to chance and that the coronavirus examined could have been taken from a patient otherwise afflicted with HIV. “No, replies Luc Montagnier, “to insert a sequence of HIV into this genome, molecular tools are needed, this can only be done in the laboratory”.

According to the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine, the explanation is an “industrial accident” at the Wuhan laboratory. “The history of the fish market is a beautiful legend … The assumption is that this virus left the laboratory because it escaped its scientists, it is a work of apprentice-sorcerer!”, Estimates he promoting the thesis that the object of this work was the search for an AIDS vaccine.

It has already been conclusively demonstrated by multiple investigations that the SARS-CoV-2 nucleotide sequence betrays no signs of having been artificially engineered in a lab. More on that later, too. I’ll hand one thing to Montagnier. He does know how to lay down conspiracy theories with the best of them:

In any case, this thesis, defended by Professor Luc Montagnier, has a positive turn. According to him, the altered elements of this virus are eliminated as it spreads: “Nature does not accept any molecular tinkering, it will eliminate these unnatural changes and even if nothing is done, things will get better, but unfortunately after many deaths.” Luc Montagnier added that with the help of interfering waves, we could eliminate these sequences and as a result stop the pandemic.

This is enough to fuel heated debates! To the point that Professor Montagnier’s statements could also classify him in the category of “conspiracy theorists”: “Conspiracies, it’s the opposite camp, the one who hides the truth”, he replies without wanting to accuse anyone but hoping that the Chinese would recognize what he said happened in their laboratory. “Anyway, the truth always ends up coming out, it’s up to the Chinese government to take responsibility.”

Interfering waves can stop the pandemic by eliminating the HIV sequences in SARS-CoV-2? That’s some primo, grade A pseudoscience! But what does Montagnier mean by “interfering waves”? Around nine years ago, Montagnier proposed that there is evidence that DNA can transport electromagnetic imprints of itself to cells within the body which it has absolutely no contact with:

Luc Montagnier, who shared the Nobel prize for medicine in 2008 for his part in establishing that HIV causes AIDS, says he has evidence that DNA can send spooky electromagnetic imprints of itself into distant cells and fluids. If that wasn’t heretical enough, he also suggests that enzymes can mistake the ghostly imprints for real DNA, and faithfully copy them to produce the real thing. In effect this would amount to a kind of quantum teleportation of the DNA.

I’m guessing that these are the “interfering waves” to which Montagnier is referring. But how would such waves be generated artificially to target the HIV sequences in SARS-CoV-2? How would they be made specific enough to do this? Inquiring minds want to know! Longtime readers might recall that Montagnier also embraces homeopathy and portrayed his claimed observation of DNA “teleportation” as a potential mechanism for the “memory of water.” As for “nature not accepting any molecular tinkering,” that’s plain nonsense. If that were the case, genetically modified organisms would not be possible. Transgenic mice would not be possible. Who’d have thought that a Nobel Laureate would embrace a view that nature always somehow gets rid of the “artificial”?

Now, back to those HIV sequences. Here’s a the Indian paper to which Montagnier referred. Here’s a February commentary explaining why that paper is nonsense, correctly noting that every new human pathogen causing outbreaks (such as Ebola) leads to conspiracy theories that the pathogen was engineered in a laboratory, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different, other than in degree, given the influence of social media.

The money passage (noting that 2019-nCoV is what SARS-CoV-2 was called before it gained its current official name):

Current report conducted careful examination of the sequences of 2019-nCoV, other CoV viruses and HIV-1 as well as GenBank database. Our results demonstrated no evidence that the sequences of these four inserts are HIV-1 specific or the 2019-nCoV viruses obtain these insertions from HIV-1. First, the results of blast search of these motifs against GenBank shows that the top 100 identical or highly homologous hits are all from host genes of mammalian, insects, bacterial and others. There are only a few hits on coronaviruses, but none of them are HIV-1 related. Blast against viral sequence database also showed these insertion sequences widely exist in all kinds of viruses from bacteriophage, influenza, to giant eukaryotic viruses (Table 1). More hits were found for coronaviruses and a few also hit on HIV-1 sequences than the search against the entire database (Table 1). However, while the 100% match between the insertion 1 and 2 sequences and the HIV sequences were found in 19 entries, the matches between the insertion 3 and 4 sequences and HIV-1 sequences were rather poor (from 42% to 88%). Moreover, the insertion 4 sequence ambiguously hit multiple different genes (gag, pol and env) in the HIV-1 genome, suggesting that similarities (as low as 42%) between them are too low to be reliable. Search these four insertion sequences against HIV-1 Sequence Database (https://www.hiv.lanl.gov/components/sequence/HIV/search/search.html) yielded similar results. Sequences that completely match the insertion 3 and 4 sequences were not found in any HIV-1 sequences. This clearly shows that these insertioin sequences are widely present in living organisms including viruses, but not HIV-1 specific. All these regions in HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein are highly variable with many large insertions and deletions, indicating that they are not essential for biological functions of HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein. The detection of completely matched sequences of 1 and 2 insertions in only a few HIV-1 strains demonstrated that four insertions are very rare or not present among tens of thousands of natural HIV-1 sequences. This also explains why four insertion homolog sequences could only be independently found in different HIV-1 genomes [8]. Because of their poor identities to and rareness in the HIV-1 sequences, HIV-1 could not be the source for those insertion sequences in the 2019-nCoV genome.

The authors further point out that “these insertions are present not only in 2019-nCoV viruses but also in three betaCoV sequences from bats: two (ZC45 and ZXC21) from Zhejiang deposited in GenBank in 2018 and RaTG13 from Yunnan obtained in 2013,” adding that “many other CoV viruses have similar insertions but with different sequences at the insertion 1 position,” and concluding that these “results clearly show that three out of four of these inserts naturally exist in three bat CoV viruses before 2019-nCoV was identified,” thus refuting ” the possibility that 2019-nCoV is generated through obtaining gene fragments from the HIV-1 genome.” Basically, looking for similarities between nucleotide sequences that short and viral genomes (or any genome) will frequently find a lot of similar sequences.

For a once-great virologist, Luc Montagnier sure doesn’t seem to know virology any more. Of course, back when he was in his prime, sequencing even a viral genome was a tedious, laborious process, and many of the databases of DNA sequences didn’t exist or were in their embryonic forms. I remember the difficulties even as late as the 1990s, when doing a sequence search against the BLAST database involved emailing a properly formatted DNA sequence to a specific email address for the BLAST server and waiting for the results to be emailed back. Perhaps Montagnier never kept up with the rapid advances in genomics since the 1980s. But what about Jean-Claude Perez, who is supposedly a bio-mathematician? Whoa? Look at what came up on a Google search for him:

Jean-Claude Perez, PhD, is French interdisciplinary scientist born on June 26, 1947 in Bassens, Gironde near Bordeaux (France). An engineer and French scholar from Bordeaux university. Perez worked principally with IBM in both the areas of Biomathematics and Artificial Intelligence[1] (the first time, showing evidence of high level self-organization in cellular automata networks [2]and the second time creating neural networks with Fractal Chaos), his holographic-like memory system and novelty detector). Then, [3]in 1990, Jean-claude Perez published strong links between the world of fractals and numbers of the Fibonacci sequence which are based on the Golden ratio[4]. In this last area, with the “DNA supracode”[5], he proved that DNA coding for genes is structured by proportions related to Fibonacci numbers[6] [7] [8]. He verified this discovery in the field of the HIV genome by partnerships with Professor Luc Montagnier[9], the discoverer of the HIV virus. He has worked for 20 years in the fields of whole genome numerical analysis and numerical decoding of genes as coding or non-coding DNA sequences (as demonstrated particularly by the last publications: [10] ).

