Hong Kong Intelligence Report #43 THE INTELLIGENCE WAR ON COVID-19: Reading COVID-19-origin Reports
Updated: Aug 30, 2021
@President Joe Biden Open-source intelligence (OSINT)
“You know, it’s sufficient just to closely monitor what’s going on in the world always and then you’ll understand the logic behind what is going on. Why ordinary people often lose touch with what is going on? Why do they consider these things complicated? Why do they think that something is concealed from their eyes? This is simply because ordinary people live their lives. On an everyday basis they go to work and earn money, and they are not following international affairs. That’s why ordinary people are so easy to manipulate, to be misled but if they were to follow what’s going on in the world on an everyday basis, then despite the fact that some part of diplomacy is always conducted behind closed doors, it’s still going to be easier to understand what’s going on and you’ll be able to grasp the logic behind world developments. And you can achieve it even without having access to secret documents.” - Vladimir Putin (1)
The three laboratories in Wuhan working with either CoVs diagnostics and/or CoVs isolation and vaccine development all had high quality biosafety level (BSL3 or 4) facilities that were well-managed, with a staff health monitoring programme with no reporting of COVID-19 compatible respiratory illness during the weeks/months prior to December 2019, and no serological evidence of infection in workers through SARS-CoV-2-specific serology-screening. The Wuhan CDC lab which moved on 2nd December 2019 reported no disruptions or incidents caused by the move. They also reported no storage nor laboratory activities on CoVs or other bat viruses preceding the outbreak. - WHO (2)
Unlike the official narrative of main stream media, the COVID-origin report 'WHO-convened global study of origins of SARS-CoV-2: China Part' is as important as 'Report of the International Science Commission for the Investigation of the Facts concerning Bacterial Warfare in Korea and China' (Beijing, 1952). It has the historical meaning for China.
The WHO report marked the Chinese victory in the intelligence war on the COVID-origin dispute by scientifically refuting conspiracy theories including the notorious Wuhan lab theory.
US intelligence agencies recently submitted the classified and inconclusive COVID-origin report to Joe Biden on August 24, 2021 without any evidence to back their either animal or lab theory against China. It means that they self-revealed their own groundlessness of those pure allegations / fabrication which including the totally meaningless 'successful' SIGINT story of August 5, 2021 by CNN. In fact, genomic sequence data from China have been publicly shared with scientists of all over the world and thoroughly analysed during the WHO probe. READ MORE: Overnight Health Care: Biden given inconclusive intel report on COVID-19 origin Key Takeaways (the IC=intelligence community)
The WHO report surprisingly proved several politically important points under the increasing US pressure and systematic distortion by mainstream media including major Hong Kong media. Unfortunately, there was no Hong Kong local media truthfully covered key points in the report while no one actually read it in detail or deliberately just transferred the western media reports without critical thinking. The WHO report is a mirror to reflect corruption of Hong Kong journalism. Such as the Alibaba-owned US media SCMP's 'unseen Wuhan research notes' is a good example. The authority of WHO research is under attack.
1. The Entry Pathway of the Virus to Wuhan: The highest possibility of the entry pathway of SARS-COV-2 pandemic in 2019 is considered to be the cold chain products to the market in Wuhan from 20 countries and regions not indigenous animals or Wuhan labs in China. Furthermore, no bats or pangolins sold in the market. The most positive cases at the market are linked to the cold chain products.
2. Declassified information on the Patient Zero: The Chinese government disclosed many state secrets to the WHO research teams unprecedentedly in order to refute conspiracy theories. For instance, the first patient of December 1, 2019 was proven to be a non-lab staff but he has been turned out to be the earliest domestic cluster case that indirectly related to the market exposure. Now it was redefined to be December 26, 2019 case when his wife was proven to be directly exposed to the market and himself was also officially tested positive to COVID-19. As a result, the date of the earliest case of China is the December 8, 2019 not December 1, 2019. This declassified information denied the possibility of the lab theory.
3. 2019 Military World Games was a real event but no pneumonia case was confirmed by WHO. There was no COVID-19 case before December 2019 in China. However the earliest case of US is now revised as December 13, 2019.
4. Real Limitation of the Origin Research: It is time to expand the origin research to countries of the cold chain products, host countries of SARS-COV2-related bats, minks and pangolins, especially South East Asia like Malaysia (pangolins) and Cambodia (bats) as the WHO report suggests. There is no accurate original host of the virus identified yet.
5. Truth of SARS-COV-2: No genetical modification of the virus confirmed by WHO. SARS-COV-2 fully originated in Mother Nature with still missing links to its evolution process.
In May 2020, the World Health Assembly in resolution WHA73.1 requested the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) to continue to work closely with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and countries, as part of the One Health approach, to identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts. The aim is to prevent both reinfection with the virus in animals and humans and the establishment of new zoonotic reservoirs, thereby reducing further risks of the emergence and transmission of zoonotic diseases.
