Controversial Epoch Times Releases Documentary: “Tracking Down the Origin of Wuhan Coronavirus”

Debate: Natural Virus Evolution vs. Lab-Made Virus?

Report by Joshua Philipp on tracking down the origin of the Wuhan Coronavrus from the Huanan Seafood Market to a deadly pandemic.

Epoch Times claims a new video titled “Tracking Down the Origin of Wuhan Coronavirus” and published on April 7, 2020 is the first documentary movie on the origin of a CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. The 56-minute documentary by investigative reporter Joshua Philipp takes an in-depth look at the progression of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic from January (actually possibly November 2019) to April 2020, and leads viewers, according to Epoch Times, on a journey of discovery to bring the truth behind the matter to light.

Documentary Sections
01:55 Part 1 The Story of The Seafood Market
09:34 Part 2 The Mysterious Gene Sequence
17:47 Part 3 The Discoveries of Dr. Shi Zhengli
28:50 Part 4 The Secret of the Wuhan P4 Laboratory
43:43 Part 5 Facing The Pandemic




Following are highlights from the first half of the video documentary.

Dr. Sean Lin, former Lab Director of the Viral Disease Branch, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research said the symptom onset of the first patient was on December 1, 2019, and had no relation to the Huanan Seafood Market, and no epidemiological link was found between the first patient and later cases. On December 10, 2019, there were 3 more cases, and 2 of the 3 cases had no relation to the Huanan Seafood Market.

Earlier reports from Chinese health authorities (wjw.wuhan.gov.cn) and the World Health Organization had said the first patient had onset of symptoms on 8 December 2019—and those reports simply said “most” cases had links to the seafood market, which was closed on 1 January.

— Science Magazine from AAAS

Since December 15, 2019, a cluster of cases with a history of seafood market exposure have been reported.

No one sells bats at the seafood market and no bats have been found.

Soon after the December 10, 2019 analysis of 3 patients, there were 14 patients of 41 patients studied that were found to be unrelated to the Huanan Seafood Market.

Judy A. Mikovits, Ph.D., a molecular biologist and former Director of Lab of Antiviral Mechanism NCI, pointed out that a Lancet article said that patient zero was nowhere near the seafood market, and that there are no bats at the market or anywhere close. However, a high similarity of SARS CoV-2 nucleotide sequences were found with bat-related viruses.

Reports from NBC and Fox News have stated that bats are a likely source of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

NBC Reports Indicating Bat Source

CARDINAL NEWS | Virologist Elodie Ghedin Explains Why SARS-Cov-2 Responsible for Coronavirus (COVID-19) Likely Came from Bats

CARDINAL NEWS | Genome Studies Not Conclusive; Bats, Wuhan Institute of Virology, and Animal Market Scrutinized While Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Source Is a Mystery

Fox News Implicating Bats

CARDINAL NEWS | Reopening Across China: ‘Wet Markets’ — Known Springboards for the Group of Viruses Known as Coronaviruses

Lancet Article & More

ABSTRACT: By Jan 2, 2020, 41 admitted hospital patients had been identified as having laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection. Most of the infected patients were men (30 [73%] of 41); less than half had underlying diseases (13 [32%]), including diabetes (eight [20%]), hypertension (six [15%]), and cardiovascular disease (six [15%]). Median age was 49·0 years (IQR 41·0-58·0). 27 (66%) of 41 patients had been exposed to Huanan seafood market. One family cluster was found. Common symptoms at onset of illness were fever (40 [98%] of 41 patients), cough (31 [76%]), and myalgia or fatigue (18 [44%]); less common symptoms were sputum production (11 [28%] of 39), headache (three [8%] of 38), haemoptysis (two [5%] of 39), and diarrhoea (one [3%] of 38). Dyspnoea developed in 22 (55%) of 40 patients (median time from illness onset to dyspnoea 8·0 days [IQR 5·0-13·0]). 26 (63%) of 41 patients had lymphopenia. All 41 patients had pneumonia with abnormal findings on chest CT. Complications included acute respiratory distress syndrome (12 [29%]), RNAaemia (six [15%]), acute cardiac injury (five [12%]) and secondary infection (four [10%]). 13 (32%) patients were admitted to an ICU and six (15%) died. Compared with non-ICU patients, ICU patients had higher plasma levels of IL2, IL7, IL10, GSCF, IP10, MCP1, MIP1A, and TNFα.