Particularly, in “Interdisciplinary Science” September 2010 issue, J.C. Perez published a peer-reviewed paper proving that the whole human genome codon populations are managed by a “DRAGON fractal paper folding curve” fine-tuned around the “Golden ratio”. Particularly, this main paper entitled “Codon populations in single-stranded whole human genome DNA are fractal and fine-tuned by the Golden Ratio 1.618.” shows that the Universal Genetic Code Table not only maps codons to amino acids, but serves as a global checksum matrix at the whole genome and fine-tuned by the Golden Ratio 1.618.” shows that the Universal Genetic Code Table not only maps codons to amino acids, but serves as a global checksum matrix at the whole genome macro-structural scale.[11][12][13]

No wonder “intelligent design” creationists love him! Basically, Perez is a crank who believes that DNA is somehow organized according to mathematics and musical notes. This all explains a lot about how a “bio-mathematician” like Perez could make such a rookie mistake analyzing virus sequences. In any event, I can’t help but think that, if the HIV-like sequences in SARS-CoV-2 really were the result of an attempt to make a vaccine against HIV, I’d have to characterize it as the most incompetent attempt ever, given that somehow HIV and coronavirus got mixed in together! No, Luc Montagnier is spouting nonsense. The reported finding of sequence similarities are spurious:

Montagnier is also spouting nonsense in general, as there is now very good evidence showing that SARS-CoV-2 is not bioengineered, that it arose naturally, to the point that scientists are getting tired of having to explain why SARS-CoV-2 couldn’t have been made in a lab.

Truly, of all the Nobel Laureates suffering from Nobel Disease, Luc Montagnier suffers from most severe case by far. Other Nobel Disease sufferers tend to restrict their crankery to one or a handful of areas (e.g., Linus Pauling and vitamin C, Louis Ignarro and arginine supplements, etc.), but Montagnier is truly a crank for all topics and seasons.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

129 replies on “Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier embraces the conspiracy theory that SARS-CoV-2 was made in a Wuhan lab”

@ Denice Walter

The Golden Ratio really is old news…

OK, at the time, it was a really nifty proof of the existence of irrational numbers (the fact that there is a neverending sequence of inscribed pentagrams in the link just above is the proof of the irrationality, as rationality would imply only a finite number of inscribed pentagrams — and a very graphical, wordless proof, which makes the gist of the fascination it had and still has to some extent).

But in 2020, I believe we could be doing a bit better than endlessly drooling over the Golden Ratio. Weyl groups, for instance.

But in 2020, I believe we could be doing a bit better than endlessly drooling over the Golden Ratio. Weyl groups, for instance.

And you chose these why, exactly? (G-d, I just remembered that my old boss was in touch with Saunders Mac Lane.) After all, Escher was inspired by Coxeter, who worked with Weyl. How about John Conway? You could even try to solve this week’s Riddler Classic to keep yourself busy.

^ Oh, right: I almost forgot this, having been interrupted by hauling massive amounts of trash and recycling from the place I’m staying at.

having been interrupted by hauling massive amounts of trash and recycling from the place I’m staying at.

I’ve witnessed worse than just cleaning up Cook county to support a meth habit. At least, you don’t steal pipes and wire out of other peoples’ houses or steal a whole vintage, perfectly working, front of a russian aluminum block tractor engine because it was less than 5000 feet from the side of the road.

@ Narad

“And you chose these why, exactly?”

Because I’ve developed a fondness on the representation theory of toposes/topoi from an unusual angle. And its specializes to forms of geometric group theory in some sense. And, yeah, Coxeter groups tend to be rampant in that area. And I’ve got a few ideas on Coxeter groups that I need to dig as well and that will undoubtedly keep me busy: I think I have mechanism to spawn them more or less at will in a wide range of domains of mathematics that are not geometric at first glance.

Because I’ve developed a fondness on the representation theory of toposes/topoi from an unusual angle. And its specializes to forms of geometric group theory in some sense.

I think geometric Langlands probably has a leg up on you here.

@ Narad

“I think geometric Langlands probably has a leg up on you here.”

Well, that’s the trick: I did not come to it through the Langlands perspective. That’s the “unusual angle” I’ve mentionned. I came at it from another way, and the insight seems different. If there are Morita equivalences involved, they do not look as syntactic as in topos theory on syntactic sites (that’s for the logic aspects). It seems my Morita equivalences are much more semantic… But I’ve got to keep digging my rabbit hole cuz’ the correspondance is not yet fully clear.

Indeed Orac. Ppl should stop it with their groundless conspiracy theories. It just creates needless panic and victim blaming. And plays into the hands of ppl like Trump.

In fact the only thing that makes sense is 5G. It connects Milan, Wuhan, Iran and New York.

Also, there are 0 RCTs on 5G, which is suspicious.
So theres no proof that 5G is harmful or harmless. Is correlation, enough to speculate about causation? Nope, but its the start of real science.

” So theres no proof that 5G is harmful or harmless. Is correlation, enough to speculate about causation? Nope, but its the start of real science.”

Nope. You’d fail my class just for that comment.

dean writes,

“Nope. You’d fail my class just for that comment.”

MJD says,

Correlation is hardwired into our subconscious mind, therefore, you’d fail a student just for being human? What’s the class title my RI friend?

Correlation is hardwired into our subconscious mind

Nothing like starting the day with a heap of Bad Fazzm.

Dean- IF there was some positive correlation with 5G and ‘harm’, not yet tested in any scientific way, do you not think that a testable hypothesis could be established from this correlation that could be tested for it’s validity or otherwise. Surely that is the start of many scientific processes?

“Correlation is hardwired into our subconscious mind, therefore, you’d fail a student just for being human? What’s the class title my RI friend?”

No, you clueless buffoon (even if I allow your assertion, which I don’t). I know reading for understanding is completely foreign to you, but try again.

Just how many disciplines are you completely ignorant about?

“IF there was some positive correlation with 5G and ‘harm’, not yet tested in any scientific way, do you not think that a testable hypothesis could be established from this correlation that could be tested for it’s validity or otherwise. Surely that is the start of many scientific processes?”

If you take any collection of data with large enough sample size you’re going to get a “significant” correlation, regardless of whether there is any possible mechanism that could indicate a meaningful relationship, so no, correlation by itself is not meaningful. Further examination is needed behind the origin of the data is the next step.

If I get to repeat that there’s more EM radiation out of a light bulb!

In college I read an epidemiological study of the relationship between electric blankets and leukemia, which was done not on the basis of reasonable concern, but because the public had become convinced that electric blankets were giving them cancer. Study showed, definitively, that electric blankets are not associated with cancer.

