Report: Covid genome sequencing points to gain-of-function research, lab origins

by WorldTribune Staff, June 7, 2021

Two U.S. scientists wrote that the genome sequencing of Covid-19 strongly suggests that the virus was manufactured inside a Chinese laboratory.

“The most compelling reason to favor the lab leak hypothesis is firmly based in science,” Dr. Stephen Quay and Richard Muller wrote for the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

“Covid-19 has a genetic footprint that has never been observed in a natural coronavirus.”

Quay is the founder of Seattle-based Atossa Therapeutics Inc., while Muller is a physics professor at the University of California Berkeley.

The analysis comes amid growing reports that Covid escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Covid-19 has the genome sequencing “CGG-CGG” — one of 36 sequencing patterns, the essay states. That combination is commonly used by scientists in gain-of-function research, but is otherwise considered extremely rare.

Quay and Muller assert that no naturally occurring coronavirus — such as SARS or MERS — has ever had a CGG-CGG combination.

“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,” they wrote.

“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.

Quay and Muller assert that the Wuhan lab was known for conducting “gain-of-function” research where scientists would “intentionally supercharge viruses to increase lethality.”

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.”

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