Hard evidence points that Covid-19 is a Wuhan lab derived virus – Interview with Jorge Casesmeiro Roger

Jorge Casesmeiro Roger (El Imparcial), conducts an interview with Dr. Steven Carl Quay, MD, PhD on his statistical analysis of pandemic origin, a study that concludes “beyond a reasonable doubt” that SARS-CoV-2 is a lab derived virus at 99,8% chance versus a 0,2% probability of being a natural zoonosis.

He would love to be wrong and coincide with the WHO Wuhan Commission on  CoV-2 origin. But too many hard evidence point to the lab theory. It’s Wednesday, February 16 2021, 5:30 pm in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, from where he grants me this interview. Physician, inventor and entrepreneur, Dr. Steven Carl Quay recieved his MD & PhD from the University of Michigan. He was postdoctorate fellow at the MIT Chemistry Department with Nobel Laureate Gobind Khorana, resident at the Harvard-Massachusetts General Hospital, and spent a decade on the faculty of Stanford University School of Medicine. Chairman and CEO of Atossa Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in Seattle, Dr. Quay holds 87 U.S. patents, 7 FDA-approved pharmaceutical inventions and he is also a very prolific and cited author. Coronavirus prevention and treatment is one of his fields of research and his last book,the best selling ‘Stay Safe’, is precisely a kind of coronavirus survival manual.

But our conversation will focus on his amazing outcome about Covid-19 origin. A pandemic that has a 99,8% chance of coming from a laboratory, and only a 0,2% probability of being a natural virus. At least according to the result of his report titled: “A Bayesian analysis concludes beyond a reasonable doubt that SARS-CoV-2 is not a natural zoonosis but instead is laboratory derived”. A full of facts & figures 193 pages statistical study, pre-published last January 29 at Zenodo CERN open repository. A paper on the way of his peer-review that since it’s first upload has an average of 6.000 views and downloads per day and a total view of over ninety-eight thousandNo wonder why. If  proven to be true, this conclusion would change the whole narrative of the pandemic, the role of advanced bioresearch on it, and above all its political regulation to prevent a next catastrophe.

Jorge Casesmeiro Roger


Dr. Steven Quay


JCR. A 99,8% chance for the lab origin doesn’t leave much room to the zoonosis theory. How did your study arrive to such a shocking conclusions? 

DrQ: The starting probability of my report was setted at 98,5% likelihood in favor of the natural-zoonotic origin. A very conservative approach that leaved the laboratory hypothesis just a 1,2% chance. But due to the available evidence, after the math adjusments the results shifted to a 99,8% that SARS-CoV-2 is a laboratory derived virus. This exceeds the parameters for a “beyond a reasonable doubt” conclusion. 

Your report uses a statistical tool called Bayesian analysis.

A direct application of the Bayes Theorem, so a little tribute to the English mathematician Thomas Bayes (1702-1761), a Presbyterian minister who wrote this method of doing analysis. His notes where found when he died so it was published posthumously. 

What is a Bayesian analysis and how does it work?

It’s a very standard model of statistical inference. We all actually do Bayesian analysis in real life. Its basically the way we bet in the World Cup or whatever sport. You have certain ideas of who is going to win at the begining of the season, before the first football is kicked. And then as games get played you adjust that, and that adjusment is your own Bayesian analysis. You are trying to predict who is going to win the Cup and then you go into the final games. That’s the process. 

And that’s how the Covid-19 laboratory theory won the World Cup.  

Yes, you have to think of it in three ways. You start with what is your prior estimate of the likelihood: if nature or laboratory origin. Then you drop evidence in, you turn a little mathematical crank and see if the probabilities change. So by the end of my analysis, after going through 26 different pieces of evidence, the outcome was that Covid-19 has a one in five hundred chance of coming from nature. 

WHO Commission at Wuhan dismised lab origin and discourage this line of research. But still no proof of zoonosis. At this point, are you aware of any data that could change your results?

No, and the beauty of a Bayesian analysis is this: If you bring me a 27th piece of evidence we can drop it in, turn the crank and see what it does. Its like having an extra game in the World Cup. But everything I’ve learned since I wrote my report continues to point in the direction of the laboratory. 

“A random study in all of China for a year in over 62,000 animals found zero virus”. 

Even WHOs General Director had to correct its Wuhan Commission stating: “All hypotheses remain open and require further analysis and study”.

Remarkably, in the three hour interview the WHO group gave they did provide new facts. It’s quite interesting. In China, over 62,000 different potential animals have been tested over the last year for the virus. Individually. Every animal had either blood or tissue taken and the PCR test was done. And at this point of time they have found zero out of 62,000 of any of the intermediate host animal that they predicted. 

A bit discouraging for the zoonosis bet.

Now, why is 0 out of over 62,000 important? Let’s go back to 2003, with SARS-CoV-1. Once they knew within four months that it came from civet cats in a market, 90% of every cat that they tested from that point forward had SARS-CoV-1. And in 2015, when a similar coronavirus broke out in the Middle East, ten months after the first human patient they knew it was from camels and, again, 92% of every camel had the virus. So now we’ve done a random study in all of China for a year in over 62,000 animals and we found zero virus. The probability of that being similar to prior zoonosis its just abnormally low.

You’ve sent your report for peer review to all members of this WHO Wuhan Commission and The Lancet Commission of Cov-2, among others. Have you recieved any objection on the core of your study? 

