Given the extraordinary nature of the claims, the fact that this didn't see any peer review and isn't published in a real journal as well as the clear political motivations of the money behind the study, my BS meter is going off the charts. Even the name of the document "The Yan Report" makes it sound like a political hit piece cosplaying as a scientific article.
Within 30s I was able to learn so much — The gist of the paper, about how nefarious activities masquerade as academic research, politics and money in funding, and hardcore commitment of folks like Steve Bannon in pushing the overton window on trade relations, geopolitics etc. Phew!
However they have a lot of money from some curious Chinese groups and you shouldn't underestimate how much influence they have over the current US administration.
If they had decent scientific evidence, they’d be pounding on it. Instead it sounds like they’re trying to cobble together a story from bits of cherry-picked analysis.
Even if not told aloud or published, entire teams are intimately convinced the virus was released by the Wuhan BSL4, although not necessarily intentionally.
I am not surprised only "politically motivated" scientists try to break that out.
I am absolutely not in favor of Bannon either.
- they cannot formally prove there has been human manipulation of the virus, just like the proponents of natural selection cannot formally prove this is what happened. So as scientists, why argue publicly about that.
- as your politically inclined comment suggests, they would be at the center of a political battle. Today every western lab is dependent on China for reagents. There's a big risk getting short on them.
But the fact that only papers in favor of natural selection are being published in well-known scientific journals does not mean there is consensus.
Maybe the scientific journals also suffer from "the Disney bias".
Towards the more general argument -- in the absence of formal proof, we are left with selecting the most likely scenario. In this case, what is the reason to believe it was created in a lab as opposed through natural mechanisms? The latter is more likely unless some evidence suggests otherwise. If the only evidence thus far is from a non-reviewed journal w/ very obvious political motivations, then it likely continues to be the less likely scenario.
Of course at the scale of China, having a virus outbreak due to a natural virus mutation is not a rare event. According to Wikipedia, there have been 3 virus outbreaks in "wet markets" in the last 20 years (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wet_market). That makes about 1 outbreak in 7 years.
Now China is big! There are 108 towns with more than 1m population (https://all-populations.com/en/cn/list-of-cities-in-china-by...). What is the probability for an outbreak to occur in a given city? Again that is going to be a very rough estimate. Let's say there are 100 "wet markets", about one per city >1m. That make the probability for a natural virus outbreak in a given "wet market" to be 1 in 700 years.
Now if you want to argue what is the most likely event:
- a natural outbreak in Wuhan: probability is about 1 in 700 years
- a virus leak from the Wuhan BSL4 lab. Note the Wuhan's lab is the ONLY BSL4 lab in China.
Have you any kind of information that makes you believe the probability for a virus leak to be significantly LESS than 1 in 700 years?
Shi Zhengli herself suspected at first that it came from one of their labs, because Wuhan is so far from the bats that are the suspected original host.
> Today every western lab is dependent on China for reagents. There's a big risk getting short on them.
So Chinese companies can ship reagents to labs around the world and ensure that none of them reach some specific Western lab? How could they possibly prevent them being resold?
> Maybe the scientific journals also suffer from "the Disney bias".
Disney is afraid of the CCP because they make a lot of money in China. I suppose it's possible that some journals are afraid of a CCP-led boycott, but there are quality open-access journals that would not be financially impacted by a boycott.
If a journal did publish a peer-reviewed article promoting the idea that SARS-CoV-2 was made in a Chinese lab, and the CCP responded by boycotting the journal, that would be a big deal and I think would rebound badly on the CCP.
Even though it displayed potential for human infection and literally her job was to analyse bat coronaviruses with human infection potential, the virus was shelved for 7 years, and there's NO scientific literature, produced by her or otherwise, about this virus.
Not until the pandemic arrived, at least, then she's the first to say "nCoV-2019 actually comes from the bat coronavirus RaTG13, look how similar they are, it's zoonotic, teeheehee".
Let's gloss over the whole thing:
1- In 2012 6 mine workers get infected with a SARS-like disease, test positive for SARS-specific antibodies, 3 die.