What is up with people’s weird fears of electricity?

“Can I mention the collision avoidance radar in some cars again?”

I have a recent year Honda Civic that, much to my amazement (in the sense that this stuff is on a car I can afford) has that radar, self adjusting cruisecontrol, lane avoidance, and all the bluetooth/handsfree setup for phones. I can rest my phone in a designed spot and never need to touch it for anything.

One of our business faculty has the same car, 1 year newer. She will not turn any of those features on because “there’s know health risks to physical and mental health”. Drives everywhere with the phone in her hand texting and calling.

I don’t know how someone gets to that point.

Which 5G are you talking about? If you pull 5Gs, say in a plane, for a significant length of time, you will probably suffer some ill effects.
On the other hand, if you can send me a check for 5Gs, and you’re certainly welcome to, I don’t know if it will harm you, but if it clears it will do good things for me.

For a long time I have wondered why a successful scientist who has reached the pinnacle of his or her career would get lost in promoting such nonsense. The answer, I think, is in the word “pinnacle”. After the pinnacle, it’s all down hill. After the Nobel Prize, what do you do for an encore? You can go back to the lab and continue your research, but unless you’re Marie Curie, you’re not going to get another Nobel. You can rest on your laurels and become a senior eminence, but that may not be exciting enough, and people’s memories fade. So, if you’re egotistic enough and dislike the mundane, you embrace controversy, including crankery. Hey, it’s life on the edge!

“With age and experience in research come the twin dangers of dwindling into a philosopher while being enlarged into a dotard.” J.R.Leigh
Buddy’s gone all the way as far as I can see!

I wonder if it’s also the need for supportive rather than critical audience after a certain point. I suspect that young scientists are looking to disprove you and be critical, find something new, but the conspiracy theorists want to adipose you and draw on your authority and will believe you no matter how implausible your claim.

Ego is part of it, but there’s a selection component as well. The Nobel committee likes to reward “foundational” work so winners tend to be those people who can buck previous trends. In other words, the winners tend to “think outside the box”. When you combine that with the sudden fame, with everyone asking you for your opinion on a wide range of topics not connected with your science, many fall into the rabbit hole of presuming that they’re expert on everything. I think this explains Pauling and some others, but not Montagnier. His lunacy requires another order of magnitude of neural mis-wiring. It’s also possible that he’s always been this way, but just lucked out with the HIV discovery. He wouldn’t be the first.

It has already been conclusively demonstrated by multiple investigations that the SARS-CoV-2 nucleotide sequence betrays no signs of having been artificially engineered in a lab.

I have no idea about the capabilities of these labs to very finely adjust these bugs but I do know that Windows System File Checker might say that the hash value is correct on notepad.exe but Emsisoft heuristic scanning decides that it is really virus.exe after seeing what it does.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology were studying bat coronaviruses and back in December there was a notice to all BL-4 labs (of which the only one in China is WIV) to address safety protocols more stringently. Also, there were job listings looking for researchers in the coronavirus subject.

So, you are correct — it is nigh impossible for it to have been ‘engineered’. But previously collected and studied? I think that is highly likely and the appropriate people need to see the WIVs’ notes which, thus far, China has not been forthcoming.

If a long string of genomic sequence is exactly the same as as another virus, it has obviously been cut-pasted there. Nature doesn’t evolve the same way twice, it’s not possible to see the exact same sequence of genes in another species of virus if not for third-party intervention. Am I wrong?

“Nature doesn’t evolve the same way twice”
On the contrary, evolution and speciation are highly conservative of existing gene sequences, which are often repurposed rather than eliminated. Different species, and different viruses, don’t require a total makeover to become something new. A chimpanzee is different from a human but we share 96% of our genes with them. Bilateral symmetry has been around in animals for a couple of billion years, organization of DNA into chromosomes a lot longer.
Devolution rarely seems to occur, except in the case of some Ohio rock bands and some real estate magnates, but even they seem to share most of their genes with us.

Yes. Nature is nothing if not thrifty, re-using the things that work, like coding for basic proteins. It’s not like evolution starts with a blank slate. It’s slight changes from a previous state. So of course things that share a common ancestor will have similarities.

A chicken is not a chickadee, but they’ve both got feathers.

Look how many kinds of worms and worm-like creatures, including snakes, caterpillars, and eels, there are that have arisen through convergent evolution. It seems like a highly efficient form that is adaptable to many different settings.

No no no, this is all wrong. It is Luc Montagnier himself that is a product of a rogue Chinese virus laboratory. He has been genetically engineered to spout nonsensical and easily refuted conspiracy theories about the nefarious activities of Chinese scientists and authorities, thus deflecting serious inquiry into their state-sponsored subversive activities. It was easy to implant him with knowledge of HIV, which he went on to “discover”, since it and he came from the same lab! The Nobel prize gives him the required stature to achieve his nefarious mission.

You doubt?!?! Well, I have proof. On the bottom center of his left buttock is a tattoo of a Huawei QR code. I welcome attempts to refute this Truth! You’ll know it when he resists your attempts to bare the facts. But be very careful. If you are carrying a 5G device it is programmed to spontaneously combust when you get too close to him and he perceives the threat to his secret. In the unlikely case that you do succeed please post pictures of the evidence.

Montagnier is not the only Nobelist who has made an a** out of himself on this virus. Michael Levitt (Stanford) was widely quoted a month ago predicting that the pandemic in the US had already peaked and its effect would be lesser than that observed in China. He’s a chemist, not an epidemiologist. He decided that since most people only socialize with limited numbers of others, exponential growth doesn’t apply.

He’s a chemist, not an epidemiologist.
Well, that is a nice change from lawyers and economists pontificating on things they know nothing about.

Of course Bob Gallo should have won the noble prize he is credited with providing the foundational research needed to develop the first HIV test, Montagnier just stumbled over the virus. But Gallo is a jerk and so the Nobel Committee decided to give the prize to a bufoon like Montagnier. The battle between Gallo and Montagnier about the HIV-discovery is a fascinating piece of science history, books like “And the band played on” and “How to survive a plague” are (in part) about it.

“How to survive a plague” is on my library to-read list, but, uh, not right now.
But thanks for warning me about the Gallo/Montagnier thing; few things make me see red quite as fast as people (dudes) who inhibit progress for the sake of their egos.

If somebody is worried, there is an actual HIV vaccine virus research paper:
Andrew T. Catanzaro, Richard A. Koup, Mario Roederer, Robert T. Bailer, Mary E. Enama, Zoe Moodie,
Lin Gu, Julie E. Martin, Laura Novik, Bimal K. Chakrabarti, Bryan T. Butman, Jason G. D. Gall,
C. Richter King, Charla A. Andrews, Rebecca Sheets, Phillip L. Gomez, John R. Mascola,
Gary J. Nabel, Vaccine Research Center 006 Study Team,
Phase 1 Safety and Immunogenicity Evaluation of a Multiclade HIV‐1 Candidate Vaccine Delivered
by a Replication‐Defective Recombinant Adenovirus Vector,
The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Volume 194, Issue 12, 15 December 2006, Pages 1638–1649,
https://doi.org/10.1086/509258
The recombinant virus would be unable to replicate, otherwise there would a safety issues.