Yes, I did get some confidential feedback from the individuals on the Commissions, that I’m going to incorporate when I update. But it’s not going to change the statistics very much. One of the criticisms, for example, was that if there is an infinite number of species of coronaviruses and I don’t find a “furin site” in six hundred, is that really meaningful? So it turns out that one member of both Commissions, Dr. Peter Daszak, has actually estimated how many different species of coronaviruses there are in the world: 3.204. So instead of having an infinite number, I can drop 3.204 into my analysis. Which modifies the number by only about 0.5. 

So it doesn’t change the outcome.

But it was a useful observation and it made me rethink things. I mean, there are very clear evidence of coming from a zoonosis that could possibly flip my analysis. But every time someone has provided evidence in those directions it points away from it, from coming from nature. 

Your paper its being lately headed with a very aggressive and accusatory warning: “Potencially Misleading Contents: Substantial peer feedback has been received that this record does not follow the norms of scientific rigour or balance (…)”. Did you contact the platform for an explanation? 

It’s very timely, your comment, because I did ask them: Could you please share with me those criticisms so I can incorporate them into a new version? And about thirty minutes ago I received an email from them. They’ve changed the disclaimer. Now it simply informs that it hasn’t been peer-review.

You are right, the new header goes: “Unverified Contents (…)”. And the line that follows has much more conservative tone.

I really appreciate they changed it. I am willing to debate any of the people, in a public forum, with my data and their data. And let’s just have it out, because again, I would love to be wrong. Life would be a lot easier if I am wrong. It would require a change in the way we do, perhaps, urbanization… There are always outcomes from the understanding of the origin of something. But I believe the outcome here is that we need to relook at Gain-of-Function (GoF) research and decide whether the benefit-cost ratio shows its justified. That’s my long term goal. 

“There are always outcomes from the understanding of the origin of something”.

Will talk about GoF. By the way, a very well known GoF coronavirus researcher, the aforementioned Peter Daszak, president of Ecohealth Alliance, is specially active in spreading that lab origin of the pandemic its just a conspiracy theory. He even tried to discredit lab hypothesis orchestrating at The Lancet an apparent editorial statement against it, in a way that was later revealed as something very similar to a conspiracy. Paradoxically, the starting probabilities of your analysis are based on Daszak’s work, among others.  

Look, I want to get to the truth, but I also want to do it in the most aggressive way I can. So wherever I could, I either used data from Dr. Daszak, who’s widely published, Dr. Shi at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) or Dr. Baric from North Carolina and leading coronavirus US expert.

And from the WHO themselves.

Yes Jorge, that’s right. They were the ones that studied 540 people for what’s called seroconversion. In SARS-CoV-1 and MERS there were blood samples in a refrigerator from people who had an early infection that wasn’t strong enough to become an epidemic. But they showed evidence of having antibodies. That’s called seroconversión. And it was about 1 to 3% in SARS-CoV-1 and MERS that you could find it in stored, refrigerated samples. But with CoV-2, in March 2020 the WHO examined 540 samples from Wuhan and found zero seroconversions. The probability of this is less than one on twenty that it was running around in Wuhan before the epidemic broke out. 

In your analysis there are two pieces of hard evidence that flip abruptly the probability from zoonotic to lab origin. The first one is “Lack of posterior diversity”.

Posterior diversity is the virus version of what I describe for seroconversion. In a zoonosis you have three living forms: an animal host, a human and a virus. And in a natural process it jumps into the human but it doesn’t have all the tools it needs to cause an epidemic. For example, in SARS-CoV-1, the first human case had only 17% of the mutations it needed to become an epidemic, the first time around. But with SARS-CoV-2 it has 99.5% of the best mutations from the very first patient. So the posterior diversity is that process where as it intermediate host jumps to humans, gets mutations but it also jumps back and forth inside the intermediate host. 

Which is what happened with SARS-CoV-1 and MERS.

Yes, in the first six months of the epidemic about every other patient got it from an animal. The intermediate host, either civet cats or the camels, developed those really good mutations to get into humans as well among themselves. So when you look at the virus in humans where the epidemic happens, you can trace the virus back through the mutations. If it traces back a year earlier or two years earlier that’s called posterior diversity. That means that the virus was really jumping into humans from cousins of the virus as opposed to a single primary parent virus.

But in SARS-CoV-2 we don’t see this.

In CoV-2 we have over a hundred million cases and they all trace through one patient: a patient the end of December at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) hospital in Wuhan, about three kilometers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). That patient had what was called Lineage A. Every CoV-2 in the entire world is a descendant of that one. Even the one President Trump got. They all can trace back to that single individual patient. In SARS-CoV-1 you had multiple jumps from animals into humans. In MERS you had multiple jumps from camels into humans. CoV-2 is a one to one. You have one jump into one human from one animal. An animal in a laboratory I believe.

“A hundred million cases and they all trace through one patient in Wuhan”.

Another hard evidence you present is “Lack of furin cleavage sites in any other sarbecovirus”. 

Let me explain that. We all have a key that gets us into our house. It goes into the lock, we turn it, and the door opens. Thats how it works. Coronavirus is the same process. It has a Spike protein which is the key, so that attaches to the cell. But then another event like the turn of the key has to happen before it opens your cells. The virus get’s your own cells to clip the Spike protein, in a particular spot, to sort of release the spring and spring load the RNA into your cells. The enzyme or scissors that we have, that we help the virus with, its called “furin”.  

