Scientists furious at the claims of “laboratory Covid”.


A study that Covid was conducted in the lab sparked a furious quarrel, as the researchers behind it were accused of “correcting” their findings by other scientists.

A pre-press study widely shared online claimed to have found evidence that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid, was the result of human intervention.

While the findings were lauded by some scientists as “the strongest evidence to date” that Covid came from a laboratory, others condemned the document as “alleged nonsense”.

The authors of the article say they found evidence that SARS-CoV-2 originated from a laboratory experiment that cloned a coronavirus, moved fragments of DNA, and rearranged them in a specific order, thus producing the Covid virus.

Alex Washburne, one of the authors, said: “We looked at whether SARS-CoV-2 was synthesized in the laboratory. We investigated a common method for synthesis. [coronaviruses] in the laboratory.

“This method was thought not to leave a fingerprint. We found the fingerprint. That fingerprint is in the SARS-CoV-2 genome.”

Wuhan - REUTERS / Thomas Peter

Wuhan – REUTERS / Thomas Peter

Viscount Matt Ridley, co-author of a book on the origin of the coronavirus, called the new work an “extremely important study.”

“Evidence that strongly suggests that SARS-CoV-2 was engineered may have been hiding in plain sight all along,” he said.

Professor Francois Balloux, director of the UCL Genetics Institute, said it was “the strongest evidence to date against a simple rigorous zoonotic origin scenario for SARS-CoV-2”.

‘Highly misleading’

But prominent academics have blotted out the findings, claiming it was a “self-fulfilling prophecy” and that the results are “highly misleading.”

Critics say the signals the authors claim to be evidence of a laboratory origin are not a smoking gun because these genetic fingerprints occur naturally in many viruses, including the common cold.

Professor Stuart Neil, a professor of virology at King’s College London (KCL), accused the team of “stacking the deck” by selecting their analysis and turning their article into a “self-fulfilling prophecy”.

“It’s nonsense packaged to create a splash of controversy and become a talking point in the US and British media,” he told The Telegraph.

Professor David Robertson, head of viral genomics at the University of Glasgow’s Center for Virus Research, said the article was “nonsense” and “highly misleading”.

‘Poppycock disguised as science’

Professor Kristian Andersen, an evolutionary biologist and professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the Scripps Research Institute, called the work “nothing but poppycock disguised as science.”

“Put simply – this is uninformed nonsense and it just isn’t worth engaging in this bullshit,” said Professor Anderson.

The academician also said the document is “so deeply flawed that it would not pass the molecular biology of kindergarten.”

The pre-press claims it found telltale signs that the coronavirus was sliced ​​in a lab and stitched back together, leaving behind “a very thin but identifiable fingerprint.”

The team believes they have identified “sticky ends” at the ends of DNA fragments that have been moved using enzymes.

“He makes a caricature of the whole situation”

But Dr David LV Bauer, a leader of the group at the Francis Crick Institute and an expert in RNA virus replication, said this is impossible.

“Imagine you’ve seen a train enter a station. They are identifying that they see the little couplers that link the carriages together. That’s what they claim to see,” he told the Telegraph.

“What they misunderstood is that the Golden Gate system is like the fantastic new trains on the Elizabeth Line that have no visible couplers.”

Analysis of the paper is also guilty of a selective interpretation of the data, according to Dr. Bauer, who says the authors have deliberately “fixed” various aspects to get only the desired results and the results are unlikely to go through review between even.

“The result of the analysis has been constrained in such a way that they only ever see one result they want and there are also all the red flags about how they don’t understand how it actually works,” he told The Telegraph.

“The problem with this sort of thing is that it’s perfectly legitimate to ask whether [Covid] it came from a lab, regardless of whether it was tracked in or out of someone’s shoe or if it was designed. These are perfectly legitimate questions to ask.

“But at the end of the day, when you post this sort of thing, it’s just a caricature of the whole situation. It makes it really hard to have any kind of reasonable speech.”

‘Tinfoil hat’

Dr. Benjamin Neuman, a professor of biology at Texas A&M University, said the study “is the molecular equivalent of phrenology or numerology” and the “tinfoil hat.”

“This is as enlightening as it is to convert the genome into digits, add the digits and compare it to the ‘number of the Beast’,” he said.

“The coolest thing is: look at the affiliations. We have someone who works in a gynecology clinic, a business management efficiency analyst and an Alzheimer’s researcher. As far as I know, none of them have ever worked with a virus before. henceforth, either studied virology, or been on a virology paper of any kind. “

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