Study: Covid-19 virus is lab-engineered, has no credible natural ancestor

Researchers work in a lab of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province. (Photo courtesy: AP)

(, May31’21) – Initially dismissed by many scientists out of fear of offending the communist Chinese government, the suspicion that the novel coronavirus which has caused the Covid-19 pandemic might have been created by Chinese scientists continues to gain traction worldwide. 

The virus has no “credible natural ancestor” and was created by Chinese scientists who were working on a gain-of-function research in a Wuhan lab, The Daily Mail reported May 30, citing a research paper compiled by British expert Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Birger Sorensen.

They were reported to suspect that Chinese scientists had created the virus in a laboratory in Wuhan and then, when the pandemic began, tried to cover their tracks by reverse-engineering versions of the virus to make it look like it evolved naturally from bats.

The researchers were reported to have claimed that Chinese scientists took a natural coronavirus “backbone” found in the country’s cave bats and spliced onto it a new “spike”, turning it into the Covid-19 virus. They were stated to have found “unique fingerprints” in Covid-19 samples that could have arisen from manipulation in a laboratory.

The authors were reported to claim that they had prima facie evidence of retro-engineering in China for a year. They have alleged “deliberate destruction, concealment or contamination of data” at Chinese labs.

In their paper, which is likely to be published in the journal Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery, Dalgleish and Sorensen were reported to have claimed to have concluded how Chinese scientists built the tools to create the coronavirus.

The scientists have also highlighted that Chinese scientists who wished to share their knowledge had not been able to do so or had disappeared.

The report noted that ‘Gain of Function’ projects, which involves tweaking natural viruses to make them more infectious, had been outlawed by former US President Barack Obama.

Major scientific journals had adamantly maintained that the virus had jumped naturally from bats.

However, leading academics, politicians and the media have now begun to contemplate the possibility that Covid-19 escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China – where experiments included manipulating viruses to increase their infectiousness in order to study their potential effects on humans, the report noted.

A few days ago, an article was published in the Wall Street Journal which revealed that three researchers at Wuhan Institute fell ill in Nov 2019 and had to be hospitalized. The report was based on previously undisclosed US intelligence. The researchers were admitted into the hospital a month before China reported the first case of Covid-19, the report noted.

In March, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus called for further studies after the release of an inconclusive report on an international team’s field visit to Wuhan to research the origins of Covid-19, citing difficulties accessing raw data.


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