(PresidentialInsider.com)- A scientific paper published by a team of Australian researchers claims that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus appears to be the best adapted to attack human cells.
The findings of these scientists from Flinders University and LaTrobe raise even more questions about the recent pandemic’s possible origins.
Using powerful computers to model the protein receptors in several animal species, the researches sought to learn how the coronavirus’ spike protein attached itself. The goal was to see if the natural species jump theory initially believed to be the origin of COVID-19 held up under testing. If the virus attached itself readily to an animal like a bat or a pangolin, then it would likely have been the species from which the virus jumped into the human population.
However, the modelling researchers performed did not confirm the theory. Instead, it found that the coronavirus’ spike protein was best suited to attack protein receptors in humans. The virus’ ability to bind to the ACE2 protein in bats was poor compared to its ability to bind to human cells, the researchers found.
According to Flinders University epidemiologist and vaccine researcher Nikolai Petrovsky, “This argues against the virus being transmitted directly from bats to humans.”
In other words, if the virus has a natural source, the only possible species jump from animal to human would have been through an intermediary species which has not yet been found.
The researchers also found that the coronavirus could attach to pangolins, as well as domestic animals like cats and dogs, relatively easily. However, the findings still add weight to the theory that the COVID-19 pandemic possibly escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology due to 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,” Professor Petrovsky said.
Studies such as this were precisely the kind of studies Peter Daszak and others hoped to quash early on in the pandemic with the letter published at The Lancet. The scientists who signed the Lancet letter claimed that COVID-19 jumped naturally from animals to humans, and accused scientists who suggested the virus came from the Wuhan lab of xenophobia and peddling conspiracy theories.
Two weeks ago, the Lancet was forced to clarify the letter by adding a disclaimer about Peter Daszak’s clear conflict of interest involving the Wuhan Institute of Virology.