As soon as I saw the comment about interfering waves I knew there would be quantum woo involved, and Montagnier did not disappoint on that score. Of course, I had forgotten about the 5G nonsense until one of the possible Poes upthread reminded me of it.

The lab accident notion (it does not even rise to the level of theory except among conspiracy mongers) has a number of holes in it. If they had been working with something in the lab, they would have had a good idea of its genetic sequence in case an accident did happen, rather than having to work it out after the fact–based on the mutation rate, the index case for this virus is estimated to have been infected in November 2019 (I have long since lost the link for this). Novel viruses also make poor bioweapons, as they do not discriminate which members of a species get infected. That much of the genome for this virus matches viruses found in bats in both Zhejiang and Yunnan (which are each several hundred kilometers away from Hubei in nearly opposite directions) also argues against an artificial source.

As for the guy who claimed that exponential spreading did not apply: What planet does he live on? In any realistic city on any given (non-pandemic) day you interact (as physicists would use that word, and for epidemiological purposes the word would be similarly defined) with hundreds or even thousands of people, not all of whom are in your circle of friends and colleagues. So exponential spreading does apply early on (until it saturates because so many people have been infected). It is the same process, mathematically speaking, as a nuclear chain reaction, except that R0 > 1 leads to an epidemic instead of an Earth-shattering kaboom.

^ Don’t miss the crank magnetism:

Posts threatening to attack phone masts were receiving likes on Facebook. One post in an anti-vaccine group on April 12 shared a photo of a burned phone mast with the quote, “Nobody wants cancer & covid19. Stop trying to make it happen or every pole and mobile store will end up like this one.”

And the organisation, which spreads fear for 5G states they don’t agree with burning the towers, which are mostly not ment for 5G.

The irony of people setting a telephone pole on fire because they’re afraid of 5G, and then taking a picture with their cell phone and posting it on the Internet is mind boggling.

I know we all need different ways to cope with this pandemic, but I do wish Monsieur Montagnier would lay off whatever he’s smoking before trying to do science.

Jokes aside….yeesh. I wonder if he was always like this and just so happened to make a great discovery years ago, or really is just the “Nobel disease”. Or maybe he’s just trying to stay relevant, I don’t know.

I have an idea (it’s not even a hypothesis) about why the “it’s a bioweapon” conspiracy fantasy is so popular: because then there is a person (or group or nation) to blame. And having something specific to blame gives a sense of control.

There’s no sense of control in the idea that the world is full of viruses (and new ones pop up all the time) that will totally ruin humanity’s parade, and there’s not really anything we can do about it (except of course having a rigorous and global program of virus surveillance, but that costs money, and here we are).

It’s much easier to say “they” (a group you don’t like) did it.

I would add that blaming someone else means we have an excuse for being a bit crap. Sort of “Damn those fiendishly clever XXXX” rather than “Well, this is embarrassing, caught with our pants down again”.

[H]aving something specific to blame gives a sense of control.

This is more accurate than you realise. Researchers found that conspiracy theorists have a sense of not being in control of their lives. And you are correct that having someone to blame is a way to deal with it. An enemy to fight gives us a cause.
In addition, what’s more frightening? That the people running things are malign but competent, or not malign but incompetent? Looking at things, the latter is in many ways far scarier. You can overcome an enemy, but “you can’t fix stupid”.

We’ve had a fairly short Goebbels Gap this time around. But then in this fast moving Trump-infested world, it’s been getting shorter all the time.
“The Goebbels Gap: the amount of time between something bad happening in the world and someone figuring out a way to blame the Jews for it.”

DNA checksum?

What does he think happens if the checksum doesn’t match? Is there a Quality Control department somewhere, rejecting certain mutations because the mutant forms don’t pass the checksum test? It’s pretty poor QC, if so, given the number and variety of harmful mutations that we see in the real world.

Or was this inserted by the Red Lectroids, so they can tell which organisms they tweaked?

I had a ZX Spectrum. 48K of course. Blew it up trying to work out where a desoldered wire on the little aluminium paper printer should fit. Past echoes of my future career path. I remember the fun and frustration of debugging (correcting typos in reality) the programs typed in from magazines though.

My first computer was a ZX Spectrum as well, but I think the 16K version. It is still around somewhere in a closet. I hated the keys to program it, which needed several keys pressed at the same time.

I typed that ‘game’ into my ti-99 4/a in 1982 from a listing in Byte magazine.

I think I had (well, I still have it somewhere, but the on-off rocker switch is worn out) an HP-41CX; I was limited to the Moon lander program.

You kids and your new fangled tech toys. I wrote an ALGOL program, on punch cards, for LIFE way back in the previous millennium (75, maybe). It ran on a 60 bit CDC machine, the model number of which I don’t recall. Most of the program was actually an exercise in formatting output for a line printer. I recall seeing Conway wandering around campus around that time. I think he was there as a visiting lecturer.

@ doug

“You kids and your new fangled tech toys.”

You do not know what you’re missing with all these new programming languages popping up all over nowadays…

Off topic, but I had to chime in and gasp – I cut my teeth back in the day on a 60-bit Cyber (CDC). People who hear that think its like hearing about Babylonian math without counting mod-10.

You guys are making me feel like a kid. My first computer was a Dell I-don’t-remember-the-model I got in 1998 running Windows 95. I had to send away to get my free upgrade CD to Win 98 in the mail.
My first, of course, if you don’t count that thing that Charlie Babbage put out with his trash that I rescued and restored. Good old Charlie. I wonder what became of him. And that Lovelace chick he used to hang around with, too – Frieda, I think it was? In any case, I know she wasn’t Linda.
Wait, I remember her name. There was this guy on TV who was always saying, “Dude, you’re getting Adele.” That must be it, Adele Lovelace. Couldn’t sing a note though in spite of the name..

You guys are making me feel like a kid. My first computer was a Dell I-don’t-remember-the-model I got in 1998 running Windows 95.

Mine was a first-generation Mac, but I had previously learned BASIC on a TRS-80 (my dad worked at a Radio Shack before that). Some of their friends had a Compucolor II, which was pretty smooth. My college work-study job actually relied on some Harris running the VULCAN Operating System — FORTRAN with bits of assembly language to glue things together. (Then again, the computing cluster was using DECwriter II’s — two of which I saved in hope of converting them into a dining room table — connected to two DEC 20’s.) The work-study lab also had a Textronix vector terminal, which was as sadly underused as the analytical balance that I have in storage.

Lot of changing tapes and making figures for journal articles on the pen plotter at that gig. Good times.

I think the first computer I really used was a Commodore Amiga. Some guy I knew wrote a program for it to work with synthesizers. Sometimes I came up with an idea on something that could be usefull and he came up with the solution. He wrote machine-code and also build his own windsynthesizer driver.
Later I switched to an Atari with Cubase. I’ve also worked with MS-DOS and use Windows since version 3.1

Phew. I’m at parents’ and across the street, there’s a building where one of those three storey computers was 🙂

Perez worked principally with IBM in both the areas of Biomathematics and Artificial Intelligence[1] (the first time, showing evidence of high level self-organization in cellular automata networks [2]

Programming Life to run on an IBM is not the same as “working principally with IBM … showing evidence of high level self-organization in cellular automata networks”.
To my mind, there is a profoundly anti-Creationist message in these cellular-automation demonstrations of how complex structures can organise out of a simple set of physical laws, without any intervention from an outside creator. Perhaps I am not looking at them in the right way.

