Two U.S. experts have penned a damning essay saying that science strongly suggests the novel coronavirus was manufactured inside a Chinese laboratory.
The claim was made by Drs Stephen Quay, CEO of biopharmaceutical company Atossa Therapeutics Inc, and Richard Muller, a physics professor at the University of California Berkeley, in The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.
In the op-ed, the men say their proof lies in genome sequencing, or analyzing the DNA, of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
There are 36 DNA segments – made up of three-letter ‘words’ – that viruses use to make an amino acid known as L-arginine.
L-arginine helps make proteins but is also often used in so-called ‘gain of function’ research, which alters viruses to make them more transmissible and more deadly.
The new virus contains a segment called CGG-CGG, which is considered rare even in experiments in which researchers are trying to manipulate virus.
But even more telling is that this combination has never been found naturally in any other type of coronavirus, including in SARS and MERS, both of which are cousins of the new virus.
‘A virus simply cannot pick up a sequence from another virus if that sequence isn’t present in any other virus,’ Quay and Muller wrote.
‘The CGG-CGG combination has never been found naturally. That means the common method of viruses picking up new skills, called recombination, cannot operate here.’
The essay comes after an explosive study last week claimed that Chinese scientists created COVID-19 in the Wuhan lab, then tried to cover their tracks by reverse-engineering versions of the virus to make it look like it evolved naturally from bats.
SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid, carries all the information needed for it to spread in around 30,000 letters of genetic code, known as RNA. But it is the only coronavirus of its type to carry 12 unique letters that allow its spike protein — which it uses to bind to human cells and infect people — to be activated by a common enzyme called furin, which in turn makes it better at invading neighbouring cells. The top bar shows the section of the 30,000 letters that accounts for the spike protein (purple). The middle purple bar is the spike protein section, with the white line highlighted being the location of the 12 letters: CCUCGGCGGGCA. The bottom bars show how that specific section of the virus differs ever so slightly to RaTG13, the closest known relative of SARS-CoV-2
Dr. Stephen Quay and Richard Muller have penned a damning essay claiming the genome sequencing of COVID-19 strongly suggests that the virus was manufactured inside a Chinese laboratory
COVID-19 has the genome sequencing ‘CGG-CGG’ – one of 36 sequencing patterns. That combination is commonly used by scientists in gain-of-function research, but is otherwise considered extremely ‘rare’. Researchers are pictured inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology in January 2020
In the new essay, Quay and Muller go on to state that those who believe COVID-19 began by being transferred from animals to humans ‘must explain why it happened to pick its least favorite combination: CGG-CGG. Why did it replicate the choice the lab’s gain-of-function researchers would have made?’
The pair conclude: ‘Yes, it could have happened randomly, through mutations. But do you believe that? At the minimum, this fact—that the coronavirus, with all its random possibilities, took the rare and unnatural combination used by human researchers—implies that the leading theory for the origin of the coronavirus must be laboratory escape.’
In recent weeks, many of the world’s top scientists have pushed to determine whether the virus was leaked from the WIV.
The lab leak theory was initially dismissed by many in the media and academic communities.
President Joe Biden last week ordered intelligence agencies to launch a probe into whether COVID was man-made after all.
Circumstantial evidence has long raised questions about the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where researchers were known to be conducting experiments on bat coronavirus strains similar to the one responsible for COVID-19.
China insisted early and often that the virus did not leak from the lab, claiming that crossover to humans must have occurred at a ‘wet market’ in Wuhan that sold live animals.
Perhaps driven by animosity for Donald Trump, who embraced the lab leak theory early on, the mainstream U.S. media and academics heaped scorn on the possibility, calling it an unhinged conspiracy theory.
But new evidence, including reports of three workers at the Wuhan lab who fell seriously ill with COVID-like symptoms in November 2019, has forced a sober reassessment among doubters.
Frustration with China increased this week after Beijing said that it would not participate in any further investigations by the World Health Organization.
Biden rebuked China in his announcement of the new intelligence review, calling on allies to help ‘press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence.’
Meanwhile, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr Scott Gottlieb, has said Fauci told world leaders in the spring of 2020 that the coronavirus may have escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China.
U.S. researchers around that time still were considering whether the virus came from a lab break, and Fauci told the health leaders gathered that the newly identified strain of the coronavirus ‘looked unusual,’ according to Gottlieb.
The disclosure from the former FDA chief comes as an increasing number of mainstream scientists and media figures no longer are parroting the line from the Chinese Communist Party that the virus came from a bat.
Even President Joe Biden has ordered government agencies to investigate the possibility that it might have come from a lab.
Now, Gottlieb says Fauci last year at least considered that COVID-19 could have come from a lab – before closing ranks around the idea that it occurred naturally.
Gottlieb, who served under President Donald Trump, said a former senior member of the Trump administration told him at the time of Fauci’s 2020 talk. Gottlieb said he’d recently reconfirmed with that person that Fauci had given the talk.
