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A new study has claimed that the coronavirus was 'created' in a Wuhan lab. Amid calls for a fresh investigation to find out the origins of COVID-19, also known as Novel Coronavirus, nCov or SARS-CoV-2, the shocking claims from the study also mentioned that the Wuhan scientists 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 Virus Has No Credible Natural Ancestor
Initially reported by the Daily Mail on Sunday, the research paper is authored by British professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Dr Birger Sorensen. The following are the primary findings from the study:
- The Wuhan scientists took a natural coronavirus 'backbone' found in Chinese cave bats and spliced a new 'spike' onto it.
- This spike is said to have made the SARS-CoV-2 into the deadly and highly transmissible COVID-19 .
- Although raised a controversial claim, the researchers are standing strong on their findings as they found unique fingerprints in COVID-19 samples that could only have arisen from manipulation in a laboratory .
- The study also alleged deliberate destruction, concealment or contamination of data at the labs.
- They also shed light on the silencing and disappearance of scientists in China who spoke out about these activities .
- It is believed that the virus escaped from lower security areas of the institute where the Gain of Function research was performed.
- There have been reports of lab leaks from Wuhan before.
- The coronavirus is worked on in Biosafety Level 2 or 3 labs, and the possibility of Gain of Function with this is a recipe for the uncontrollable outbreak of the virus.
The Study Findings Were Ignored Last Year
According to DailyMail.com, the study authors Dalgleish and Sorensen wrote in their paper that they had prima facie evidence of retro-engineering in China' for a year but were ignored by academics and major journals .
The paper is set to be published in the scientific journal Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery, and the 22-page paper covers how Chinese scientists, some working with American universities, allegedly built the tools to create the coronavirus.
They stressed about a Gain of Function projects, which had been outlawed by former US President Barack Obama . This project involves tweaking natural viruses to make them more infectious.
"The implication of our historical reconstruction, we posit now beyond a reasonable doubt, of the purposively manipulated chimeric virus SARS-CoV-2 makes it imperative to reconsider what types of Gain of Function experiments it is morally acceptable to undertake," they added.
What Is Gain Of Function Research?
Gain of function research (GoFR) refers to any field of medical research which alters an organism or disease (microorganisms) to increase their transmissibility, virulence, immunogenicity, and host range by applying selective pressure to a culture.
The aim of the research is to understand the way in which a pathogen adapts to environmental pressures, allowing disease control measures to be better planned and potential vaccines and therapies to be explored .
Gain of function studies are most usually applied in virology and have revealed many details regarding the biological mechanisms behind virus transmission and replication.
How Are Viruses Made To Be More Infectious?
As reported by DailyMail.com, the researchers said that four amino acids on the spike have a positive charge, which causes the virus to tightly cling to the negatively charged parts of a human, becoming more infectious.
These positively charged amino acids tend to repeal each other, so it rare to find even three in a row in naturally occurring organisms, while four in a row is extremely unlikely. And this raised a cause for concern because "the laws of physics mean that you cannot have four positively charged amino acids in a row. The only way you can get this is if you artificially manufacture it" .
Previously, other studies on the SARS-CoV-2 virus had mentioned that a mutation would have made the virus more contagious .
What Raised The Need For Finding The Exact Origin Of COVID-19?
There were other claims that after the pandemic began, Chinese scientists took samples of the COVID-19 virus and retro-engineered it, making it appear as if it had evolved naturally - citing malpractice to misguide the public understanding of the pandemic.
The researchers further added, "We think that there have been retro-engineered viruses created. They've changed the virus, then tried to make out it was in a sequence years ago" . Another adding point that pushed the researchers to carry out the study was that Chinese scientists who wished to share their knowledge have not been able to do so or have disappeared .
Other Studies Had Mentioned Possibilities Of COVID-19 Being Man-Made
In February 2020, Botao Xiao, a molecular biomechanics researcher at South China University of Technology, published a paper claiming that the novel coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, where the scientist stressed the safety issues at the institute. However, that paper was withdrawn weeks later after Chinese authorities denied any accidents at the lab .
Leading academics, politicians and the media have now begun to contemplate the possibility that Covid-19 escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China. China state media rejected the idea that COVID-19 originated there and said it is "a conspiracy created by US intelligence agencies".
An article published in the Wall Street Journal had revealed that three researchers at Wuhan Institute fell ill in November 2019 and had to be hospitalised, a month before China reported the first case of COVID-19 .
Former New York Times science journalist Nicholas Wade published an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists where he argues that evidence is stronger than the virus leaked from a lab than that it occurred naturally .
Prior to these, The Weekend Australian, an Australian newspaper, revealed that Chinese scientists were thinking about bioweapons, visualising a World War-III scenario, and citeda Chinese government document that discussed the weaponisation of SARS coronavirus .
On A Final Note…
The shocking claims come nearly a year and a half since COVID-19 was detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan. China state media rejected the idea that COVID-19 had originated there and claimed it to be a US conspiracy.