In an explosive Wall Street Journal op-ed, COVID-19 might be a result of a Wuhan lab leak. Authors Steven Quay and Richard Muller wrote that while previous discussions focused on circumstantial evidence, the scientific evidence is supporting a theory that the virus escaped from a lab.
Wuhan Lab Leak
As a result, a fresh debate is emerging on the origins of coronavirus. It came to the point that President Joe Biden asked US intelligence to investigate the possibility of a Wuhan lab leak.
Earlier debate on the virus origins centered on circumstantial evidence at best. A mysterious illness detected in 2019. In addition, the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s work on “gain of function” research.
This includes intentional supercharging viruses to increase lethality. In addition, the Chinese Communist Party remained secretive over details during the earliest days of the Wuhan outbreak.
Finally, US intelligence reports suggest that the WIV collaborated with the Chinese military on certain projects. However, Quay and Muller point out that the scientific evidence found in the genetic fingerprint of CoV-2 (novel coronavirus) shows some damning evidence.
Gain of Function Research
In gain-of-function research, a microbiologist increases a coronavirus’ lethalness through gene splicing. The process does not leave a trace of manipulation but alters the virus spike protein.
This means the virus can now inject genetic materials into victim cells easier. Since 1992, 11 experiments documented adding a special sequence to the virus at the exact same point. The end results always resulted in a supercharged virus.
When the Wuhan lab’s scientists published a paper in February 2020 detailing the virus’s genome, the report did not mention the sequence that supercharges the virus.
Despite the omission, the fingerprint for the sequence shows the gain of function. When virologists Bruno Coutard and colleagues published their discovery of the sequence in CoV-2, they noted the novel supercharged site.
The comment in the paper notes that the protein that held it “may provide a gain-of-function” capability to the virus that makes “for efficient spreading” to humans.
Additionally, the dramatic difference in the genetic diversity of CoV-2 versus SARS and MERS viruses shows further proof. Both SARS and MERS confirmed their natural origin, and both viruses evolved rapidly as they spread through the human population.
This occurred until the most contagious forms dominated. For COVID-19, it worked another way. Humans seemed to catch an extremely contagious version immediately from the onset. Scientists did not detect any serious viral evolutions until the discovery of the UK variant many months later.
Early optimized versions of the virus are unprecedented in nature. In fact, it suggests that a long period of adaptation happened before the public caught the virus.
However, only one way is possible to achieve that long adaptation. This is through simulated natural evolution, or artificially growing the virus on human cells until they become efficient at spreading. The gain of research methods precisely performs that function.
Watch Axios On HBO as Secretary of State Antony Blinken talking about the Covid-19 Lab-Leak Theory:
Do you agree that the coronavirus is more likely a Wuhan lab leak rather than a natural occurrence? Why is there secrecy behind the early days of the outbreak?
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