Interpretation: The 2019-nCoV infection caused clusters of severe respiratory illness similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and was associated with ICU admission and high mortality. Major gaps in our knowledge of the origin, epidemiology, duration of human transmission, and clinical spectrum of disease need fulfillment by future studies.

Huang C, Wang Y, Li X, et al. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China [published correction appears in Lancet. 2020 Jan 30;:]. Lancet. 2020;395(10223):497–506. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30183-5

A followup Lancet article also found numerous patients that had no connection to the Huanan Seafood Market.

Dr. Sean Lin pointed out the existence of a clear outside source of the infection and possible malfeasance involved in the Chinese information.

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Daniel Lucey, an epidemiologist at the University of Georgetown, said that if the new data are accurate (from the Lancet articles), the first human infections must have occurred in November 2019 — if not earlier — because there is an incubation time between infection and symptoms surfacing. If so, the virus possibly spread silently between people in Wuhan — and perhaps elsewhere — before the cluster of cases from the city’s now-infamous Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was discovered in late December. “The virus came into that marketplace before it came out of that marketplace,” Lucey asserts.

Early Diagnostic Criteria to Confirm a Coronavirus COVID-19 Case in China

A history of contact with Huanan seafood market.

Presence of a fever.

Presence of whole genome sequencing for SARS CoV-2 (would be named).

Why did Chinese medical panel include diagnostic criteria “history of Huanan Seafood Market”, knowing that one-third of patients weren’t connected to the seafood market?

It can go a long way to covering up the actual source by imposing a false place, and you’re not looking at the actual victims.

— Judy A. Mikovits, Ph.D., molecular biologist and former Director of Lab of Antiviral Mechanism NCI (National Cancer Institute)




In early January 2020, Chinese researchers (not the Chinese government led by the CCP) disclosed the full genome sequence of the Wuhan novel Coroanavirus. The Wuhan coronavirus was found to have an 89.1% nucleotide similarity with the CoVZC45 virus, and “even exhibit 100% amino acid similarity in the nsp7 and E proteins.”

As early as January 7, 2020, Yan-Mei Chen of the National Institute of Communicable Disease and Prevention and others found that the Wuhan coronavirus is closely related to the two viruses (CoVZC45 and CoVZXC21) sampled from bats in Zhoushan by the People’s Liberation Army. A joint work was submitted to Nature, and published on February 3, 2020.

ABSTRACT: Emerging infectious diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Zika virus disease, present a major threat to public health1-3. Despite intense research efforts, how, when and where new diseases appear are still a source of considerable uncertainty. A severe respiratory disease was recently reported in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. As of 25 January 2020, at least 1,975 cases had been reported since the first patient was hospitalized on 12 December 2019. Epidemiological investigations have suggested that the outbreak was associated with a seafood market in Wuhan. Here we study a single patient who was a worker at the market and who was admitted to the Central Hospital of Wuhan on 26 December 2019 while experiencing a severe respiratory syndrome that included fever, dizziness and a cough. Metagenomic RNA sequencing4 of a sample of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from the patient identified a new RNA virus strain from the family Coronaviridae, which is designated here ‘WH-Human 1’ coronavirus (and has also been referred to as ‘2019-nCoV’). Phylogenetic analysis of the complete viral genome (29,903 nucleotides) revealed that the virus was most closely related (89.1% nucleotide similarity) to a group of SARS-like coronaviruses (genus Betacoronavirus, subgenus Sarbecovirus) that had previously been found in bats in China5. This outbreak highlights the ongoing ability of viral spill-over from animals to cause severe disease in humans.