What about claims that it was a naturally-occurring virus that escaped a virology lab? Not some engineering experiment gone wrong, but a simple accident due to human error?

What about claims that it was a naturally-occurring virus that escaped a virology lab?

Um, this implies that it was in the wild anyway, which kind of moots the need for an escape in the first place.

Tim, if that were true they would have done it by now. Seeing as how it’s been killing people in China for months.
They haven’t, therefore they don’t.

I get that this is scary, but that’s no excuse to get stuck on this idea.

I can easily see a virus-infected anmial, collected in the wild for research, infecting one of more of the people who collected the animal, took tissue samples, and did other work with that animal or the specimens.

it’s not like it has not happened before.

Or mishandling of culture. Important for root cause analysis. Already have other examples of jump from animals, so we know that is a risk, but if lab messed up, that certainly needs to be called out.

I mean, I guess if the lab was doing surveillance on viruses in wild animal populations. But for most labs the last thing you want are wild animals. They bring in too much variability, not to mention too many diseases.

But again, why’s it got to be a lab? Why can’t it just be that there were one too many close encounters between humans and wild animals and something new spilled over?

Mom always said not to touch wild animals. She was right.

Labs do make these things just to see what they might be capable of if it were to happen naturally. They built one based off COV in Chapel Hill:

<

blockquote> However, sequence data alone provides minimal insights to identify and prepare for future prepandemic viruses. Therefore, to examine the emergence potential (that is, the potential to infect humans) of circulating bat CoVs, we built a chimeric virus encoding a novel, zoonotic CoV spike protein—from the RsSHC014-CoV sequence that was isolated from Chinese horseshoe bats

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4797993/

And, of course, “spillover” is not just a concern (Fort Detrick was shut down last year over safety concerns) but a thing which happens from time to time.

“Our work suggests a potential risk of SARS-CoV re-emergence from viruses currently circulating in bat populations.” From the abstract of the paper you cited. Also in the abstract they explained that the chimeric virus they were working with was modified to infect mice, and wasn’t the human SARS-CoV.
That’s what’s called an engineering control.

Spillover is when zoonotic pathogens move from wild animal populations to domestic animal or human populations. It has nothing to do with a lab release.

You also missed that the Wuhan Institute of Virology had developed a HeLa cell line that expressed something like ACE2 for the specific purposes of studying coronaviruses. “on HeLa cells (Wuhan Institute of Virology) that expressed ACE2 orthologs” (It’s in the methods section.)

Tim, you might be interested in how a BSL4 lab is set up. Here’s a link to the Boston University National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory, and on the top right there’s a series of videos (some quite long) that give you a tour of the facility and how work is done with dangerous diseases. http://www.bu.edu/neidl/

Orthologs. How do they work?

Tim, you might be interested in how a BSL4 lab is set up.

Thx for the link but, as per the methods section, this creation and study was performed in BSL3.

I certainly think any takeaway should be this, which nobody should miss:

. On the basis of previous models of emergence (Fig. 4a,b),
the creation of chimeric viruses such as SHC014-MA15 was not
expected to increase pathogenicity… Thus, relative to the Urbani
spike–MA15 CoV, SHC014-MA15 shows a gain in pathogenesis
(Fig. 1). On the basis of these findings, scientific review panels may
deem similar studies building chimeric viruses based on circulating
strains too risky to pursue, as increased pathogenicity in mammalian
models cannot be excluded. Coupled with restrictions on mouse-
adapted strains and the development of monoclonal antibodies using
escape mutants, research into CoV emergence and therapeutic effi-
cacy may be severely limited moving forward. Together, these data
and restrictions represent a crossroads of GOF research concerns;
the potential to prepare for and mitigate future outbreaks must be
weighed against the risk of creating more dangerous pathogens.
In developing policies moving forward, it is important to consider
the value of the data generated by these studies and whether these
types of chimeric virus studies warrant further investigation versus
the inherent risks involved.

Guuh, unreadable.

On the basis of previous models of emergence (Fig. 4a,b), the creation of chimeric viruses such as SHC014-MA15 was not expected to increase pathogenicity…. Thus, relative to the Urbani spike–MA15 CoV, SHC014-MA15 shows a gain in pathogenesis (Fig. 1). On the basis of these findings, scientific review panels may deem similar studies building chimeric viruses based on circulating strains too risky to pursue, as increased pathogenicity in mammalian models cannot be excluded. Coupled with restrictions on mouse-adapted strains and the development of monoclonal antibodies using escape mutants, research into CoV emergence and therapeutic efficacy may be severely limited moving forward. Together, these data and restrictions represent a crossroads of GOF research concerns; the potential to prepare for and mitigate future outbreaks must be weighed against the risk of creating more dangerous pathogens. In developing policies moving forward, it is important to consider the value of the data generated by these studies and whether these types of chimeric virus studies warrant further investigation versus the inherent risks involved.

From section Biosafety and biosecurity
” All workers have been trained by EHS to safely use powered air purifying
respirators (PAPRs), and appropriate work habits in a BSL3 facility and
active medical surveillance plans are in place. Our CoV BSL3 facilities
contain redundant fans, emergency power to fans and biological safety
cabinets and freezers, and our facilities can accommodate SealSafe mouse
racks. Materials classified as BSL3 agents consist of SARS-CoV, bat CoV
precursor strains, MERS-CoV and mutants derived from these pathogens.
Within the BSL3 facilities, experimentation with infectious virus is
performed in a certified Class II Biosafety Cabinet (BSC). All members
of the staff wear scrubs, Tyvek suits and aprons, PAPRs and shoe covers,
and their hands are double-gloved. BSL3 users are subject to a medical
surveillance plan monitored by the University Employee Occupational
Health Clinic (UEOHC), which includes a yearly physical, annual influenza
vaccination and mandatory reporting of any symptoms associated with CoV
infection during periods when working in the BSL3. All BSL3 users are
trained in exposure management and reporting protocols, are prepared to
self-quarantine and have been trained for safe delivery to a local
infectious disease management department in an emergency situation.
All potential exposure events are reported and investigated by EHS and
UEOHC, with reports filed to both the CDC and the NIH.”

Readable version
All workers have been trained by EHS to safely
use powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs),
and appropriate work habits in a BSL3 facility
and active medical surveillance plans are in
place. Our CoV BSL3 facilities contain redundant
fans, emergency power to fans and biological
safety cabinets and freezers, and our facilities
can accommodate SealSafe mouse racks. Materials
classified as BSL3 agents consist of SARS-CoV,
bat CoV precursor strains, MERS-CoV and mutants
derived from these pathogens. Within the BSL3
facilities, experimentation with infectious virus
is performed in a certified Class II Biosafety
Cabinet (BSC). All members of the staff wear scrubs,
Tyvek suits and aprons, PAPRs and shoe covers,and
their hands are double-gloved. BSL3 users are
subject to a medical surveillance plan monitored
by the University Employee Occupational Health
Clinic (UEOHC), which includes a yearly physical,
annual influenza vaccination and mandatory reporting
of any symptoms associated with CoV infection during
periods when working in the BSL3. All BSL3 users are
trained in exposure management and reporting
protocols, are prepared to self-quarantine and have
been trained for safe delivery to a local infectious
disease management department in an emergency situation.
All potential exposure events are reported and
investigated by EHS and UEOHC, with reports filed to
both the CDC and the NIH.