2- Shi is literally sent to that cave to research the bat coronaviruses there that might have had caused the illness.
3- Her team finds a plethora of viral samples of potentially zoonotic diseases.
4- Her team describes generic findings, no full sequences published whatsoever, no mention of the actual reason that motivated the study of that shaft.
Fast forward to 2020
5- SARS-like disease arises, sequence matches 96% with one that potentially killed 3 miners that somehow wasn't really researched past basic findings.
Some quick google fu shows no hits before her paper, either for the virus name (RaTG13) or for chains of nucleotides.
Then another point that seems suspicious to me is that, in her interview with Nature, she states that RaTG13 was only found in 1 (one) bat poop sample, as in, ever, and that all of the sample was used, so there's no virus isolate available, which is too convenient.
It was previously called RaBtCoV/4991, and only a single gene was published in 2016.
Let's have some actual evidence of this please.
You may like or dislike Bannon and/or Trump, but I judged this paper using my only knowledge in biochemistry/molecular cloning from when I was trained during undergraduate.
As for knowledge of biochemistry, there is no new research here. None. It's pasted together from other sources. For example the discussion of the proteins ZXC21 and ZC45 comes form this article , which also presents evidence that the virus can infect and therefore could have passed to humans from mammals other than bats. In other words it's closest viral relatives might be in a mammal species other than bats, so in focusing on bats for the virus's nearest relative we might be looking in the wrong place. That blows a hole in this paper's thesis that the virus not being almost identical to the bat viruses means it must be engineered, so of course it isn't mentioned in the article at all. Nice cherries they're picking!
You’ve stated the paper’s thesis in a very simple-minded way, so your argument means little.
Magically, that virus was allegedly discovered in 2013, but despite their claim that it killed 3 out of 6 infected people, they somehow "forgot" to mention it to anyone anywhere or enter the genome into any public databases.
Even when you move away from politically-funded research, the story still stinks (well, CCP-sponsored research is still political).
No. The Bannon label is the problem here. White collar way to start dumpster fires.
This is malice. Knowingly and actively undermining public trust in the scientific method. Whatever works to make two stones fight.
If one wants my attention for something that looks like scientific writing, except for rare exceptions at my personal discretion, one will have to go through peer review - the main filter of the scientific method.
Otherwise, the bin.
You also seem to think that proofreading a paper increases the chances that it's correct which (in my opinion) shreds your credibility.
"Proofreading" a paper does, in some amount, increase the chances that it's correct. It's called peer review.
We do seem to agree that proper scrutiny of claims is important.
mid April - China indicates they will hammer National Security Law to HK*
late April - Yan defects
Early May - rumors spread of alleged Chinese virologist defection, western rag media misattributed to Shi Zhengli "bat woman" who worked at Wuhan institute of Virology. She's 56, renown in her field.
Late May - Chinese media confirms it was Yan MengLi, she's in her 30s, and basically a labtech. They traced her to Guo's villa in NY, alleging that she paid her to defect .
July - Now - Yan starts her wave of interviews on western alt media. HKU disavows her claims.
Late August - Banon/Guo is being probed by FBI.
Now - Banon/Guo doubles down on Yan and lab modification narrative.
*NSL law timing is significant, the fact that she bailed HK so fast after NSL announcement is (conjecture) because she was already in contact with Guo prior. Guo is at the very top of CCP fugitive shitlist. CCP doesn't do much social media manipulation on western platforms, but when they do, he's almost always targeted. She would have been 100% dead if they found out she was coordinating with him regardless of the credibility of her claims. Personally, I think she's digging for a US VISA and at least being paid well by Guo, Banon/Guo digging for good graces with Trump for FBI probe.
She is young, highly skilled and in an industry which most countries have high demand for.
Could easily get into UK, EU, AU/NZ etc.
Since the Chinese govt don't bother with gulags in Siberia for corruption charges , they rather shoot you in the back of the head.
I can't really blame the guy.