The furin cleavage site, you say, has been known since 1992.

Yes, and there are at least eleven different laboratories around the world, including the WIV, that have purposely put a furin cleavage site in a Spike protein. They put a particular set of amino acids and the furin enzyme clipper says: Oh, I like that spot. Then they clip it and the virus goes into the cell. And every time that’s been done since 1992 it always increases the infectivity, the transmissibility and the lethality of the virus. So when you see a furin cleavage site in a coronavirus you know it has a great significance. Now, SARS-CoV-2 comes from a subgroup of coronaviruses called the sarvecovirus. But it’s the only one of this subgroup, this subgenera that has a furin site. 

So again.

If we look at between six and nine hundred other Sarbecoviruses, it depends on the numbers you use: zero have a furin cleavage site. All the furin cleavage sites are in distant relatives of this subgenera and the virologists tell me, and they agree, that recombination can’t occur that far apart. Different species we know can have an offspring. In viruses they recombine but only within a certain groups. Covid-2 comes from a group that has no other furin sites. So where did it get it? That’s the first point about the aminoacids, the part the scissors that furin attaches to. I worked at MIT for Gobind Khorana, who discovered the genetic code, which means that all the amino acids that make our enzymes have a code behind them, where each aminoacid has a three letter word. So the furin cleavage site has to have two R genes: RR. There are six different three-letter words for arginine.

The codon code.

Exactly. So the two codons in SARS-CoV-2, the two three letter words for arginine, are the least frequently used codons in all coronaviruses in the entire world: the CGG codon. Coronaviruses hate the CGG codon. And in Covid-2 there is two of them together. I looked at 580.000 codons in other coronaviruses and I didn’t find a single CGG-CGG pair. Not one. So nature doesn’t use those codons. But what happens in the laboratory? Now, when a scientist wants to put an arginine into a genetic code they buy the DNA, the RNA, and they drop it in. And what is their favorite arginine codon? CGG. So the codon that nature never uses, and the codon the laboratory always uses, is the one found in SARS-CoV-2. 

Something similar of what you explain about the genome sequences of the bat coronavirus RaTG13 identified by Dr. Shi and colleagues.

The RaTG13 has the unique sequences necessary to be the precursor of SARS-CoV-2, with two rare restriction sites that fit with a synthetic bio lab technique called “No See’Em”. The chance of these two sites, present and placed at their exact location, as an act of nature, is of  one in a billion. On the other hand, the additional steps needed to créate SARS-CoV-2 from RaTG13 are not clearly identified in the genome and so there are likely additional laboratory viruses involved in the process.

Didn’t Dr. Shi state that none of the gene sequences of Covid-19 checked matched the viruses held by the Wuhan lab? You actually emailed her about it, but she never answered.

I really want to stick with evidence. And I want to act almost like I am in a court of law. You can’t go in a court and say: My neighbour did this. You have to bring the neighbour, he has to swear and then make his statment. So one of the statments that I put in the analysis at the end was that Dr. Shi was very carefully when she said that none of the viruses that she collected in the wild matched SARS-CoV-2. Which I believe its a true statement. But one that is a little bit tricky. Because what you just said its not what she actually said. You said that none of the viruses in the lab matched SARS-CoV-2. But Dr. Shi did not say that. What she said is: None of the viruses collected in the wild matched SARS-CoV-2.  But if she collected a virus in the wold and then manipulated it in the laboratory, her careful statement would be true.

“Making something more infectious to prevent a pandemic is a risky option”.

The most shocking fact, in ethical terms, its the one you name “Oportunity”, which approaches the 2017 disclosed material on GoF coronavirus experiments with genetic manipulation to permit human infection. Several high risk coronavirus experiments have been performed at the Wuhan lab with US public grants, before and during the pandemic. 

Yes, that is true. Gain-of-Function is a kind of research where you genetically manipulate an infectious agent to make it more infectious, more transmissible and more lethal. The academic goal of that is to say: Ok, let me make nature’s worst case virus, and then let me figure out how do I stop it? How do I find a vaccine or a therapeutic against it? Arguably its noble research in some ways. 

But you think there are other ways to get at it.

I can talk about that in great detail. Anyway, the dangerous experiments in 2014 scared everybody and the virology community said: Maybe we shouldn’t publish some of it. There were discussions, hearings and the government placed a moratorium. United States refused to fund GoF research and asked the world community to participate as well. But in May of 2017, after a large report was produced by the end of 2016 by the the National Institute of Health (NIH), the moratorium was lifted. 

The 2014 moratorium came straight from the White House during Obama administration. But who lifted the May 2017 moratorium in Trump times? Do you know if the new President was aware or consented?  

I think in both cases it was the NIH and not specifically the President.. If you have an organizational chart you’ll see President at the top and the NIH down beneath. In 2014 the NIH, probably with concurse of the White House of course, put the moratorium in place. And I think the reversal was done in May of 2017. It was the NIH who announced the release and allowing the funds going back into that space. 

Anyhow, the 2017 lift reactivated US public fund on high risk coronavirus Gain-of-Function experiments with the Wuhan lab.