All workers have been trained

Oh, reallly. How is that verified as to compliance? did you have them piss in a cup to make sure that they don’t smoke the ganja? Is that how ‘all’ is defined???

I expect this to get pulled and my ‘nym banned but my peeps need me

Perhaps you should send it to them, in that case. I expect that most of the commentariat has seen it. Hell, I read the novel before puberty, IIRC.

@ Tim: Compliance is measured in many ways.
First, generally researchers do not work alone in BSL3 labs (for safety reasons), so there is another researcher there to make sure everyone is gowned properly.
Second, yes, some facilities may do random drug testing.
Third, depending on the facility and the organism that is being worked with, a worker may have their protective gowning swabbed or plated (patted with an agar plate) to identify contamination before they leave the suite.
Fourth, the air in a BSL3 is constantly monitored. Again depending on the organism in use, the facility may also use settling plates to identify anything that may have been aersolized during work.
Fifth, these researchers want to do their work safely. No one is in a position to better know the consequences of contamination and infection than the people who are studying a pathogen. They know, deeply, that if they mess up it is their life on the line. That’s a huge incentive to be careful. These people have chosen to do this work; it’s not just a paycheck, it’s something they want to do. So they’re not as inclined to take shortcuts to get out early.
Sixth, access to areas like a BSL3 are restricted to the people who have been trained in how to work in that space safely. If you haven’t passed all your training you badge won’t open the door.

Research facilities, all over the world, are restricted spaces, with limited movement of people. Even in the most relaxed, low-risk lab you can’t just wander in and start messing with stuff. I’m guessing you’ve never worked in a facility like that (which is totally fine, most people haven’t), but please believe me when I say that long before you get to BSL3 things are tightly controlled, because that’s the only way to be safe.

That does sound reassuring, JustaTech. But then Bob Stevens gets the Ames strain in his mailbox.

According to media reports, the Florida anthrax letters carried a postal paper trail showing it was sent to the National Enquirer at it’s former address, but then got forwarded to the American Media, Inc., office in Boca Raton. The AMI offices housed both the National Enquirer and The Sun.

The former had run pieces on Bush’s daughters’ drunken shenanigans.

And even before that, David Morse comes along and Twelve Monkeys it all up.

Tim, you might be interested in how a BSL4 lab is set up.

Yah, I was just about to post “Threading the NEIDL,” which is a Vincent Racaniello joint.

Ah, I almost posted these news about Montagnier in the comment section of previous posts, and then thought WTF, it’s just another French old dude trying to get his 15 minutes of fame back.
I didn’t remember all the details of his descent. That was painful to read.

Nature does not accept any molecular tinkering

Is Montagnier going for anti-GMO as well?
As a virologist, he should be fully aware of the existence of giant libraries of strains of phages, bacteria, yeasts, flies and mice with “molecular tinkering”. Last time I checked, most of them were doing quite well.
Some of them may need help in surviving, but that’s because the “tinkering” was aimed at making them fragile. It’s a feature, not a bug.
(OK, so most of them are bugs with a feature)

Hell, he has a genome-ful and gut-ful of ‘molecular tinkering.’

Not to mention, his immune system wouldn’t work very well without substantial rearrangement of somatic DNA. As a virologist, he really should be aware of that

when ideology trumps SBM..

A federal doctor, Richard Bright, claims he was removed for questioning Hydroxychloroquine treatment for Covid-19. He couldn’t be fired because he was appointed , so he was re-assigned, MSNBC
Isn’t that exactly what you expected?

Although righties shriek about lifting restrictions, 66% ( and more) polled, support continuing them. Other polls show even higher support for specifics like masks, no dining in, closing schools, etc. MSN, AP

Liberal governors ( NY, NJ) now enjoy much higher support than the Orange Prevaricator; both increased their ratings from the 40s to the 70s since the advent of interventions. Similarly, CA, People also trust Dr Fauci with high numbers.

YET states plan re-openings. Not here, not today.

Bad news..
two cats have been shown to be positive for Covid-19 ( also a lion and a tiger). Mild symptoms. I knew that they could get similar viruses ( list of vaccines, I think had another Corona virus)

Our source in LI reports that all Chinese restaurants nearby have been shuttered for the past month or more, partially due to association- WRONGLY- with the virus. If the business owners or staff emigrated 20 years ago or are NATIVES… it JUST might be racism. Perhaps not overtly.
Similarly, Chinese places here are shuttered ( I can’t find one within several miles and I LOOKED, HARD because I live on these cuisines) Japanese and SE Asian are open

Sunday’s Last Week Tonight

Fukkin’ FauxNews, man. Rupert Murdock (Let’s put the GOP on tv) and Newt Getrich (contract with Australia) really fucked the future all the way back in 1994.

Fox’n’fools is Trump’s trusted advisors and it just amplifies because anything big orange says, no matter how my fellow inbred Alabamians-like, must be ra ra’d so he doesn’t tweet bad about them.

“Our source in LI reports that all Chinese restaurants nearby have been shuttered for the past month or more, partially due to association- WRONGLY- with the virus.” True.
It’s nothing new here on the Island. In the fall of 2001 I was both condemned and praised for going to eat in the Kabul Grill.

Every Chinese restaurant in my area is shut down too. One favorite takeout place however has a recorded phone message saying they’re hoping to reopen May 1st.

@ Old Rockin’ Dave:
@ Dangerous Bacon:

While you can never know for sure, it could have been something to do with supplies or delivery from Chinatown ( many trucks have addresses like Mott or Canal ) as NYC shut down BUT I find it interesting that I can find Japanese food – which uses similar ingredients- even sushi. The one Chinese takeout I discovered that I hadn’t frequented in years now offers Vietnamese and has an English name . So NOT ONE! while Korean places are open. My cousin lives near the border of Brooklyn.
Earlier on in the pandemic, there were television reports of verbal attacks on Chinese businesses but I haven’t heard anything about this lately,
Many of these places are family run take out and operate on a shoestring. It’s a shame: they serve healthy** reasonably priced
meals with good customer services. I hope that they can re-open.

Post 9/11, there was also backlash against Middle Eastern restaurants and businesses which had signs in Arabic. I know that a few Syrians and Egyptians began to display Christian imagery.

Cuisine is a gateway for understanding other cultures which enriches our society.

** although you can get deep fried chicken, Sweet and Sour entrees and Crab Rangoon ( or Raccoon, as it is occasionally listed).

