In the earliest part of my reporting on the subject, I was alarmed to see that leading virologists such as Dr. Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina and Dr. Shi Zhengli of China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology were conducting experiments on coronaviruses, including SARS viral strains, that would make the resulting modified viruses more easily able to infect humans and would make them more deadly. As we reported in early May, Baric’s lab-created SARS mutant was designed to bind to “human airway epithelial cells,” or, the cells that line the upper airways of the respiratory tract with the purpose of moistening and protecting the airways and serving as a barrier to potential pathogens and foreign particles.
To the point of almost bragging, many scientists who conducted this type of research seemed rather impressed with themselves for being able to accomplish such a feat. It was also interesting that, oftentimes, these laboratory mutated viruses had little effect on other human cells.
Now it appears that a team of Australian scientists has confirmed the same about the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak. Considering the symptoms of COVID-19 and its laser-like focus on the airways, that’s not too surprising.
From the Daily Telegraph:
A team of Australian researchers have published a scientific paper proving that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus appears to be best adapted to attack human cells, raising even more questions about the pandemic’s origins.
The scientists from Flinders University and La Trobe used powerful computers to model the protein receptors in a number of animal species to see how the coronavirus’s spike protein attached itself to them.
In addition, the scientists determined that the virus had a poor ability to bind to a bat’s ACE-2 receptor cells relative to its ability to bind to human receptor cells, meaning that COVID-19 did not make the jump from bat to human, absent a yet-to-be-determined intermediate species or a man-forced mutation in a laboratory. This data should put to end the “bat soup” theory pushed by Wuhan Lab defenders, as such a jump from bats to humans is highly unlikely. Considering that another intermediate species has not been identified, it again opens the door to the possibility that this originated that the lab.
“Hence, if the virus has a natural source, it could only have come to humans via an intermediary species which has yet to be found,” [Professor Nikolai Petrovsky] said.
While the researchers also found that the coronavirus could attach relatively easily to pangolins, as well as domestic animals like cats and dogs, the findings will add weight to the increasingly repeated charge that the coronavirus escaped the controversial Wuhan Institute of Virology in an accident involving “gain of function” research.
“Overall, putting aside the intriguing pangolin ACE2 results, our study showed that the COVID-19 virus was very well adapted to infect humans,” Prof Petrovsky said.
Studies such as this one are also being increasingly looked at in light of what appears to have been an orchestrated campaign to suppress any science that would implicate the Wuhan lab.
The information suppression has occurred from sources both in and out of China, including Dr. Shi Zhengli who was responsible for the earliest models of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Those models withheld information and modeling that could suggest a lab origin. Another defender of the Lab Leak origin story has been Peter Daszak, who had funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab and orchestrated the Lancet Letter rejecting the Lab Leak theory before anything about the virus was known.