Making something more infectious for you can get ahead of it and prevent a pandemic is a risky option. And the history of laboratory leaks is really troubling, in the context of making something that is so deadly as a GoF experiment.

Super-viruses that didn’t exist in nature, as far as we know, until we made them.  

I was a little surprised by one of the WHO individuals who said that lab accidents are rare and so I sent him an email. In my Bayesian análisis there is a reference that showed that in Asia there was 0.8 laboratory leaks every year over a 30 year period.

Roughly one a year.

Yes Jorge! Maybe that’s rare for some people, but if every leak is a lethal virus that can lead to an epidemic that’s much to high. These experiments are very sophisticated, and if you are techy they are really cool. But I think there are other sophisticated ways of doing GoF with vectors and things that cannot reproduce. The key thing of GoF is you take something that can reproduce and spread around the world and you add new tools to it, new weapons to it. But there are psudoviruses. HIV if you can believe that. There is a model system that you can use in a high school laboratory because it has only a couple of the elements of HIV, and you can packed it with whaever you want and it cannot possibly infect anybody. So you could use that. But you could also do a little GoF on something that you know it couldn’t replicate. Not as much fun as the Full Monty, but much safer. 

It’s a fascinating debate for public opinion and the scientific community. What media and academic institutions have spread your report?

I have assisted some major organizations. I can’t get into their names for confidentiality reasons. But my analysis is being used by some very large organizations. There is a process I want to go through. The problem is no journal that I am aware will publish a 193 pages manuscript. I have published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers so I know how this works. But its important to have this peer-reviewed and I’m in the process of getting that done. So I’m writing a distilled version and hope to get it up in the next three to four weeks. 

Your Company, Atossa Therapeutics, has a line of research on coronavirus prevention and treatment, but how did you become interested in Covid origin?

I’m a bit of a nerd. I’m always looking at scientific papers on the weekends and  that sort of thing. So obviously last January, when the coronavirus hit, I started to study it. And it turns out that the “furin cleavage site” it contains is something that I was researching when I was a young, thirty-year-old in the Faculty of Stanford University. 

“The last thing we need is to have science politicized”

Connecting the dots. 

Yes, the active component of the bee venom, the melitin, that causes all the pain when you get stung by a bee, its basically a furin cleavage site in a small peptide. And  for about five years I was sort of the world’s expert on bee venom. So as soon as I saw the furin site in January I said: I know what that’s going to do to cells and maybe I can get a therapeutic to prevent it. So I went to the board of the Company and got permission to develop two therapeutics, one of which is in the clinic now and moving their way to approval at some point of time. Treatments for either preventing the virus to get into the cells, or preventing it from getting into the lungs in a nebulized form. That’s how I’ve started. And now we have two drugs in development.

But what led you specifically to the origin of the pandemic? 

I guess when I saw the aforementioned Lancet statement. These twenty-seven authors were saying, with no science, that the lab hypothesis was just a conspiracy theory. And I said: But, what’s the evidence for that? Because when I looked for references there was no evidence. So I was bothered. Because if you are a scientist you want science to be respected, for the truth, and the last thing we need is to have one more thing politized, science. 

I was shocked when I read the disclosed emails that revealed the manouver. What it seemd an official statment from The Lancet resulted to be a plot of Daszak Ecohealth Alliance, a group that has recieved millions of US taxes to fund for years GoF experiments at the Wuhan lab, with Dr. Shi. And now Daszak has been appointed for the WHO to clear out if this pandemic comes from a lab leak at Wuhan? I can’t imagine a bigger conflict of interest. And to clarify the virus origin seems a truly relevant outcome. Because as you point out in your report, it is central to know how to prevent a next one. 

It absolutely is. And I am really hopeful that truth will prevail and that we’ll end up with some discussion around what elements of Gain-of-Function we can do to help prevent further pandemics. But to stop the current process from continuing. I mean, Chemistry was used in World War I with chemical warfare, and then it was banned. Then Physics was used in World War II with nuclear bombs… Now it seems to be Biology’s turn to show its darks arts. 

But you don’t think this virus was released as a part of a bioweapons program.

I do not. I belive it was an accidental release or a scientist with a laboratory-acquired infection. Of course, in my paper I urge the world to gather further data to support or refute the bioweapon probability. But the report only concludes that SARS-Cov-2 is a lab-made derived virus and that the Wuhan Institute of Virology is the laboratory where it was created.

And how do we tame the horse?

First recognize that the horse has left its stall, has left the barn, and is running free. So it will be hard but not imposible to catch it and put it back in the barn. Part of the process is to control the supply chain of how you make these things. So if this was a biological GoF process some steps could be taken. The tools for doing GoF can be bought from certain companies that make them. You could perhaps do everything from scratch, but it gets really hard. Like when we say: Well, we let people dig uranium ore and then they can purify it. But with uranium you don’t worry about that. You worry about the pure uranium and following its custody. 

“I believe it was an accidental release or a laboratory acquired infection”.

So there are things that are currently done in Chemistry and Physics that we could bring to bear in Biology.

If we really wanted this. And we should want it. One of the most striking papers I read in last February or March, was from a group of about thirty young scientists from Switzerland. What they basically had done was to take some sourdough bread yeast, bought a some chemicals from a laboratory, and in a week they were able to get yeast to make coronavirus out of these chemicals off the shelve. They were true scientists, so they were really excited and proud about what they did.