The epidemiology working group closely examined the possibilities of identifying earlier cases of COVID-19 through studies from surveillance of morbidity due to respiratory diseases in and around Wuhan in late 2019. It also drew on national sentinel surveillance data; laboratory confirmations of disease; reports of retail pharmacy purchases for antipyretics, cold and cough medications; a convenience subset of stored samples of more than 4500 research project samples from the second half of 2019 stored at various hospitals in Wuhan, the rest of Hubei Province and other provinces. In none of these studies was there evidence of an impact of the causative agent of COVID-19 on morbidity in the months before the outbreak of COVID-19. Furthermore, surveillance data on all-cause mortality and pneumonia-specific mortality from Wuhan city and the rest of Hubei Province were reviewed. The documented rapid increase in all-cause mortality and pneumonia-specific deaths in the third week of 2020 indicated that virus transmission was widespread among the population of Wuhan by the first week of 2020. The steep increase in mortality that occurred one to two weeks later among the population in the Hubei Province outside Wuhan suggested that the epidemic in Wuhan preceded the spread in the rest of Hubei Province. (3)
1. The Entry Pathway of the Virus to Wuhan:
The presence of SARS-CoV-2 has not been detected through sampling and testing of bats or of wildlife across China. (4)
More than 80 000 wildlife, livestock and poultry samples were collected from 31 provinces in China and no positive result was identified for SARS-CoV-2 antibody or nucleic acid before and after the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in China. Through extensive testing of animal products in the Huanan market, no evidence of animal infections was found. (5)
Environmental sampling in Huanan market from right at the point of its closing showed out of 923 environmental samples in Huanan market, 73 samples were positive. This revealed widespread contamination of surfaces with SARS-CoV-2, compatible with introduction of the virus through infected people, infected animals or contaminated products. The supply chains to Huanan market included cold-chain products and animal products from 20 countries, including those where samples have been reported as positive for SARS-CoV-2 before the end of 2019 and those where close relatives of SARS-CoV-2 are found. SARS-CoV-2 has been found to persist in conditions found in frozen food, packaging and cold-chain products. Index cases in recent outbreaks in China have been linked to the cold chain; the virus has been found on packages and products from other countries that supply China with cold-chain products, indicating that it can be carried long distances on cold-chain products.
The joint team’s assessment of likelihood of each possible pathway was as follows: direct zoonotic spillover is considered to be a possible-to-likely pathway; introduction through an intermediate host is considered to be a likely to very likely pathway; introduction through cold/ food chain products is considered a possible pathway; introduction through a laboratory incident was considered to be an extremely unlikely pathway. (6)
The 92 cases were followed up in January 2021 and blood for SARS-CoV-2 serology collected from 67 of them (the remainder either having died, refused or were unobtainable). All 67 sera were reported to be SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody negative. No evidence for substantial SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the months preceding the outbreak in December 2019, sporadic transmission or minor clusters of SARS- CoV-2 cannot be ruled out.
No appreciable signals of clusters of fever or severe respiratory disease-requiring hospitalisation were identified in association with mass gatherings during September to December 2019. (7)
The global haplotype network analysis included 348 early SAR-CoV-2 sequences with high quality and clear sampling location information from China and 142 early high-quality sequences published abroad. (8)
The sequence data also showed that some diversity of viruses was already present in the early phase of the pandemic in Wuhan, suggesting unsampled chains of transmission beyond the Huanan market cluster. (9)
Three recent COVID-19 outbreaks in China have been linked to exposure to imported refrigerated or frozen seafood products. An outbreak in Beijing linked to the Xinfadi market was first identified on 11 June 2020 after 56 days without a single known community case of COVID-19 in Beijing. Full genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of publicly available genomes suggests that the virus was from the L lineage European branch 1 with specific mutations characteristic to the market outbreak. However, it is not possible to fully infer the source of contamination from this work yet. In October 2020, an outbreak occurred in Qingdao. The index cases for the cluster were two dock workers from the city’s port with no history of travel or recognized contact with anyone with confirmed COVID- 19; the only epidemiological link which could be established between the cases was exposure to SARS- CoV-2 on the surface of cold-chain packaging. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 viruses were isolated from swabs of the outside surfaces of imported cold-chain packages in Qingdao. Based on these observations, China has launched a programme for systematic screening of packaged frozen imported food. Although re-introduction of a pandemic virus to epidemic-free areas can occur via various transmission routes including imported goods during a pandemic, the similarities between the outbreaks in the Beijing Xinfadi market and Qingdao, leading to the consideration of potential introduction of the virus through frozen products into the Huanan market in late 2019. For research focusing on the origin of SARS-CoV-2, this will need to be aligned with sources of those products.
