China has slammed claims it backed down and Australia had a victory over the probe into COVID-19 as a “joke”.
In the latest diplomatic war of words between the two nations, the Chinese embassy has lashed out at claims it has backed down over the investigation under international pressure.
“The draft resolution on COVID-19 to be adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) is totally different from Australia’s proposal of an independent review,” a spokesman said.
“A close look at the draft itself can easily come to such a conclusion.
“All those who know the consultation process that led to the resolution understand this.
“To claim the WHA’s resolution is a vindication of Australia’s call is nothing but a joke.”
US President Donald Trump has backed Australia’s push for a World Health Organisation (WHO) probe into the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We are with them,” he said as he retweeted an SBS News tweet on the growing global support for Australia’s bid for an inquiry.
Australia and the European Union’s motion demands an independent inquiry into the Chinese origin of COVID-19 “at the earliest appropriate moment”.
Quite right. This is neither new nor a concession by China. Via SCMP a week ago:
China says it supports World Health Organisation efforts to investigate the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic, but rejects any “presumption of guilt”, after the global body said it was talking to Beijing about sending another delegation to the country.
…Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist with the WHO, on Wednesday said the agency was in discussion with China about examining potential animal origins of the coronavirus.
“There is discussion with our counterparts in China for a further mission, which would be more academic in focus and really focus on looking at what happened at the beginning in terms of the exposures with different animals, so that we can look to have an approach to find the zoonotic source,” she said.
That’s not overly helpful is it? We already know that the WHO is compromised by Chinese funding by its performance throughout the pandemic. What kind of investigation sets such parameters before we even begin? What if it did come from a lab as new Australian research suggests, again, today:
A scientific study in Austria has found that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that has led to a pandemic, was likely created in a lab, barring some “remarkable coincidence” that led to the virus naturally evolving to be optimised to attack human cells.
The study was led by Nikolai Petrovsky, a vaccine researcher at Flinders University. The scientists in his team discovered that the coronavirus is optimized for penetration into human cells, rather than animal cells, which means that the theory that it emerged from an animal market and jumped to humans naturally is unlikely.
Lifesite News reports that the scientists “used a version of the novel coronavirus collected in the earliest days of the outbreak and applied computer models to test its capacity to bind to certain cell receptor enzymes, called “ACE2,” that allow the virus to infect human and animal cells to varying degrees of efficacy.”
“They found that “the novel coronavirus most powerfully binds with human ACE2, and with variously lesser degrees of effectiveness with animal versions of the receptor.”
The authors believe this means that the virus “became specialized for human cell penetration by living previously in human cells, quite possibly in a laboratory.”
The Study notes that “a virus would be expected to have highest affinity for the receptor in its original host species, e.g. bat, with a lower initial binding affinity for the receptor of any new host, e.g. humans. However, in this case, the affinity of SARS-CoV-2 is higher for humans than for the putative original host species, bats, or for any potential intermediary host species.”
It continues, noting that a “possibility which still cannot be excluded is that SARSCoV-2 was created by a recombination event that occurred inadvertently or consciously in a laboratory handling coronaviruses, with the new virus then accidentally released into the local human population.”
Dr Petrovsky added in a statement that, rather than being rapidly genetically spliced and mutated, the virus shows signs of being ‘cultured’ to evolve over time.
“Our and other analyses of the genomic sequence of the virus do not reveal any artificial gene inserts that would be the hallmark of a gene jockey, genetic engineers who manipulate or even create viruses by splicing in artificial inserts into their genome.” Petrovsky said.
“These are generally easily recognisable and hence clear signatures of human intervention in the creation of a virus. The fact that these artificial inserts are not present has been interpreted by some to mean this virus is not the result of human manipulation.” he added.
“However, this logic is incorrect as there are other ways in which humans can manipulate viruses and that is caused by natural selection,” he continued, adding that “you can force [a] bat virus to adapt to infect human cells via mutations in its spike protein,” after culturing it for a few years.
“The result of these experiments, according to the doctor, would be “a virus that is highly virulent in humans but is sufficiently different that it no longer resembles the original bat virus.”
De Spegel was clear about the problems few weeks ago:
At the same time, hardly anyone in the West still doubts that the pandemic could have been contained better if China had not slowed down the flow of information. According to the BND [German intelligence], China has even urged the World Health Organization to delay a global warning. On January 21, China’s head of state Xi Jinping during a phone call with WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asked to withhold information about a person-to-person transmission and to postpone a pandemic warning. The WHO was silent for a week. The BND’s verdict is harsh: at least four, if not six, weeks have been lost in Beijing’s information policy in the fight against the virus.
Nevertheless, the federal government does not want to escalate the conflict with China, for one reason: Germany needs protective equipment made in China. Since Chancellor Merkel’s call to Xi Jinping, the Beijing Ministry of Commerce has had a permanent contact for these deliveries.
In return, the government demands to be able to present itself as a helper. Beijing expects the recipient country to take public action with every delivery of masks or protective suits, a diplomat reported last week to the foreign policy leaders of the parliamentary groups in the Bundestag. Some European governments would have taken part in that.
The WHO is demonstrably incapable of conducting an independent inquiry, not least because it should cover its own corruption and failure.
Australia has won nothing but a few tariffs and anger in Bejing.