Also, for a different, and published, perspective, see this piece:
I think you have a bit of an idealized perception of the Great Firewall if you think it allows controlling all communication. That's certainly the goal, but in practice, the implementation is far from achieving it.
Well-known historical events like the Tiananmen Square protests can be censored because they're so well known, so the censors know what kind of content to block. (But people who want to talk about them anyway also know which keywords to avoid to evade censorship. It's a cat-and-mouse game.)
New scandals become known all the time and cannot be censored until the news has spread far enough to reach the censors. For example, when Li Wenliang warned his friends about SARS infections in his hospital, the censors didn't know they had to censor screenshots of that conversation or his name until it was too late. When Ai Fen gave an interview to Renwu, the censors didn't know they had to censor it until it was too late.
In the end, the Chinese government had to honor Li Wenliang as a martyr and Ai Fen as a hero to somewhat calm the waves of public opinion. It's extremely unlikely that they'd be able to successfully suppress the information if the virus was lab-made and someone blew the whistle on that.
The similarity absolutely IS NOT an evidence of natural selection, neither guided selection or straight genetic engineering.
Although I am absolutely not in favor of Bannon, many scientists self-censor to preserve their carrier, funding, link with chinese labs. Only those in favor of the natural selection publish in well known journals.
This is fairly standard conspiracy theory stuff. Next you'll be telling us about QAnon and pedophiles.
I remember when Agile was in its heyday and I said it had a lot of negatives and nearly got fired.
Do you know many scientists? To counter your anecdote, my personal anecdote is that many scientists I know (as friends or colleagues) are cantankerous contrarians who would delight in going against the grain especially in the knowledge that real proof of such a theory would vastly increase their profile/notoriety.
There is no value publishing against the apparent consensus for natural selection, because of the high risk, and the lack of a definitive proof, yet. A true scientist would even refrain to conclude for the natural selection hypothesis.
Are you trying to say there's a global conspiracy to silence scientists who disagree with the prevailing theories of natural selection and evolution?
Scientists are people too. You often see people hiding their real beliefs due to the fear of retaliation and public perception as well as misinterpretation regarding controversial topics, it is only natural that scientists have the same fear, especially when considering this case where we have a highly political topic.
What I'm taking issue with is the trope that there's some kind of conspiracy of silence going on, where the global science community has decided it's beholden to China and refuses to research / publish credible theories that this is a lab-made virus. My experience is that scientists aren't a homogenous group and quite a few of them actually care about truth and facts and put that above the risk of losing links to Chinese funding.
- "a hypothetical generation of SARS-CoV-2 by cell culture or animal passage would have required prior isolation of a progenitor virus with very high genetic similarity, which has not been described"
- "Subsequent generation of a polybasic cleavage site would have then required repeated passage in cell culture or animals with ACE2 receptors similar to those of humans, but such work has also not previously been described."
- "Finally, the generation of the predicted O-linked glycans is also unlikely to have occurred due to cell-culture passage, as such features suggest the involvement of an immune system."
Basically, synthesizing SARS-CoV-2 would require you to do at least three things that are currently unknown to science. Is it possible that a some military lab achieved this working in complete secrecy? Yes. Is it the most parsimonious explanation? No.
We have a substantially (96.2%) similar virus with known killing potential (3 out of 6 miners who caught it). It is discovered in 2013, but isn't added to any databases (despite the deaths making it very notable) until late January of this year.
The mine samples came from Yunnan province, but the research was done in Wuhan which is in Hubei province (Those provinces aren't even adjacent) at a lab which just so happens to be rather close to the seafood market where the first cases allegedly happened.
Several papers have now been written which provide more scientific data to re-evaluate this claim, and Steve Bannon did not provide the funding for all of them.
It's hard to doubt Miles Guo's credibility: it is as solid a zero as they come.
To be fair, it's not like he's the only one who spends money to publish lies to brainwash people. Nearly every political party and government does that, although only select few would lie to such an extreme degree.
Conspiracy theories have since been his only hobby beside bodybuilding and preaching on his yacht.