Wu F, Zhao S, Yu B, et al. A new coronavirus associated with human respiratory disease in China. Nature. 2020;579(7798):265–269. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2008-3

ABSTRACT: The ten genome sequences of 2019-nCoV obtained from the nine patients were extremely similar, exhibiting more than 99·98% sequence identity. Notably, 2019-nCoV was closely related (with 88% identity) to two bat-derived severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like coronaviruses, bat-SL-CoVZC45 and bat-SL-CoVZXC21, collected in 2018 in Zhoushan, eastern China, but were more distant from SARS-CoV (about 79%) and MERS-CoV (about 50%). Phylogenetic analysis revealed that 2019-nCoV fell within the subgenus Sarbecovirus of the genus Betacoronavirus, with a relatively long branch length to its closest relatives bat-SL-CoVZC45 and bat-SL-CoVZXC21, and was genetically distinct from SARS-CoV. Notably, homology modelling revealed that 2019-nCoV had a similar receptor-binding domain structure to that of SARS-CoV, despite amino acid variation at some key residues.

Interpretation: 2019-nCoV is sufficiently divergent from SARS-CoV to be considered a new human-infecting betacoronavirus. Although our phylogenetic analysis suggests that bats might be the original host of this virus, an animal sold at the seafood market in Wuhan might represent an intermediate host facilitating the emergence of the virus in humans. Importantly, structural analysis suggests that 2019-nCoV might be able to bind to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor in humans. The future evolution, adaptation, and spread of this virus warrant urgent investigation.

Lu R, Zhao X, Li J, et al. Genomic characterisation and epidemiology of 2019 novel coronavirus: implications for virus origins and receptor binding. Lancet. 2020;395(10224):565–574. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30251-8

“If the virus escaped, nobody could predict the trajectory.”

Simon Wain-Hobson, Virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, speaking about the novel virus that “grows remarkably well” in human cells

ABSTRACT: SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), the causative agent of the large SARS outbreak in 2003, originated in bats. Many SARS-like coronaviruses (SL-CoVs) have been detected in bats, particularly those that reside in China, Europe, and Africa. To further understand the evolutionary relationship between SARS-CoV and its reservoirs, 334 bats were collected from Zhoushan city, Zhejiang province, China, between 2015 and 2017. PCR amplification of the conserved coronaviral protein RdRp detected coronaviruses in 26.65% of bats belonging to this region, and this number was influenced by seasonal changes. Full genomic analyses of the two new SL-CoVs from Zhoushan (ZXC21 and ZC45) showed that their genomes were 29,732 nucleotides (nt) and 29,802 nt in length, respectively, with 13 open reading frames (ORFs). These results revealed 81% shared nucleotide identity with human/civet SARS CoVs, which was more distant than that observed previously for bat SL-CoVs in China. Importantly, using pathogenic tests, we found that the virus can reproduce and cause disease in suckling rats, and further studies showed that the virus-like particles can be observed in the brains of suckling rats by electron microscopy. Thus, this study increased our understanding of the genetic diversity of the SL-CoVs carried by bats and also provided a new perspective to study the possibility of cross-species transmission of SL-CoVs using suckling rats as an animal model.

Hu D, Zhu C, Ai L, et al. Genomic characterization and infectivity of a novel SARS-like coronavirus in Chinese bats. Emerg Microbes Infect. 2018;7(1):154. Published 2018 Sep 12. doi:10.1038/s41426-018-0155-5




What Does High Similarity of E-Protein (Envelop Protein) Reveal?

(It’s) hard to see proteins 100% identical when virus jumps species, and so that suggesting maybe the virus could be generated with reverse engineering process.

— Dr. Sean Lin, former Lab Director of the Viral Disease Branch, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

I certainly believe that the 100% amino acid similarity says it can’t possibly be a natural mutation. It almost certainly is a recombination event that was laboratory driven.

