The possibility that the epidemic may have begun to escape from the Wuhan Institute of Virology is attracting new attention. President Biden has asked the National Intelligence Community to redouble its investigative efforts.
Much of the public debate has focused on circumstantial evidence: mysterious diseases at the end of 2019; The lab deliberately over-filled the viruses to increase the mortality rate (known as “profit-for-work” research). The Chinese Communist Party has been reluctant to release relevant information. Reports based on US intelligence indicated that the laboratory cooperated on projects with the Chinese military.
However, the most compelling reason to favor the lab escape hypothesis relies heavily on science. In particular, consider the genetic fingerprint of CoV-2, the new coronavirus responsible for Covid-19.
In acquired job research, a microbiologist can dramatically increase the lethality of the coronavirus by attaching a special sequence in its genome to a key site. Doing so will leave no trace of tampering. But it changes the main protein of the virus, making it easier for the virus to inject genetic material into an infected cell. Since 1992, at least 11 separate experiments have been performed adding special sequences to the same site. The end result has always been overloaded with viruses.
A genome is a plant’s plan for producing proteins in a cell. The language consists of a three-letter “word”, a total of 64 words, representing 20 different amino acids. For example, there are six different words for the amino acid arginine, a word often used in supercharged viruses. Each cell has different preferences for the word you want to use the most.
In the event of overfilling with profit from the function, other sequences could have been clipped in the same place. Instead of CGG-CGG (better known as “Double CGG”), which tells the protein factory to produce two amino acids from arginine in a row, you get the same lethal force by combining any of the 35 combinations of two other words. arginine; If the insertion occurs naturally, eg by recombination, one of these 35 additional sequences will likely occur; CGG is rarely used in the class of coronaviruses that can be combined with CoV-2.
In fact, the CGG-CGG complex is not found naturally in the entire class of coronaviruses, which includes CoV-2. This means that the common method of acquiring new virus skills, called recombination, cannot work here. A virus simply cannot pick up a sequence from another virus if that sequence is not present in any other virus.
Although double CGG is naturally prevented, the opposite is true in laboratory work. The selected insertion sequence is a double CGG. The reason is that it is very accessible and has a lot of experience in implementing it. Another advantage of double CGG sequencing compared to the 35 possible options: It creates a useful beacon that allows scientists to track insertions in the lab.
Now the damned truth. This was the exact sequence observed in CoV-2. Proponents of animal origin must explain why the new coronavirus, when mutated or recombined, chose the least preferred group, the CGG diploid group. Why repeat the choice lab scientists would make when getting a job?
Yes, it could have happened by chance, through mutations. But do you believe it? At least this fact – that the coronavirus, with all its random possibilities, has taken over a rare and unusual mixture used by human scientists – means that the main theory for the coronavirus’ origin must be laboratory leakage.
When Shi Jingli and his lab colleagues published a document containing the virus’s partial genome in February 2020, they omitted any mention of the special sequence provided by the virus or the rare double-section of CGG. However, the fingerprint can be easily identified in the data accompanying the paper. Was it removed in the hope that no one would notice this evidence of the function’s origin?
But within weeks, virologists Bruno Cotard and his colleagues were published Their discovery of the sequence in CoV-2 and its busy new site. There is a double CGG; You just have to look. In their contribution, they stated that the protein they retain “could provide the ability to gain function” of the virus for “effective spread” to humans.
There is more scientific evidence pointing to the origin of CoV-2 gain-of-function. Most compelling are the huge differences in the genetic diversity of CoV-2 compared to the coronaviruses responsible for SARS and MERS.
Both are of natural origin; Viruses spread rapidly as they spread between humans until the most infectious forms prevail. Covid-19 didn’t work that way. It has occurred in people already adapted to a highly contagious version. There was no significant viral “improvement” until a slight difference emerged in England a few months later.
Such an early improvement is unprecedented and points to a long period of adjustment that preceded the general expansion. Science knows only one way it can be achieved: mimicking natural evolution, spreading the virus to human cells until optimal levels are reached. This is exactly what happens in a job search. Mice genetically engineered to have the same coronavirus receptors as humans, called “humanized mice,” are frequently exposed to the virus to promote adaptation.
The presence of a double CGG sequence is strong evidence for genetic linkage, and the absence of diversity in the general focus indicates an acceleration of gain-of-function. Scientific evidence indicates that the virus was developed in a laboratory.
Dr. Quay is the founder of Atossa Therapeutics and author of Stay Safe: A Doctor’s Guide to Surviving the Coronavirus. Mr. Mueller is Professor Emeritus of Physics at UC Berkeley and a former Senior Research Fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
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