TWiV 760: SARS-CoV-2 origins with Peter Daszak, Thea Kølsen Fischer, Marion Koopmans

May 27, 2021

Peter Daszak, Thea Kølsen Fischer, and Marion Koopmans, members of the WHO team investigating the origins of SARS-CoV-2 join TWiV to explain the work done by the committee during phase one, their conclusions, and the extent of work that remains to be done in phase two.

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Rich Condit, and Kathy Spindler

Guests: Peter Daszak, Thea Kølsen Fischer, and Marion Koopmans

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Weekly Picks 1:17:55

Kathy My Octopus Teacher
Rich John Wyndam classic Sci Fi: The Chrysalids, The Day of the Triffids
VincentSARS-CoV-2 Phylogeny and Spatiotemporal Spread (paper)

Intro music is by Ronald Jenkees

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6 comments on “TWiV 760: SARS-CoV-2 origins with Peter Daszak, Thea Kølsen Fischer, Marion Koopmans

  1. From: Anthony Olszewski
    Sent: Sunday, January 10, 2021 6:41 AM
    To: Emanuel Goldman

    Subject: Can the coronavirus disease be transmitted from food?
    Can the coronavirus disease be transmitted from food? A review of evidence, risks, policies and knowledge gaps
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10311-020-01101-x

    Exaggerated risk of transmission of COVID-19 by fomites
    “In my opinion, the chance of transmission through inanimate surfaces is very small”
    https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/laninf/PIIS1473-3099(20)30561-2.pdf

    Is there anything in the food transmission article that would cause you to change your Lancet piece?

    No. The evidence is based on detecting virus RNA. This is not an adequate surrogate for actual infectious virus.

    I see here
    SARS-CoV-2 spillover events
    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/371/6525/120
    fomite transmission is used to suggest that SARS CoV 2 originated outside of China The food transmission article. is cited as proof:

    “Given the finding of SARS-CoV-2 on the surface of imported food packages, contact with contaminated uncooked food could be an important source of SARS-CoV-2 transmission (8). Recently, SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were found in human serum samples taken outside of China before the COVID-19 outbreak was detected (14, 15), which suggests that SARS-CoV-2 existed for some time before the first cases were described in Wuhan ”

    # # #

    The foreign food origin has been featured in media (propaganda?) in China
    With frozen food clampdown, China points overseas as source of coronavirus
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-china-origin/with-frozen-food-clampdown-china-points-overseas-as-source-of-coronavirus-idUSKBN2861A2

    # # #
    Concerning TWiV 737 and cold chain transmission in the WHO report– there probably is none except in the imagination of PRC news copywriters — and Peter Dazak.

    # # #
    https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/10/asia/who-china-coronavirus-intl-hnk/index.html

    In the video at this Page, Dr. Daszak leaves the door open for imported frozen food. Would this be most likely with enteric transmission? Is there enteric transmission? I’d guess that if the items were vigorously chopped then particles could spray / aerosolize. But, Dr. Daszak is pointing at a gun that’s not smoking. They didn’t find SARS CoV 2 in any of the food items of possible intermediaries.

    Early cases in Wuhan preceded the cases at the market. Did the first to fall ill consume imported frozen food?

    # # #

    As I think was noted by a guest in this TWiV, during a time of epidemic, it would be almost expected to detect virus on packaging.

    # # #

    Up until Fifty years ago, live animal food markets still were easily found in Jersey City and Hoboken, just across the river from New York City. I remember a machine being used to remove the feathers from slaughtered poultry. This was behind a window, to protect the customer from the resulting spray of particles. Is the situation similar now in China? Presumably these aerosolized particles would be a great way to fill the air with pathogens.

    What sort of hand protection do the butchers wear in the live animal markets in China? Might virus be introduced through nicks, cuts and abrasions?

    • Karen May 30, 2021

      Look at the WHO report. You haven’t read it, have you? They give references on the chilled /frozen food research, which includes independent research where they found thawed SARS-CoV-2 contaminated frozen fish was able to be cultured. Ie, they checked if SARS-CoV-2 could remain infectious after thawing, did NOT rely on genome sequencing alone. The answer is YES, SARS-Cov-2 was infectious, ie repeated findings of earlier research by the Chinese on source of reinfection of the Beijing market. Therefore the WHO team, after looking at the evidence, listed it as “possible”.

      And why do people have selective hearing? Daszak is interested in following all sources of live animals and animal products (ie butchered outside of markets, including chilled/frozen) that supplied the Wuhan markets. This includes all Chinese sources and other countries that supplied the Wuhan markets, particularly areas where known SARS related CoV are found in wildlife and farmed animals.

  2. Walter H Burnham MD May 28, 2021

    Fantastic discussion of the gain of function at Wuhan lab! You had your chance with Peter Daszak. Wonder why you didn’t?

  3. Jeffery Biss May 31, 2021

    Regarding Peter’s statement that shutting down China’s wildlife-based farming is “bad”, people do not need meat to sustain life or health and so ending animal-based farming is a good thing. Let those people do something else to earn a living as the lives of their victims are not theirs, they are the innate property of the victims. Meat is murder. the victims matter in their own right. I understand that most people don’t care about our victims and their suffering, but it’s time that it gets elevated and become part of the discussion.