Recently the science journalist Nicholas Wade argued that the COVID-19 pandemic was begun with a laboratory leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. As I said here yesterday, one of his greatest evidence is the supposedly abnormal furin cleavage site of the virus—a particular protein it used to enter human cells.
Wade says “no known beta-coronavirus, which is associated with SARS, the class to which [the novel coronavirus] belongs, has a cleavage-fur site.” In order to support this, Wade quotes Nobel biologist David Baltimore: “When I first saw the viral sequence of furine cleavage sites with its arginine codons, I told my wife it was the smoking weapon for the virus to originate. These characteristics challenge the idea of a natural origin “Virus COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2.
As I reported previously, some research supports this argument, while others do not. The immunologist of the Scripps Research Institute Kristian Andersen has now weighed “does not” on the side. “The website is not a ‘smoking gun,’ nor ‘makes the idea of a natural origin a powerful challenge,'” he wrote. I should note last year that Andersen and some colleagues published in Nature Medicine an article which concluded that the coronavirus “is not a laboratory structure or an intentionally manipulated virus.”
Andersen cites the same Stem Cell Research article, which I linked to as proof that furin cleavage sites, without going too far into technical details “are abundant, including high coronavirus prevalence. Whereas SARS-CoV-2 is the first example of an FCS SARSr virus, other beta-coronaviruses (SARS-CoV-2 genus) have FCSs, “Include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus and the University of Hong Kong 1 virus (HKU1). He adds, “Nothing is mysterious to have the ‘first instance’ of an FCS virus.”
Although researchers recognise that they do not know how the virus has gained its furin cleavage site, Andersen then examines 4 natural ways that the COVID-19 virus can have done so. He finished that “Baltimore’s first point – somehow unusual for the FCS found in SARS-CoV-2 – is simply false. FCSs can be found in a variety of coronaviruses.”
Andersen cites the same article by Stem Cell Research that I have linked to as evidence of furin sites without going into too much technical detail “Are abundant, including high prevalence of coronavirus. While SARS-CoV-2 is the first FCS SARSr virus example, FCSs have other beta-coronaviruses (SARS-CoV-2 genus), “Include the MERS virus and the virus of the University of Hong Kong 1. (HKU1). He adds, “Nothing is mysterious to have an FCS virus’ ‘first instance’.”
While researchers recognise that they don’t know how the virus has become a furin cleavage site, Andersen then explores 4 ways in which the virus COVID-19 can do so. He’s done that “The first point of Baltimore – something unusual in SARS-CoV-2 for the FCS – is simply false. FCSs in a variety of coronaviruses can be found.”
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