Two experts, Dr. Steven Quay and Professor Richard Muller have said key genetic evidence could prove that COVID-19 was engineered to be hyper-infectious before the virus then escaped from the Wuhan lab.
Dr. Quay and Professor Muller presented their evidence in an essay published in The Wall Street Journal as they argued “the science suggests a lab leak”.
Questions about if the virus – which has killed 3.7million people worldwide – may have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) have stepped up after initially being dismissed as fringe conspiracy theories.
The experts asserted that the COVID-19 pathogen has a genetic footprint that has never been observed in a natural coronavirus, adding that the genome pairing of CGG-CGG – which is commonly used in so-called “gain of function” research to boost a virus’ transmissibility- has never been found naturally in coronaviruses like Sars-CoV-2.
Double CGG is one of the 36 possible pairings, and they argued it is a “useful beacon that permits the scientists to track the insertion in the laboratory”.
Dr. Quay and Professor Muller called the pairings discovery in CoV-2 a “damning fact” as they argued the case for the lab leak.
“Proponents of zoonotic origin must explain why the novel coronavirus, when it mutated or recombined, happened to pick its least favourite combination, the double CGG,” they wrote.
“Why did it replicate the choice the lab’s gain-of-function researchers would have made?
“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.”
WIV is known to have been carrying out gain-of-function research to soup up viruses for study, a project which was in part funded by the US government through a grant to the EcoHealthAlliance.
The grant was handed to the non-profit by the National Institutes of Health – who then funnelled around $600,000 to WIV to carry out research on the transmission of bat viruses to humans.
Dr. Quay and Prof Muller also argued that the “most compelling” evidence may be the differences between CoV-2 and the viruses which cause Sars and Mers.
Both of those have been confirmed to have natural origins and were observed evolving as they spread through humans until their most contagious forms emerged.
And this is compared to Covid, which appeared to be hyper-infectious from its very first apparent appearance in Wuhan in December 2019.
It is these two key factors which led Dr. Quay and Prof Mueller to conclude that “the scientific evidence points to the conclusion that the virus was developed in a laboratory”.
“The presence of the double CGG sequence is strong evidence of gene splicing, and the absence of diversity in the public outbreak suggests gain-of-function acceleration,” they said.
China has long been accused of covering up or distorting its role in the early days of the pandemic, with claims the Communist Party manipulated case and death figures while withholding information from WHO.