When I was a kid they called that: Playing with fire.

Exactly. So when I look at that paper and see its been downloaded 60.000 times I wonder: Are there sixty thousand laboratories in the world interested in this or maybe there are people learning how to do it who have dangerous intentions like, you know: Would you like some coronavirus in your sourdough bread? Not a good picture. 

Definitely not something to model. Where you connected to the scientific ethical Cambridge Working Group formed at Harvard University in July 2014 for enhance public understanding of biosafty risks regarding Potencial Pandemic Pathogen (PPP) resarch? Very impressive panel of scholars. But it seems that the Group stopped its activity on January 2016. Although members like professor Richard Ebright, from Rutgers University still very active on the subject. 

I wasn’t involve in that. Though I have written to Richard a coupled of times and we had a nice exchange regarding the science I’m doing. But I believe they lost the debate. It kind of went by the wayside. 

Going back to your fields of research on coronavirus prevention and treatment. You have two lines: a nasal spray and something about ventilators.

Yes, a spray and ventilators are both in different ends of the spectrum. The nasal spray contains three inhibitors of the host of the furin… To simplify. We have three enzymes: Furin, ACE-2 and TMPRSS-2. These are the three diffferent scissors that can cut the Spike protein of the virus. Coronavirus doesn’t want to miss his chance to get into a cell, and has three different enzymes that can do the job. So I have put an inhibitor on all three of those enzymes in a nasal spray. 

Make sense.

The coronavirus gets a new mutation once every two weeks. The virus goes into every patient and goes out of that patient with a new mutation. But the enzymes on the surface of our cells don’t change over a lifetime. So the purpose of these inhibitors is to slow down the infection if you can use it early on, like within a 24-48 hours in a PCR positive case. But also maybe more important, to give it to the other adults in your home. That product has finished a Phase One study. We are wrapping up the data, then going to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for a study again in early patients, or reduce their symptoms, and to prevent in patients who where exposed in a household. 

Very interesting. And the ventilators?

Go to the other spectrum of patients. You are in the hospital, having trouble breathing and they put you in a ventilator. We know that, even now, being on a ventilator with Covid is a very dangerous situation. So what we do is to nebulize inhibitors that block the Spike protein. 

It’s similar to the spray.

But here we are not working on the enzymes of the cell, we are actually trying to make what I call a chemical vaccine. Basically it wraps around the Spike protein and the furin site. Something I learned teaching at Stanford back in 80’s. Its a product I’m pretty excited about. Because if you are on a ventilator you have a large chance of never coming off and passing away. So I think they are both important products. With vaccines they will become less important, but still valuable. Influenza its been around for three decades and we still spend a billion dollars a year on pharmaceuticals for treating patients with influenza. So we are going to end up with a belt and suspenders approach on this. I’m quite sure.  

“I don’t think lockdowns are a good idea”.

Good news. All public discourse has been focused on the vaccine since the first moment, and I’ve missed more energy on products for prevention and treatments. By the way, regarding other kind of prevention measures, some of them proven very aggressive: what’s your view on social distance, public masking and lockdowns?

Look, it’s really easy to criticize people in retrospect, so I want to be really careful. Having said that, we knew from a study of 80,000 people in China in February 2020, and I posted on my website, that this virus had a huge impact on mortality-morbidity based almost totally on age, on the elderly. And that fact hasn’t changed in a year. So I guess that if  I’ve been an advisor in the Spring of 2020 and they asked me I would have said: Well, let’s use this data and see the world that we live in. We have children, we have schools, we have young teachers… Maybe forty or thirty and under is the teacher population. And schools don’t seem to be a place where the virus is either very deadly or passes very easily. Last year we’ve still lost more people under 18 years old from influenza than from SARS-CoV-2. 

And what do we do with the rest of us?.

I think we should do things for people of 60 and older who don’t want to go to work and prefer to do it from home. We need laws in place so they don’t get fired or discriminated and get hurt economically. But people in between we should let them do their own thing. 

Mandatory masking.

There have  been so many studies on masks. They probably have a small incremental benefit and they definitivey have no detrimental factor. I have a lot of friends that are anti-maskers. They made me go into all the literature, but there is no evidence that masks have any detrimental factor I can find. Maybe you get the mask infected and you get an infecton from it, but still not very solid. Its a non-risk some-benefit proposition. So just wear the mask.

Ok, but maybe we can lift lockdowns in exchange.

In another study from China, where they tracked 200 cases, they found 2 from outdoors and all the rest, 198, from indoors. So this idea of getting the people out into nature taking walks in the woods or in the street is a really good idea. Actually the more you lock people into small spaces you probable enhance the infection. Because we know that 80% of the infection cases are passed within the household. And I think some of the cultures that have a common three generation household, perhaps in Italy and others, may have been one of the contributing factors to some of their consequences of the pandemic.  

Very solid argument.

I don’t think lockdowns are a good idea. 

“I don’t understand how we ended up destroying the world economy for a year”.

Last question, Dr. Quay, but allow me preceded by a reflection. In the coronavirus page of your website there a text challenging to put the Covid  pandemic in a long historical perspective. You remember how Black Death, in the mid-14th Century, wiped out 30 to 50% of European population, which took two centuries for demographic recovery. This would be, as you estimate, like having 3 billion deaths from coronavirus. More closely, in 1918, another pandemic wiped out 52 million people in one year, then 2% of the world population. The badly named Spanish Flu.