— Judy A. Mikovits, Ph.D., molecular biologist and former Director of Lab of Antiviral Mechanism NCI (National Cancer Institute)

ABSTRACT: No abstract available on PubMed.gov …

Xu X, Chen P, Wang J, et al. Evolution of the novel coronavirus from the ongoing Wuhan outbreak and modeling of its spike protein for risk of human transmission. Sci China Life Sci. 2020;63(3):457–460. doi:10.1007/s11427-020-1637-5

S Proteins or Spike Glycoproteins are the projections on the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus that engage with Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 Receptors that allow the virus to invade a cell and destroy it.

That means virus now can infect human cell much easier; and that’s probably also one of the important reasons contributing to multi-organ failure when people have a very severe disease … that can spread in the human body much faster.

— Dr. Sean Lin, former Lab Director of the Viral Disease Branch, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

Well the S-Proteins — the high similarity of the S-Proteins from SARS-1 to now SARS-2 … that’s your spike protein, that’s the lock and key that drives it right through human cells. And so we know that’s the pathogenic Spike Protein for the original SARS — they’re allowing that access to human tissues because these Spike Proteins for the natural evolutionary strains don’t infect human cells at all. So that research has been going on at Wuhan and published since 2007, and clearly if that Spike Protein from SARS weren’t on the new COVID-19 or “SARS-2”, it wouldn’t be able to enter human cells. So again, this is evidence that it couldn’t go through the Wuhan seafood market because how did you get that spike protein off the original SARS from bats or any other way — it’s lab-derived.

— Judy A. Mikovits, Ph.D., molecular biologist and former Director of Lab of Antiviral Mechanism NCI (National Cancer Institute)

On January 5, 2020, Yong-Zhen Zhang’s isolated and completed the genome sequence of the previously unknown virus, and published the genome sequence on January 11, 2020 on virological.org. On January 5, 2020, the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre also reported this discovery to the National Health Commission, and recommended prevention measures. The posting of the genome sequence was communicated in English by Edward C. Holmes, University of Sydney on behalf of the consortium led by Professor Yong-Zhen Zhang. IN an update, the genome was made available on GenBank, which is the NIH genetic sequence database — an annotated collection of all publicly available DNA sequences.

The research into the genome sequence revealed many data points, and was first shared to the world by Zhang Yongzhen’s team at the Shanghai P3 Laboratory (Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center & School Public Health at Fudan University) when there was initially no response from the Chinese government. Eventually Chinese authorities responded by closing the laboratory, which impeded further research on the virus.

Once scientists published the sequence of the virus and warned that existing virus samples must be destroyed, the scientific community was silenced by the Chinese government.




FactCheck.org, which is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media, reported in a February 7, 2020 article that “several online stories inaccurately claim that the new coronavirus contains HIV ‘insertions’ and shows signs of being created in a lab. But there is no evidence that the new virus was bioengineered, and every indication it came from an animal.” The FactCheck.org article cited comments from Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, stating that there is absolutely no evidence of sequence insertions or a relationship to HIV. The FactCheck.org article cited research published in Nature and Trials, but their cited scientific research sources were far less in number than the cited scientific research resources made available in the Epoch Times documentary — research from actual scientists in China. Additionally some of the scientific articles that the FactCheck.org article cited were not directly supportive of debunking a lab-created virus. In fact, those indirect scientific articles go to a tangent topic about the lack of efficacy of HIV drugs in the treatment of Coronavirus COVID-19 as an argument to support that the HIV insertions aren’t an issue that indicates SARS-CoV-2 might have been a lab-made virus. Nevertheless, the FactCheck.org article used the words “Baseless Conspiracy” in the title and “absolutely no evidence” in the text of the article to describe “online stories” that question the origin of the SARS CoV-2 virus.

See also …

FACTCHECK.ORG | Baseless Conspiracy Theories Claim New Coronavirus Was Bioengineered

CARDINAL NEWS | POLITICO | How China’s fake news machine is rewriting the history of Covid-19, even as the pandemic unfolds

CARDINAL NEWS | South China Morning Post | Coronavirus Could Attack immune System Like HIV by Targeting Protective Cells, Warn Scientists