Such an assertion is well within the bounds for what should be considered possible. China's style of governance lends itself very well to extinguishing epidemics (namely, they can take swift and decisive action), so it's not a stretch to imagine that they would be affected by the outcome less than the USA in the longer term.
If that is true, your source doesn't show it. It says that a media outlet owned by Guo reported that "the Chinese government prepared to admit that the virus came from a lab".
Not that it was engineered, not that it was intentionally released and certainly not as biologicial warfare to defeat the US (somehow by releasing it inside China).
There is no such thing as an unbiased source, especially with anything concerning China. If the scientific arguments presented hold ground, it shouldn't matter who authored them, and if the authors are so biased that they provably gave up on scientific principles, that should suffice to discredit the work.
"For the third time in less than a year, an outbreak of SARS seems to have originated from a failure in laboratory containment. This latest incident, revealed in China late last week, is the most serious."
2019 Journal of Biosafety and Biosecurity: Inaugural editorial: Towards evidence-based biosafety and biosecurity
"In 2004, a case of laboratory-acquired SARS infection was reported, and a number of containment failures occurred in high-security laboratories in Singapore, Taiwan, and mainland China. The 2004 SARS outbreak in North China resulted from a series of flaws in the biosafety protocol at a national institute in Beijing, resulting in infection of four laboratory workers. This has been the most serious biosafety event to date."
That doesn't mean this paper is any use whatsoever. It's evidence is sketch, pasted together from snippets of other articles. There is no new research here at all, and it comes from sponsors with a long and well established track record of peddling disinformation. So sure, please do keep an open mind, but that goes both ways on theories like this.
If you want to refute the claims of the paper by arguing that they cherry-picked evidence, you need to provide specific evidence that was omitted from the paper and show how it contradicts their claims. Your other comments on this thread provide only the slightest hint of an argument and do not constitute anything resembling a true refutation.
I completely understand if you don't have the time or energy to compose a more thorough argument--after all, this is basically a flame war on an anonymous Internet forum. But if you find another source which presents a properly composed refutation of these claims, I'd appreciate it if you post a link here. I'll also be on the lookout for such arguments and post anything I find.
This blows a big hole in their bat -> engineering -> humans thesis and so they completely omitted any mention of it even though they must have read it and known all about it.
I'm not refuting the claim that it might have been engineered. I'm still open minded on that question. I'm refuting their claim that the evidence demonstrates that it was engineered. The evidence does not demonstrate what they claim it does. That's what I'm refuting.
Personally there are so many inconsistences with the timeline and location that I am much more inclined to believe the hypothesis of a "Gain-of-function" experiment that negligently escaped the lab, more so than a 'designed' virus or an unfortunate zoonotic event.
I don't want to be controversial or go into arguments on facts versus 'circunstancial' evidence but I would like to point out that the last time I linked a url about this on reddit, my comments got silently shawdowbanned. I tried multiple variations and unless I obsfuscated the url the comment would always get shadowbanned.
This is the link in question:
In most countries these incidents would be public, reported in the media and people would move on. But in China it's almost a mandatory requirement that there is a cover-up since any form of 'bad press' is a potent source of destabilisation.
It should be a huge red flag that the main outbreak started in Wuhan near a well known virology lab but we are constantly fed rhetoric which assumes origin much earlier and at a vastly different location in Southern China, where the bat caves are and pangolins roam. Notably, those regions have not experienced an uptick in "weird lung disease" like Wuhan did before identifying SARS-CoV-2.
The wet markets and all associated animal trade and TCM in general exist everywhere in China and Wuhan is one of thousands of large population cities. Nothing was special about Wuhan except one single thing:
It all started across the street from a BSL lab when the conditions that led to the outbreak are available all across China, thousands of times.
> We are an anonymous group of researchers. We are not affiliated with any company, nation state, or organization. We are not receiving funding from any sources, public or private.
So I'm going to straight up say that this site is politically motivated without a doubt. Here's some actual researchers from the West writing an open letter to the Lancet willing to put their actual names to their research saying it's natural in origin.