Named like that, by the way, not because it was from Spain, but because the Spanish press was the only one that was free to report about it, while all of the other countries locked down their newspapers.

Thank you for that, Dr.

Just the truth.

So following the thread we have an example of a 3 billion and 52 million pandemic fatalities. Morover, if we take the Event 201, the coronavirus pandemic simulacrum that the John Hopkins CHS hosted in New York with the WEF and the Gates Foundation in October 2019, just before the Covid hit: They stablished an scenario of 62 million world deaths in one year. Again around 2% of the global population. So when you look at the figures of the current pandemic its hard not to compare. We’ve lost 2 million people in one year, because of Covid-19. Its a lot of people, its a tragedy and we must take it seriously, especially for the safety of our most elderly. But is this a reason to shutdown the social life of every nation and the hole world economy?

I think you are absolutely right there. If you look at the average mortality rates during the pandemic they are not changing much with the ones before 2019 or 2018. People are dying at about the same age. They are just dying of Covid and not of something else. So it’s really skewed towards the elderly. We should have done a better job with them. And we should have done a better job with the youngsters. But I kind of letting this out and I am not about of a politician. I don’t understand how we ended up doing what we did, which is basically kind of destroying the world economy for a year, in a process never seen before. It was a global experiment that has never been done before in public health. And in retrospective it didn’t turn up very well. 

Thank you for your time, Dr. Quay. I suppose you are following Covid origin breaking news very close, and that you are going to update your work and to keep on researching on the topic.

Its been a pleasure. I absolutely will be updating  all of this things that I found and that I want to be sure on before I release information. So Stay tuned as they say. 

 The Spanish translation of this interview is published in El Imparcial, 24 Feb 2021, Madrid digital newspaper. I wish to pay my special regards to Dr. Steven C. Quay, MD, PhD, for his correction on my original english manuscript. 


Dr. Steven Quay on Newsmax TV

Steven talks with Newsmax TV about new Covid-19 variants, and the new single dose Pfizer vaccine updates.

For more information about Newsmax click here.


Dr. Quay featured on The Cultivate Wellness Podcast

Steven joins the team at The Cultivate Wellness Podcast to discuss the latest science on COVID 19, from vaccines, masks, new strains, and so much more.


Creating New Earth – The Future of Property

Join Dr. Quay as he provides a conversation and presentation with CAPR.


FOX NEWS: Doctor suggests salt to help fight COVID-19

Now that we’re all wearing masks, what if you could enhance it to protect yourself even more from germs? We talked to a doctor who believes a simple, salty solution could make a big difference.



FOX NEWS: Your COVID-19 manual: a doctor’s advice on how to treat at home

HOUSTON – A doctor wrote a book called the COVID-19 Survival Manual, hoping to help people treat themselves at home and stay out of the hospital, all while his company is trying to develop a nasal spray to help treat it.  

Dr. Steven Quay, President and CEO of Atossa Therapeutics, wants us to understand what he calls three phases of COVID-19. He says the first two phases can usually be treated at home, but the third means a trip to the hospital. The goal is to treat the first two phases at home to prevent your body from slipping into the third phase.


What’s more dangerous than Coronavirus? The Great British singing group, the Bee Gees, Have the Answer

There is a lot of talk about COVID-19 and mortality and it has important implications for our policy decisions. I devote an entire section in my book, COVID-19 Survival Manual, to the topic with a chapter entitled, Understanding Risk: The Actuary’s Perspective. You can get the book at the link above.

From the beginning of 2020 when the pandemic began to roll across the continents a major focus was the death rate for COVID-19: Who dies from it? What is the risk of dying? How does it compare to other diseases, especially influenza which we have some familiarity with?

But all of these discussions were being had, and are still being had, in a vacuum; the not well understood background that death is an ever present aspect of, as the Bee Gees said so energetically in their Billboard Number One song of 1977, Stayin’ Alive.

The following Table explains what I am trying to illustrate.


This is the data for annual death rates by age for COVID-19 (left column), Influenza (center column), and what is called by the Actuaries, All-Cause Mortality (right column). That third column is, death for any reason for a particular age group. All of these data are annual deaths per 100,000 people of the particular age group or gender (the All-Cause data is separated by gender to show how much harder it is for a guy to stay alive for a year compared to a women).

What jumps out at you, I hope, is how dangerous just living for 365 days in a row is, especially with each passing year, when you compare it to COVID-19 or Influenza.

By age 55, for example, over 1% of men are dying every year. This jumps to one person in seven by age 85. But at no age does the death rate for COVID-19 make much of a dent in the ‘background’ frequency of death.

Why do we so blithely accept the ever present hand of death, as shown in column three, and go about our life with such care-free freedom and yet get ourselves wrapped up in knots of anxiety over the COVID-19 death rate? And by the way, since the Chinese CDC published an article on February 10, 2020 of over 70,000 COVID-19 patients in China with nearly identical data on age dependent death rate, we have known how this was going to impact the US and our healthcare system.

Looking at the rows, an approximation that you can make is that for most age groups, COVID-19 increases the overall death rate by about 2%. This is certainly a real and significant number but in the scheme of things it is not the worst pandemic to beset mankind in recorded history.