‘I think early on, when they looked at the strain, they had suspicions,’ Gottlieb recalled Sunday on CBS Face the Nation, speaking of U.S. scientists. ‘And it takes time to do that analysis, and that dispelled some of those suspicions,’ he added.
And it’s also important, Gottlieb said, to look at the virus beyond a scientific perspective: It also needs to be examined from a national security lens, he said.
‘A scientific mindset looks at the virus and the virus’ behavior and draws a conclusion,’ he said.
‘A national security assessment looks at that and then looks at the behavior of the Chinese government, the behavior of the lab, other evidence around the lab – including the infections we now know took place – and that changes the overall assessment,’ he said.
Although some experts still believe the virus was transmitted from a bat to some other species of animal, then to humans, its origins remain unproven.
It comes after study last week claimed that Chinese scientists created COVID-19.
That paper was authored by Professor Angus Dalgleish, an oncologist at St George’s University, London, and Dr Birger Sørensen, a Norwegian virologist and chair of pharmaceutical company Immunor.
The shocking allegations in the study included accusations of ‘deliberate destruction, concealment or contamination of data’ at Chinese labs, and it noted the silencing and disappearance of scientists in the communist country who spoke out.
The journal article, exclusively obtained by DailyMail.com, is set to make waves among the scientific community, as the majority of experts have until recently staunchly denied the origins of COVID-19 were anything other than a natural infection leaping from animals to humans.
While analyzing COVID-19 samples last year in an attempt to create a vaccine, Dalgleish and Sørensen discovered ‘unique fingerprints’ in the virus that they say could only have arisen from manipulation in a laboratory.
They said they tried to publish their findings but were rejected by major scientific journals which were at the time resolute that the virus jumped naturally from bats or other animals to humans.
Even when former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove spoke out publicly saying the scientists’ theory should be investigated, the idea was dismissed as ‘fake news.’
Ministers fear that the coronavirus pandemic might have been caused by a leak from a Chinese laboratory, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Senior Government sources say that while ‘the balance of scientific advice’ is still that the deadly virus was first transmitted to humans from a live animal market in Wuhan, a leak from a laboratory in the Chinese city is ‘no longer being discounted’.
One member of Cobra, the emergency committee led by Boris Johnson, said last night that while the latest intelligence did not dispute the virus was ‘zoonotic’ – originating in animals – it did not rule out that the virus first spread to humans after leaking from a Wuhan laboratory.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has demanded that China ‘come clean’ following reports that coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory, not as a bioweapon, but as part of bungling experiments to prove that Chinese scientists were superior to Americans in identifying emerging virus threats.
It comes after President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the U.S. is trying to determine whether the coronavirus first crossed to humans accidentally during experiments with bats at the Wuhan Institute of Virology Lab.
After word of the outbreak finally became public, Chinese leaders were quick to blame Wuhan’s ‘wet market’ where wild animals — though not bats — are sold for consumption, leading one source to tell Fox News the debacle is the ‘costliest government coverup of all time.’
Pictures which appear to show slack safety standards at the Chinese laboratory at the centre of international suspicion over Covid-19 have been systematically deleted from its website – as Donald Trump continues to ramp up the pressure on Beijing over its potential role in the outbreak.
During the past month, Wuhan’s Institute of Virology has removed photographs of scientists working in its laboratories and edited out references to visits by US diplomats who subsequently raised the alarm about the laboratory’s work on bats.
US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he had seen intelligence that gave him a ‘high degree of confidence’ that the global crisis had its origins in the institute – a month after The Mail on Sunday first revealed that British Cabinet Ministers had received classified briefings raising the possibility of a leak from the institute.
China has become used to public confessions on television. But this time the words came from one of the nation’s top officials and had seismic global implications.
‘At first, we assumed the seafood market might have the virus, but now the market is more like a victim,’ said Gao Fu, director of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gao’s initial analysis had made sense after previous outbreaks of zoonotic viruses (diseases that jump from animals to humans). Yet suspicion grew over the Chinese government’s failure to share data from animals sampled in the market following its early cover-ups.
Matthew Pottinger, who is President Donald Trump‘s respected Deputy National Security Adviser, told politicians from around the world that even China’s leaders now openly admit their previous claims that the virus originated in a Wuhan market are false.
Mr Pottinger said that the latest intelligence points to the virus leaking from the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology, 11 miles from the market, saying: ‘There is a growing body of evidence that the lab is likely the most credible source of the virus.’
The Chinese government is facing fresh accusations of a cover-up after officials deleted crucial online data about the laboratory suspected of being the source of Covid-19.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that hundreds of pages of information relating to studies carried out by the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology have been wiped.
Details of more than 300 studies, including many investigating diseases that pass from animals to humans, published online by the state-run National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) are no longer available.
Scientists studying bat diseases at China‘s maximum-security laboratory in Wuhan were engaged in a massive project to investigate animal viruses alongside leading military officials – despite their denials of any such links.
Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal that a nationwide scheme, directed by a leading state body, was launched nine years ago to discover new viruses and detect the ‘dark matter’ of biology involved in spreading diseases.
Author: ANDREW COURT FOR DAILYMAIL.COM