I can find you similar sites with psuedoscientific analyses of 5G research papers too. Should I share them here?
Scientists have published quite a lot of material by now on how at a _molecular_ level it seems like a 'natural' virus, as in not a engineered/designed virus, I fully accept the body of science on this.
My argument is not that it is artificial but that it is a virus under study either for cataloguing purposes or used in a "gain-of-function" experiment, and that this virus _accidentally_ escaped the lab facilities where it should have been contained in.
I would be interesting in discussing the circunstancial inconsistencies with the _seafood_ market zoonotic theory, for example:
1) The likely genetic source of SARS cov1 and cov2 is a species of bat in Yunnan province, thousands of miles away, two provinces away from Hubei (Wuhan).
2) The outbreak allegedly started in December in Hubei province when the local bat population (which does not carry this SARS virus?) would be hibernating (?)
3) Only 66% of the initial 41 COVID patients had exposure to Huanan _seafood_ market.
4) A seafood market where you would have to have non-hibernating bats from Yunnan thousands of miles away from Wuhan(?)
5) The seafood market is 13Km away from Wuhan Institute of Virology where Yunnan bats were studied. And 1.4km away from Wuhan's Centre for Disease Prevention & Control (?)
If I put my critical thinking hat on, this does not contradicting a "natural" source. However, it shows a very weak case for us to defend a multi-zoonotic event with a final jump occuring at seafood market, a stone throw away from a BSL lab.
Gain-of-function experiments and engineered viruses are not the stuff of James Bond stories, they are ordinary scientific work. They aren't necessarily that dangerous, but even extremely dangerous pathogens have leaked from labs numerous times.
The origin of the virus is unproven, yet somehow the "lab origin" story is a conspiracy theory while "zoonotic transfer through multiple hosts in an unlikely area (Wuhan)" is the dominant narrative. Either hypothesis has, at best, circumstantial evidence going for it.
It's the way some entities deal with it for political reasons that screws everything up and leads to huge public distrust and poisoning of discourse.
The Coronavirus talk points are clear and to be adhered to. While I agree with the majority of the talk points (wear a mask etc.) I find it highly suspicious how some things evolved and changed over time.
Before April 7th, apparently no research existed in the world which proved that even simple textile masks are highly efficient at reducing transmission of viruses like SARS-CoV-2 simply because they reduce droplets you spread. The virus needs droplets so its own size is irrelevant and the only leftover thing to check are fine aerosols which outside of artificial conditions rarely occur.
Then suddenly, mask was everything as if somebody flipped a switch. People somewhere came together to flip the rhetoric which means that at some point, regarding the masks, it wasn't science-based but messages of control. Yea, maybe the mask supply was to be protected for medical personnel. Ok. But spreading the message that masks are not required is the wrong way to go about it.
Case in point:
> By contrast, surgical masks — those cheap, disposable, gauzy masks that often come in blue or green — are less uncomfortable. But Schaffner says the scientific evidence that "there might be a benefit for people in the community wearing [surgical] face masks is very, very meager. The general sense is perhaps, but they're certainly not an absolute protection." In other words, they do provide some benefit but they're far from foolproof. 
This is NPR! It's January 29th, 2020 and they spread the message that simple disposable surgical masks have VERY VERY MEAGER BENEFIT. I can only say: what the fuck?! Why?
This reads as if masks are not really helping so forget them anyways. As opposed to: there is significant reduction in transmission, even if not 100%, so wear them!
But research has long since existed proving effectiveness of surgical masks spreading airborne pathogens [2, 2013!]. It was abundantly clear that they help. But WHO and media told us a different story. RKI in Germany lied as well until early April.
No it hasn't! The claim that the evidence is "very meager" has been correct and is still correct. The study that you linked only shows a reduction in viral particles, but it also shows that coarse droplets contain less virus.
It stands to reason that reduced particle counts imply reduced viral load, and that reduced viral load implies fewer or less severe infections. However, that is hypothetical and not scientific proof.