So if you look at this data and wonder why you were scared before you understood this and the context of it, you can blame the academic, media, and government elites for not being clear and explaining what COVID-19 was and as importantly what it was not.

In fact, you can learn why COVID-19 is only the 15th worst pandemic in history in a chapter of my book  COVID-19 Survival Manual.

More importantly, you can also learn practical tips to lower your own personal risk of getting COVID-19, fighting it if you get it, and Stayin’ Alive if it puts you in the hospital.



FOX NEWS: Company developing nasal spray to treat Coronavirus

The race continues to find a successful treatment to help fight COVID-19.



The ‘Laboratory of Democracy’ has spoken: States without stay at home orders and should Coronavirus be renamed the “Acela Virus”

In 1932 the famous US Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis, wanted to highlight one of the amazingly important, but often overlooked, aspects of the governmental structure of the United States: the tripartite separation of “rights and power” between the People, who start with all the rights and all the power according to the Preamble of the Constitution, and the Federal Government, which is only supposed to be granted the power that is written down, enumerated, in the Constitution, and the States, which is the default place for powers not specifically granted to the Feds on the one hand and specifically granted by the People through their state legislative bodies.

What did Judge Brandeis say?

Source: Library of Congress

“A single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.

What does this have to do with COVID-19 you ask?

The experiment of NOT sheltering-in-place and shutting down businesses.

It turns out that seven states did not shut down businesses for the COVID-19 pandemic while 43 states did. [To be clear however, schools were shut down in 49 of 50 states. This despite the known facts that COVID-19 in children is either mild or asymptomatic and deaths are much lower than for influenza.]

So in seven states, lives were disrupted because childcare instead of school was a new necessity for people with children to deal with but nothing else changed. No businesses were closed, no restaurants shuttered, churches were unaffected, etc. If political science was a science it would frame this situation as a hypothesis; to wit:

Based on our understanding of COVID-19 infectivity, we hypothesize that the states that did not restrict its citizen’s movements would have either a higher rate of infection (cases per week or month) or a higher number of infections (total cases cumulatively) or both.

The Figure below is taken from the excellent COVID-19 website maintained by Johns Hopkins which can be found here: Daily cases per 100,000 citizens from Jan 1 to Jun 9

For orientation what you are looking at are the individual states with their two letter abbreviation, a squiggly line for the three day moving average number of cases per 100,000 population and a color code of green, where cases are going down and red where cases are going up. I am purposely not going down into the weeds in each state because we are looking for BIG signals which should be visible at this level of looking at all the states as a group. For now, please ignore all those states in the big blue box.

The seven states with the red boxes around them are the seven states that did not lock their citizens at home. What jumps out at you about these seven states when you compare them to the other states is…nothing! What I mean is that they look pretty interchangeable with the states that completely shut down. Nebraska seems to have the biggest cumulative cases but it looks a lot like Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan in total area under the curve. As you are well aware, those states really restricted their citizens.

So based on this data, you would have to conclude that your hypothesis is proven to be wrong.

Could the lack of cases in these states be due to factors like population density, lack of large public transportation systems (see below), or any one of a number of other factors. Sure, and if I was in a university we could sit around and have lively facility lounge debates on this for months. But if you are making public policy decisions that are weighing shutting down a state’s economy for months you should be absolutely sure of your facts because your actions effect millions of lives and livelihoods. This was a colossal mistake.

Should SARS-CoV-2 be renamed the ‘Acela Virus?’

Now let’s focus on the blue box. When I was studying this chart without the blue box which I put there I was puzzled about some of the state results. For example: New York and California have very similar demographics, big cities, etc. yet their COVID-19 cases on a population basis could not be different. One obvious difference is that Californians get around in their cars while New Yorkers us a lot of public transportation.

But other unexpected states jumped out. For example, what’s with Rhode Island seeming to be almost as bad as New Jersey? I love Rhode Island but it doesn’t have the ‘feel’ of New York or New Jersey for me, at least. And Delaware, the same question comes up.

And then it hit me, what is the Acela Train Route and which states does it go through?

Source: Acela Route

Suddenly this corner of high COVID-19 incidence states made complete sense.

To help you see what I mean I have put a box around the states that the Acela train goes through (it includes Washington, DC). With this as an organizing principle it all comes together. This daily train service from Boston to Baltimore carried about 9600 passengers per day in 2016.1 If COVID-19 was in the US in January2 as some at the CDC think or even the end of December, as I published with a distinguished UCLA statistician before the CDC report in a blog,3 it would have been spreading for about two months until the Acela was closed, initially between New York and Washington on March 7th, and finally completely closed on March 23rd. That is close to 600,000 people in close contact inside a train for the first two months of COVID-19 spread in the US. I did go deep into each state and the peak you see is about 10 to 14 days after the Acela was closed.

Final thought. I know the virus doesn’t have a brain but if it did, and if its mission was to hit hardest all of the people in government, the media, and key academic centers that make decisions that affect the entire country, the entire United States, the Acela train would be the exact place it would want to go.

Suddenly what might look like an over-reaction (from the middle of the country) by the Federal government, the media, and even our academic centers looks more like a very human response to everyone having their riding buddy or friend, the folks they go back and forth with daily, getting COVID-19 or knowing someone with the virus.

