The Seeker- An Indian Man Who Exposed That Corona Virus Leaked From Wuhan Lab
More than a year after the global fight against the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) began, the debate over the virus' origin has picked up steam. When the pathogen first appeared in Wuhan and subsequently spread to other countries, China was accused of hiding the details and thus failing to warn other countries.
"The then president of the United States ( Donald Trump) waged a vocal war against China, accusing it of currency manipulation and stealing intellectual property from the West. He took the opportunity to pillory China, calling the COVID -19 "Wuhan virus."
At the time, anyone in the media who "peddled" the Wuhan lab leak theory was labelled a right-wing nut. The media was dismissive to downright condescending toward those who questioned the natural origin of COVID -19. Many articles were published by media outlets to deflate the "conspiracy theories" and "misinformation" - that was the term used to describe the theory that the virus could have been manufactured in a lab.
In February 2020, a group of virologists drafted a letter published in the Lancet medical journal in which they resolved to "stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories that suggest COVID -19 has no natural origin." Part of that group was Dr Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance, a U.S.-based organization that conducts research and educational program on global health. He was also part of the WHO mission sent to Wuhan, China, which summarily ruled out the lab leak scenario.
A report by Newsweek stated that those responsible for uncovering this evidence were not journalists, spies, or scientists, but a group of amateur web surfers.
The report further stated that a man in his late 20s from India who uses the web name –The Seeker and uses a piece of tribal art from his home region West Bengal for his Twitter logo – was blowing the horn.
In the early 2020s, "The Seeker," a self-taught expert at scouring the backyards of the Web beyond the well-lit sites, looked to research to find clues to go viral. He came across a long Medium post by Canadian longevity entrepreneur Yuri Deigin, in which he talked about RaTG13, a virus that Chinese scientist Shi Zhengli had revealed to the world in a paper published in Nature on February 3.
When The Seeker posted Deigin's theory on Reddit, his account was promptly and permanently banned. However, he, along with the other members of the group, continued to pull on the RaTG13 thread. The group found that the genetic sequence for RaTG13 perfectly matched a small piece of genetic code from a paper written Shi Zhengli years earlier, from a virus WIV found in a bat from Yunnan.
Upon further investigation, the group came across old news and linked RaTG13 to a mine shaft in Mojiang County, in Yunnan Province, where six men shovelling bat guano had developed pneumonia in 2012, killing three of them.
Driven by passionate curiosity, The Seeker then discovered CNKI - a huge Chinese database of academic journals and dissertations. Using Google Translate, he searched the database for Chinese characters for "Mojiang" in combination with many other relevant words.
In May 2020, The Seeker found a 60-page master's thesis written by a student at Kunming Medical University in 2013, titled "The Analysis of 6 Patients with Severe Pneumonia Caused by Unknown Viruses."
The thesis described in exhaustive detail the conditions and step-by-step treatment of the miners who became ill in 2012. The suspected culprit? SARS-like [coronavirus] from the Chinese horseshoe bat or other bats, the thesis said.
The searcher then found a second dissertation by a doctoral student at the Chinese CDC that confirmed the above information. Four of the miners had tested positive for antibodies from a SARS-like infection, and WIV was involved in testing samples from the patients.
Shortly after The Seeker published these theses, China reportedly changed the access controls on CNKI so that no one could conduct a similar search.
This was groundbreaking information, but the media still didn't pick up on it. It did, however, give DRASTIC a boost. The group grew and more and more members joined.
The group also found WIV research plans, which showed that projects were underway in WIV to test the infectivity of novel SARS-like viruses that had been discovered in human cells and in laboratory animals.
By early 2021, DRASTIC had produced so much information that it set up its own website as a repository. The site contains scientific papers, Twitter threads, translations of Chinese documents and links to articles.