In my view, the narrative has changed because of political pressure. If scientists were asked "Do masks work?", the honest answer would be "I don't know".
However, that's not what people want to hear from the experts. So you rephrase the question to "Could masks confer a benefit?" and then the honest answer is "That is plausible". Now politicians have something that they can tell people to do, to give the impression that something can be done and that something has been done.
That is not to say people shouldn't wear masks. However, it bothers me that this one scientifically plausible but unproven intervention gets a lot of attention, but many others don't. For instance, take vitamin D or zinc supplementation. Somehow, we need gold-standard double-blind placebo-controlled trials on 100,000 subjects before officially declaring those as potentially beneficial interventions.
Reminder: the people behind the articles you read are often 20 something ex-bloggers who have no real world experience and also often have an axe to grind.
The lead author here is an immunologist who, unlike the authors of prior papers alleging laboratory origin, is Chinese and was trained in Chinese institutions. At the time of the outbreak Dr. Li-Meng Yan was working in a public health lab at Hong Kong University and was asked to investigate. She claims that she fled to the US after realizing that there was a cover-up going on and she knew too much already.
The most striking and novel claim made here is that the bat coronavirus RaTG13, which is a 96% genetic match to the novel coronarivus, is a total fabrication. This argument is based upon a few key observations:
1. RaTG13 was supposedly discovered in 2013 but not publicly reported until after the outbreak already started, in a paper (published by researchers closely affiliated with the WIV) that claimed it as evidence SARS-CoV-2 likely originated from bats.
2. A number of independent preprint papers raise significant concerns about the veracity of RaTG13, and one published paper indicates that the RaTG13 spike protein is actually ineffective at binding to ACE2 receptors in horseshoe bats (the supposed reservoir).
3. After excluding RaTG13, the next closest relatives are two bat coronaviruses (ZC45/ZXC21) that were discovered and characterized by Chinese military research labs. A Chinese lab published research near the start of the outbreak which identified these viruses as the closest relatives, and that same lab was apparently closed for "rectification" shortly thereafter.
The paper goes on under the assumption that ZC45 or ZXC21 was the backbone for engineering the SARS-CoV-2 virus, noting how the particular characteristics of the genomic match (100% E protein, 94% Orf8 protein) align with what one would expect after the gain-of-function modifications that produced the unusual RBM and furin cleavage site which were also identified in the Sørensen paper. This paper goes into much more detail on those two points, and provides counterfactuals to describe how unlikely these observations would be in a naturally-evolved virus.
In the second half of the paper the authors describe in detail how a lab with sufficient technical acumen could engineer a virus like SARS-CoV-2 through a sequence of well-defined steps, with references to published research demonstrating these capabilities. Then they postulate the exact components involved in engineering the actual SARS-CoV-2, along with a projected timeline of six months for the whole process.
SCMP's piece also mentioned that "It also obtained the required credentials to conduct research on the coronavirus on January 24." That indicates the Centre actually gained more access.
And if you search Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre on Google, you can see it's still actively doing COVID-19 related research. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullar...
She is a Chinese viral researcher who published on covid, who fled to America when she felt her life was in jeopardy for saying that China knew about human-to-human transmission of covid much earlier .
And lead author of this paper.
1 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li-Meng_Yan
Bannon clearly has a narrative he wants to push, and this is just part of that play. This is far from objective science. The authors and funding clearly have huge conflicts of interest. The claims made are extraordinary compared with most other experts in the field. Those two facts alone are enough to significantly discount any claims made in the paper.
There is a group here on HN repeatedly posting this drivel and related nonsense. I would have thought that Trump-style lies and propaganda would be beneath HN, but here we are.
So what’s up OP? Care to explain why you’re engaged in lies?
Given objective evidence of a political intent of anti-Chinese propaganda, such as the involvement of specific factions who want to blame China for the pandemic, it's perfectly reasonable to assume this text is "fake news", with only the form of a scientific paper.
And on the other hand, we already know that building a custom coronavirus in a few months is feasible, if not easy; proving or refuting a plausible story about a synthetic biological weapon made by specific people in specific laboratories is a matter of espionage and investigation, not of scientific evidence.
