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Does the new study provide evidence that the coronavirus was made in the laboratory?

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SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus that causes COVID-19, was first detected in Wuhan, China at the end of last year.
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Scientists in the new paper insist on evidence (general theory) that the COVID-19 virus did not originate in nature, but was created in the lab instead. According to six experts in evolutionary biology and infectious diseases Newsweek, This paper does not provide new information, makes numerous unfounded claims, and its scientific case is weak.

“This preprint report cannot be credible in its current form,” says Andrew Preston, an expert in microbial etiology at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom.

The paper, “Abnormal features of the SARS-CoV-2 genome suggest sophisticated laboratory modifications and possible depictions of synthetic pathways rather than natural evolution,” states Li, who belongs to the Rule of Law Association. -Written by Dr. Meng Yan and three colleagues. , A group unknown in research on infectious diseases. The association was founded by former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon, who was recently charged with fraud by the FBI, and Guo Wengi, a Chinese businessman who fled China on bribery and other charges in 2014. ..

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The dissertation-preprinting on the website Zenodo, which has not undergone the rigorous peer review required for publication in scientific journals-is anticipating conspiracy theory and throwing a debate about the origin of the virus as a battle. Against dissenting opinions and censorship of fraud. The author does not provide a reference to support these claims. To support their claim that the authors of the Nature Medicine article had undisclosed conflicts of interest, they confirmed his claim by China on the preparation of the country’s illness to Colombian epidemiologist Dr. Ian Lipkin. Refers to the announcement of the award given to the research. First SARS outbreak. Other references link to scientists’ CVs

scientist Newsweek The consultation also took a problem with the author’s genome analysis. For example, the authors point to the “restriction site” of the SARS-CoV-2 gene sequence as evidence that the virus was created using an enzyme that acts as a molecular scissors and added or removed genetic material. But “every DNA sequence in nature has restriction sites,” said Arinjay Banerjee, a virologist at McMaster University. “It is not surprising that the SARS-CoV-2 genome also has restriction sites. The evidence presented here is an anecdote.”

Banerjee also questioned the author’s claim that a function called the Flynn cleavage site (which is part of the virus’s spike protein and is used to attach to human cells) was deliberately inserted into the virus. It was.

The paper said Jonathan Eisen, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Davis, was “filled with unfounded claims.”

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In the tweet, Carl Bergstrom, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle and co-author of the Art of Skeptismism at Calling Bullshit: Data-Driven World, called the paper in the tweet. “Strange and unfounded

Preston said: “This report is not based on an objective interpretation of the SARS-CoV2 genome. The interpretation made is unsubstantiated and unfounded. The interpretation is barely stated but not explained. Hmm. I will publish a hypothesis about the origin of SARS-CoV2. “

Fred Guterl contributed to the report on this story.



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