Likewise in my town. The Chinese place is closed (last time I looked, they had a sign saying they intended to reopen in May), and appears to have a damaged window (I have no idea whether that was storm damage, other accident, or vandalism). The Thai place is open (takeout only per our Governor’s orders). This is in a university town where significant numbers of Chinese students are still around (because they had nowhere to go when classes went online).

The local falafel shop, owned by a Syrian immigrant who has been here for more than two decades (i.e., he arrived long before the civil war started, and not that long after Bashar Assad inherited the dictatorship in Syria), is also closed. That may be because his clientele, most of whom were born-in-the-US students and employees, are not around.

I would say that racists are not usually very discerning. Usually unable to realise that there is a difference between Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai etc cuisine. Or people. Same for Muslim/Sikh/Hindu or Arab/Persian.

Hmmm. Mind you, I suppose they can read, mostly. Maybe what passes for an intellectually superior racist can determine the target du jour by way of signage?

I have to say that a variety of authentic cuisines is one way I envy cities. I think they have settled for the lowest common denominator outside of the big city ethnic neighbourhoods. So, when in Birmingham I used to frequent a kebab shop that actually filled pita breads for you. Delicious fine diced onions with a bit of lemon juice, fresh salad, sauce to burn your mouth off. Most takeaways just shove the lot in a tray with a sad tiny pita at the bottom. It’ll soak up the beer but it’s not the same.

The Chinese restaurant I use to visit is opened for takeaway. I’ve heard rumours of the harrasment of Chinese people, but it looks like the Chinese restaurant I frequently use is not really suffering. But a Chinese operated fast-food service near a friend of mine in Rotterdam seems to have closed. How it is with the Chinese fast-food service close to my home, where I used to buy spring-rolls, I don’t know. I think they have stopped serving Chinese food, but that is all I know.

Most of the Chinese restaurants in my city have managed to transition to take out/delivery. For the month/month and a half before the shutdown there was a real social push to go out for Chinese more, because people were being awful. The paper profiled a place that specializes in a noodle dish from Wuhan where folks would walk in, see that special and walk out. (Who knew people could simultaneously have a deep knowledge of the regional origins of noodles and still be super racist?)

But I also live in a city where the most common restaurant by far is a teriyaki place (every neighborhood has three), and has sizable Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Hmong populations, so there might be some safety in numbers for Chinese restaurants. (All very authentic, by the way. It’s surprisingly hard to find any American Chinese food here. Far easier to find soup dumplings than kung pow chicken.)

“Human population growth is probably the single most serious long-term threat to survival. We’re in for a major disaster if it isn’t curbed… We have no option. If it isn’t controlled voluntarily, it will be controlled involuntarily by an increase in disease, starvation and war.” ― Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

“If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.” ― Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

“I just wonder what it would be like to be reincarnated in an animal whose species had been so reduced in numbers than it was in danger of extinction. What would be its feelings toward the human species whose population explosion had denied it somewhere to exist… I must confess that I am tempted to ask for reincarnation as a particularly deadly virus.” ― Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (in his Foreward to: If I Were an Animal; United Kingdom, Robin Clark Ltd., 1986.)

The weapon does not have to be ‘scary’, or ‘targeted’ for the purposes some who would wish to deploy it.

Prince Phillip is a dotty racist prince consort in a constitutional monarchy. He has about as much power over the actions of the British government or military as one of the Queen’s corgis.

I really don’t care what he thinks, not even when he’s played by Matt Smith.

There is an Israeli-American Nobel laureate (physiology) who said back in early March, according to the article, that he would be “surprised” if the death toll in Israel was more than 10 (it’s nearly 200 now). The article went on to say that although he was not an epidemiologist, he “understood numbers.”

Matt G, just this past Monday, the Creature from the Black Latrine AKA Donald Trump, said we could get away with 50,000 deaths in the US. That day the total number of attributed deaths was 48,900+. Of course, he isn’t an epidemiologist, doesn’t understand numbers, and has the approximate maturity and understanding of a spoiled 8 year-old, but he’s the confuser in chief and could have had the right numbers in a second.
Yes, we are living not only in unprecedented times, but also un-Presidented times.

Wait. What?

The paper has not been reviewed by other scientists and admits that it is based on limited data, but says that nicotine and the coronavirus both interact with the same receptors on cells inside the lungs.

It was done by Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos and Dr Anastasia Barbouni, from the University of West Attica in Athens, and Dr Raymond Niaura of New York University.

They suggest that while the virus causes lung damage by depleting the numbers of those receptors – known as ACE-2 receptors – smoking can increase the number of them, reversing the effect.

ACE-2 receptors, which are found on cells in the airways and lungs, have been said to work as the coronavirus’s doorway into the body and to ‘facilitate’ infection.

Therefore having more of them would seem to be a bad thing, but scientists say they have a protective effect in the lungs and low levels are linked to worse damage from viral infection….

…Dr Farsalinos and his colleagues’ study even suggested that withdrawal symptoms from not being able to smoke in hospital could make cigarette users’ symptoms worse.

It added: ‘Hospitalization for COVID-19 will inevitably result in abrupt withdrawal of nicotine and its beneficial effect linked to this hypothesis in smokers or users of other nicotine products.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-8246939/French-researchers-plan-nicotine-patches-coronavirus-patients-frontline-workers.html

The relationship between nicotine and ACE2 has been explored in the framework of cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases [9]. Accordingly, in the ACE/ANG II/AT1R arm, nicotine increases the expression and/or activity of renin, ACE and AT1R, whereas in the compensatory ACE2/ANG-(1–7)/MasR arm, nicotine down regulates the expression and/or activity of ACE2 and AT2R, thus suggesting a possible contribution of acetylcholine receptors in ACE2 regulation. This possibility has not yet been explored in the framework of viral neuroinfections.

https://www.qeios.com/read/article/571

It might not be as simple as more ACE2 receptors == more virus == worse outcome?

What does it all mean, Basil?

It means you need to find a better source for the articles you want to cite here, ’cause I, for one, am not going to read anything from the Daily Mail anymore than I would read and article from Brietbart.

Come now Tim, challenge yourself. It’ll be fun.

Well, there is possibly a paradox with the ACE2

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.20.20039586v1

Contrary to the hypothesis, treatment with ACE-inhibitors was associated with a reduced risk of rapidly deteriorating severe disease. There was a lower rate of death or transfer to a critical care unit within 7 days in patients on an ACE-inhibitor OR 0​.​29 (CI 0​.​10-0​.​75, p<0​.0​1), adjusting for age, gender, comorbidities (hypertension, diabetes mellitus, ischaemic heart disease and heart failure). Interpretation:​ Although a small sample size, we do not see evidence for ACE-inhibitors increasing the short-term severity of COVID-19 disease and patients on treatment with ACE-inhibitors should continue these drugs during their COVID-19 illness. A potential beneficial effect needs to be explored as more data becomes available.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.07.20056788v1

If it is nicotine for the win, that would be just really swell for me.

I can’t believe that medRχiv* is handing out DOIs.

*Sorry I couldn’t include the blue on the ‘R’ in their dismaying logo.

OK, I’m leaning toward something like ‘Meds “Я” Χiv.’

There’s a reason why viXra exists.