Okay, fair enough, we'll call it forensic evidence. Either way, the arguments stand on their own merits. You can't dismiss a prosecutor's entire argument as "anti-defendant propaganda". The only people who would ever go to the trouble of building a case are the ones who believe the defendant to be guilty.
Call it science or call it forensics, but the same principles of evidence and truth apply. Evaluate the argument on its merits.
From a more literary and psychological angle, the evidence of disregard for alternative explanations, if not bad faith, is strong enough to discredit the article and place it on the spectrum of more or less intentional falsehood between completely delusional crackpot pseudo-research and completely deliberate poisonous PR effort.
> completely delusional crackpot pseudo-research
I find that the more adjectives and adverbs you need to make a statement, the more desperate your argument has become.
> The alternative theory that the virus may have come from a research laboratory is, however, strictly censored on peer-reviewed scientific journals.
> the RaTG13 virus also diverted the attention of both the scientific field and the general public away from ZC45/ZXC21
> It is believed that the researchers of that laboratory were being punished for having disclosed the SARS-CoV-2—ZC45/ZXC21 connection.
> This finding further substantiates the suspicion that the reported sequence of RaTG13 could have been fabricated
> Even if we ignore the above evidence that no proper host exists for the recombination to take place and instead assume that such a host does exist, it is still highly unlikely that such a recombination event could occur in nature.
> Importantly, this, and the other recombination event described below in section 1.3 (even more impossible to occur in nature), would both have to happen to produce a Spike as seen in SARS-CoV-2.
> Strikingly, consistent with the RBM engineering theory, we have identified two unique restriction sites
> Once the restriction sites were successfully introduced, the RBM segment could be swapped conveniently using routine restriction enzyme digestion and ligation. Although alternative cloning techniques may leave no trace of genetic manipulation (Gibson assembly as one example), this old-fashioned approach could be chosen because it offers a great level of convenience in swapping this critical RBM
> The striking finding of EcoRI and BstEII restriction sites at either end of the SARS-CoV-2 RBM, respectively, and the fact that the same RBM region has been swapped both by Dr. Shi and by her long-term collaborator, respectively, using restriction enzyme digestion methods are unlikely a coincidence. Rather, it is the smoking gun proving that the RBM/Spike of SARS-CoV-2 is a product of genetic manipulation.
Regarding links and references, how many are other papers from the same group, sock puppets, irrelevant material, bad research that remains a preprint for good reasons, and so on? For example:
Segreto, R. & Deigin, Y. Is considering a genetic-manipulation origin for SARS-CoV-2 a conspiracy
theory that must be censored? Preprint (Researchgate) DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.31358.13129/1 (2020).
Singla, M., Ahmad, S., Gupta, C. & Sethi, T. De-novo Assembly of RaTG13 Genome Reveals
Inconsistencies Further Obscuring SARS-CoV-2 Origins. Preprints, 2020080595 (doi:
that's not true. If you wrote a good article that was completely defensible and submitted it to a top journal, it wouldn't be censored. It's not like the editors of nature are just sitting around stomping on papers they don't agree with. The problem is that if you wanted to convince peer reviewers and editors to publish such an article, it would need to be absolute perfect- not a single detail wrong, not a single bit of politics, totalyl consistent with the observed evidence, and more likely than natural origin (which is a very reasonable hypothesis to start with). Very few of the articles I've seen that claim lab origin pass the basic technical tests.
The editors of nature, science, etc, would love to receive a paper that actually made a good enough argument that there was a lab origin. that would be the scoop of a century.
The idea is widely considered by the scientific community to be false. Less than 1% of the community here is qualified to dive into the details. Implying that because something is a scientific paper, that if general readers can't beat it point for point, is deeply misleading.
I think the paper is BS. It's funded by people known to produce BS. I cannot personally prove that its BS, but I'll lend my trust to more trustworthy scientific publications with no bad funding incentives.
I'd prefer content like this not appear here.
Case closed I guess.