Some vendors sold more than one product type, leading to differences in the denominators: 16/87 (18.4%) of vendors selling cold-chain products were positive (95% CI: 10.9- 28.1%) while five did not; 13/73 (17.8%) of the vendors selling aquatic products were positive (95% CI: 9.8-28.5); six of the vendors selling seafood products were positive (11%, 6/56: 95% CI: 4-21.9%), eight of the vendors selling poultry were positive (22%, 8/37: 95% CI: 9.8-38.2%), five of the vendors selling livestock were positive (14%, 5/36: 95% CI: 4.7-29.5%), one vendor selling wildlife products was positive (11%, 1/9: 95% CI: 0.3-48.2%) and two vendors who sold vegetables were positive (25%, 2/8: 95% CI: 3.2-65%) (See Figure 1). (10)
According to sales records, in late December 2019, 10 animal stalls sold animals or products from snakes, avian species (chickens, ducks, gooses, pheasants and doves), Sika deer, badgers, rabbits, bamboo rats, porcupines, hedgehogs, salamanders, giant salamanders, bay crocodiles and Siamese crocodiles, among which snakes, salamanders and crocodiles were traded as live animals (Annex F, Table 3). Other products sold were frozen goods or bai tiao (remaining parts of poultry or livestock after removal of hair and viscera). Snakes and salamanders were slaughtered before being sold, but crocodiles were alive when sold. No living or dead animals of foreign origin were identified from the sales records in late December 2019. (11)
Tests on samples of more than 1000 bats from Hubei Province showed that none was positive for viruses related to SARS-CoV-2 (see Annex F, Table 4). (12)
Through tracking and inquiry of these 26 wholesalers, partial information was obtained about 17 upstream wholesalers from nine provinces and cities in China who imported cold-chain products into the Huanan market. Further trace-back showed that in addition to China, there were altogether 20 imported cold-chain product source countries and regions, and 29 kinds of imported cold-chain products. Information, including product name, import custom, source province (domestic) or country (international) and product quantity, was collected. Information about all imported cold-chain products in Wuhan from September to December 2019 was also collected and reviewed, involving a total of 440 kinds of cold-chain products from 37 import source countries or regions (Table 11). Information about the farms supplying the 10 vendors of farmed wild animal products were also collected (Annex F, Table 3).
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, France, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Russian Federation, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Viet Nam. (13)
The proportion of cases in stalls with cold-chain goods (5.6%) is significantly higher than those without cold-chain goods (1.7%), and the relative risk of cases in stalls with cold-chain goods is 3.3 times higher than those without cold-chain goods (relative risk = 3.3, 95% CI:1.2-8.6), and the morbidity rate of vendors of cold-chain products is higher than others (3.3% compared with 1.4%), but there is no statistically significant difference.
Epidemiological analysis showed that the first three cases in Huanan market all had a history of exposure to cold chain.
Analyses show that 60% (44/73) of the positive samples are related to 21 stalls, 19 of which were located in the western part of the Huanan market, and the remaining two stalls were located in the eastern part. 16 stalls were dealing with cold-chain product. (14)
Here, it is important to distinguish between contamination of cold chain products leading to secondary outbreaks in 2020 and the potential for cold chain acting as the entry pathway for the origin of the pandemic in 2019. While there is some evidence for possible reintroduction of SARS-CoV-2 through handling of imported contaminated frozen products in China since the initial pandemic wave, this would be extraordinary in 2019 where the virus was not widely circulating. (15)
2. Declassified information on the Patient Zero:
For those cases where the information was available, 55.4% had a history of recent exposure to a market:28.0% to the Huanan market only, 22.6% to other markets only, and 4.8% to both. 44.6% had no history of market exposure (see Fig. 24 and Annex E4). Cases with market exposure were more evident among the early cases but exposure to other markets occurred in the earliest cases as much as exposure to the Huanan market. The case reported with the earliest onset date (8 December) had no history of exposure to the Huanan market. (16)
Other exposures reported by patients included “dead animals”, which included meat and fish (26.4%), live animals (11.8%), cold-chain products (26.4% - with a greater proportion among clinically diagnosed cases), and travel outside Wuhan (8.9%) including one case with international travel (to Thailand). (17)
Three possible cases with disease onset on 1, 2 and 7 December 2019, respectively, were initially identified as potential cases in the retrospective case search and have been included in some published papers. Clinical review of these three cases by the Chinese expert team led to their exclusion as possible cases on the basis of the clinical features of their illness.
In the case with onset on 1 December, a 62-year-old man with past history of cerebrovascular disease was judged to have had a minor respiratory illness in early December, which responded to antibiotics. He developed a further illness with onset on 26 December 2019, which was later laboratory-confirmed to be COVID-19. This patient had no reported contact to the Huanan market, whereas his wife, who was admitted on 26 December with a COVID-19 compatible illness, reported close contact with the Huanan market. She was also later laboratory-confirmed to have COVID-19. This couple, together with their son, became part of the first recognised family cluster of COVID-19. (18)
On 10 January 2020, the first SARS-CoV-2 genomes were made publicly available on GenBank and Virological.org and on GISAID. To date (6 February 2021), GISAID has recorded a total of 487 487 SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences from 238 countries and regions, as well as the metadata information corresponding to the sequences. The 2019nCoVR database has integrated 2089 non-redundant sequences (by 3 February 2021) from 17 provinces and regions of China (see Fig. 3). Of these, 2028 sequences were collected from human cases (Table 2), 28 sequences were collected from the environment (Table 3), and 33 sequences were from possible animal hosts (pangolin and bat), from pets (cats and dogs) or from animal experiments (mouse and hamster). All these sequences are publicly accessible. (19)