@ Tim

So, your quote: ““Human population growth is probably the single most serious long-term threat to survival. We’re in for a major disaster if it isn’t curbed… We have no option. If it isn’t controlled voluntarily, it will be controlled involuntarily by an increase in disease, starvation and war.”

First, though our population is higher than optimum, if we changed some of our wasteful ways, the planets resources would be adequate. The U.S. uses more energy and throwaway goods than any other nation on the planet. If we went to a vegetarian diet we would have more than enough tasty healthy food for everyone. Beef is responsible partly for destruction of the Amazon Rain Forest and Beef takes more than 10 lbs of healthy grains for 1 lb of beef, wastes masses of water, and land. Of course, had vaccines not been invented, then smallpox alone would have ensured the current population was 1/3 what it is, unfortunately with most having disfiguring scars and a high number of blind people and chances neither of us would be here.

If you read Nobel Laureate Amartya Sens’ book “Development as Freedom” he discusses case of Indian State of Kerala, not one of the wealthier Indian states. However, they have as low a birthrate as China’s and it isn’t forced. In Kerala women are given educations, independence, and jobs and they have a good universal health and education system, so women marry later and have fewer children. Though there are always exceptions to any rule, on the whole, when people are given decent lives, not living in dire poverty and oppression, they tend to have smaller families. So, maybe the United States should use our economic power to help other nations develop truly universal health care, universal education, equality for all their citizens, etc. instead of using our military to kill, main, cripple, and impoverish Third Worlders, not for defense; but to further the goals of American corporations.

The quotes you resort to our a typical black and white approach, no nuances, no middle road approaches.

U.S. Military – Our Government Lies Used for Defense when, in reality, used to further Corporate Interests

William Blum (2003). Killing Hope: US Military & CIA Interventions since World War II. Available at: https://www.cia.gov/library/abbottabad-compound/13/130AEF1531746AAD6AC03… [also for purchase on amazon.com

Major General Smedley Butler   War Is A Racket. Available at: https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.pdf  [Butler is the most decorated marine in American history]

Mason Gaffney (March 2018). Corporate Power and Expansive U.S. Military Policy. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 77, No. 2. Pages 331 – 417. Available at: https://www.globalresearch.ca/corporate-power-and-expansive-u-s-military…

Stephen C. Schlesinger (1983). Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala. Inexpensive copies available on Amazon.com  Also available San Diego Public Library

I can not disagree with anything you have stated here, Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH.

Yea, they burn down the forest over cattle speculation to pay down debt to other nations (well, mostly one). Same with the disgusting palm oil plantations.

But, bruh? I’m not quoting the guy because I admire him but because I’ve got my NWO global conspiracy hat on. Think the Georgia Guide stones.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Guidestones#Inscriptions

{not that I particularly disagree with some of the things written; it is just it should be more of a suggestion over some old bunch of inbred Rockefeller/Rothschild types rapidly implementing it of their own accord.

But, bruh? I’m not quoting the guy because I admire him but because I’ve got my NWO global conspiracy hat on.

I think Natalie has already cornered the RI market on that front.

Same with the disgusting palm oil plantations.

There are only two items that I buy “organically” — baby spinach, for convenience, and bananas, because of the deplorable working conditions.

William Blum (2003). Killing Hope: US Military & CIA Interventions since World War II.

Alfred McCoy’s The Politics of Heroin is a pretty engaging read, as well.

“Beef is responsible partly for destruction of the Amazon Rain Forest and Beef takes more than 10 lbs of healthy grains for 1 lb of beef, wastes masses of water, and land.”
The greater evil in beef production is the feedlot. Nearly everything that is most harmful about beef production goes away when the cattle are solely range-fed, from the unhealthful fats to the antibiotics. It tastes better too.
Grazing of cattle and other meat animals can be done on land which is entirely unsuitable for farming. Herding constitutes a way of life for many groups of people who live on that kind of land. Taking their cattle away would be cultural genocide.
In some stores in my area you can find range-fed beef, bison, and occasionally beefalo. Any of them is a better choice than the usual. If you can’t find them, many stores carry USDA choice grade beef, which has less fat than USDA prime (I don’t know if that reflects less feedlotting.)..
Then there’s the problem of California, where water is carried hundreds of miles to, among other things, grow rice in the desert, or Arizona and New Mexico pumping millions of years of water from deep aquifers in a few decades for quick profit and never mind if the whole state becomes one big sinkhole and the cities eventually collapse.
There aren’t any simple one size fits all solutions.

@ TIM

You write: “The Wuhan Institute of Virology were studying bat coronaviruses and back in December there was a notice to all BL-4 labs (of which the only one in China is WIV) to address safety protocols more stringently. Also, there were job listings looking for researchers in the coronavirus subject.

So, you are correct — it is nigh impossible for it to have been ‘engineered’. But previously collected and studied? I think that is highly likely and the appropriate people need to see the WIVs’ notes which, thus far, China has not been forthcoming.”

As far as I’ve found the Chinese have been quite forthcoming about what they have learned about Coronaviruses and the COVID-19. In fact, I have downloaded several peer-reviewed articles as well as newspaper articles.

As for BL-4 labs having experienced some safety problems, yep; but so has the CDCs; but, the COVID-19 was NOT, an engineered virus, experts around the world have looked at its genome. Fact is that nature is quite capable of making rather nasty microbes, especially given human propensity to destroy rain forests, to eat exotic foods, and to breed huge amounts of animals in small areas.

In full agreement, one might note that what constitutes safety problems in a BSL4 lab could be an ocean away from “accidental release”. As anyone who’s ever been on the receiving end of a formal audit might know, things that are little in the grand scheme of things can end up feeling enormous. (Our last mock audit spent 3 days on why the second line of a service request to empty a vacuum trap wasn’t filled out fully.)

I do wonder my Tim seems to think everyone is so careless, hapless and cavalier in their work, even around dangerous materials?

There could be some bias with me, agreed. It is because I am careless with radionuclides, mercury, various molds and fungi, extracts of polk weed, scopolamine from Jimson, x-rays and fast neutrons from Mcguyverd together pulse power experiments, …, handling of toxoplasmosis contaminated cat litter — all kept in improperly labeled dip cans (except for the neutrons, x-rays, and cat litter).

I guess that I just can’t see that others wouldn’t be as careless as me; or as vindictive as me if I got dressed down for not filling out the second line of a service request to clean the traps on the vaccu-suck, zero g, no flow toilets and decided to just take a drill and boom right in the scrubber. /s

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you our glorious dear leader, President Tide Pod

Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said that hasn’t been checked but you’re going to test it. Supposing you brought the light inside of the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you’re going to test that too. Sounds interesting. And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. And is there a way we can do something, by an injection inside or almost a cleaning? It would be interesting to check that. That you’re gonna have to use medical doctors with.

(Que Limbaugh saying that it is just manufactured outrage to own the libs — that he doesn’t really mean that.)

Great article. Good to know the “appeal to authority” arguments have their limits.

I’d add Henry Kissinger and Barack Obama to the list of problematic Nobel laureates. Kissinger for his war crimes (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Chile, etc) and nuclear war threats. Obama got the prize for wishful thinking and brought the nuclear attack codes to the ceremony (he was President so the “football” followed him around at all times).

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