If that was happening to you and when you got to the office you were pulling the levers of power all day…well you see where this ends up. Please start a new trend in social media by sending this blog to your friends with the hashtag #AcelaVirus


[2] CDC Report 05 Jun 2020

[3] Dr. Quay blog 29 May 2020


Do the ongoing public assemblies and protests inform the Coronavirus shelter-in-place/social distancing policies?

As I write this on June 8th in Taiwan it has been 13 days since the events in Minnesota led to daily nation- and world-wide protests and assembly in the streets. Videos of the public events show that, for the most part, facial masks are not being worn and certainly six-foot social distancing is being ignored.

Since COVID-19 has an average time from exposure to symptoms of five days that means that any exposure during these protests of hundreds in the streets from June 3rd or before should be showing up in the daily case rates. It also means that the remarkable, highly specific property of the SARS-CoV-2 to infect the cells that give us taste and smell and that lead people to go online and do searches for “can’t taste or can’t smell” can be an indicator of new cases, even for people that don’t go to the doctor. 

In fact, I used this unusual taste/smell change by SARS-CoV-2 to determine when it first came to America.

A week ago I published a manuscript with an esteemed statistics professor from UCLA that showed that COVID-19 probably was in America in late 2019 and was killing people, at least in California, in early January. You can read the article here. What this means is that many, many of us have been exposed to this virus and either had no symptoms or only mild symptoms. The implications of this are immense: in calculating the death rate from SARS-CoV-2 the top number in the fraction (the numerator) is the number of deaths, which we know pretty accurately. The denominator can be the harder number to come by, the total number of cases, especially if you miss the asymptomatic cases or miss the January and early community cases where people got a little sick and wrote it off to the seasonal influenza. This of course segues to the probably mistaken decision to close a country for a virus that might be no more deadly than the typical influenza.

But back to the topic of the potential flare-up from breaking the shelter-in-place and social distancing rules.

So what is happening in the US nation-wide right now? First, let’s look at the folks who don’t go to the doctor maybe but still have the loss of taste/smell symptom, meaning they are infected. 

Above is the trend of Google searches1 for ‘can’t taste’ nationwide over the last 90 days. It peaked 23-25 March and has been steadily declining ever since. The slope of the line from before and after the events in Minnesota is unchanged. This suggests there is no spike or trend in new cases. So this provides no evidence that breaking the rules has caused a spike and suggests we can end the policies.

But what about people who actually show up in a clinical or hospital and get tallied into the official state or CDC database? 

Below is a table of the states that are willing to share their data2 with the trend in new cases and deaths. Note: it usually takes longer than 14 days to die from COVID-19 so the trend in deaths has nothing to do with the recent spontaneous breaking of the ‘public health rules’ about COVID-19. I include it for its informational content value.

If your state is not on this list it is because they are not sharing their data on COVID-19 with the CDC or WHO. You should contact them and ask that they do so.

First the really good news. Deaths from COVID-19 are down everywhere except Louisiana, where they are flat. Again, this has no current relationship to the public assemblies going on but it is just a bit of good news for a change.

With respect to new cases, California, Florida, and Washington are seeing the caseload grow. It is a linear and not exponential growth like at the beginning but it is growing just the same. It does contradict the data I analyzed last week on cases decreasing as the temperature goes up; both California and Florida can be our warmest states so it looks like summer heat will not stop this villain.

So let’s look at California. The way to do this is to look at a smoothed moving average of the new cases before and after May 25th and look for an upward change in the slope. 

Above are the daily cases and the blue line is the moving slope. For California (on the left) there is no upward change in slope of cases after May 25 and in fact there is a slight downward slope at the end. So no signal in California related to protests. Texas shows the opposite effect: a downward slope going into the time of the protests that is broken and now trending upward. It also has a one day drop but we should still assume there is a positive relationship here between the protests and the cases.  This would support a hypothesis that the protests are increasing the cases of COVID-19 in Texas. But remember correlation (two things happening at the same time) is not the same as causation. 

Washington State has the same kind of trend line as Texas with a change in slope around the time the protests began. So again, this is probably an example of the impact of stopping the COVID-19 policies: a measurable change if you look really hard at the data but certainly not something to continue to stop an economy for.

Conclusion. The nationwide protests has provided a useful experiment in whether it is time to end the shelter-in-place and social distancing policies of the last few months. The answer is that there is no evidence of an exponential growth in cases, any growth that is seen is minor, and so the policies should be ended.

Is there a recommendation for further COVID-19 policies after shelter-in-place is over? Yes, I recommend what I call the Taiwan policies. Remember, Taiwan has only seven COVID-19 deaths and about 1% of the cases per million population of anywhere else in the world. 

Here is what is happening in Taiwan right now:

  1. When you are outside there are no real restrictions or requirements. If you are of an age or have a medical condition to increase your risk, you will chose to wear a personal mask to protect yourself.
  2. At the threshold of every building you must have your temperature taken with a non-contact thermometer and you will not be allowed to enter if you have a fever.
  3. A small motion-detecting isopropyl alcohol dispenser is also at most entrances and you can uses in both coming and going. Again, customers indoors self-select to wear masks or not. It appears that masks might have become the new fashion accessary as the coordination of mask, scarf, purse, shoes, and jewelry are being seen, especially among the young. 
  4. In all commercial buildings, government buildings, etc. all employees where cloth masks at all times.

 1 Google Trends for COVID-19 symptoms