Stating that the coronavirus pandemic began with leaks from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, – unscientific fiction, scientists were not working with any similar strain. About it in interview to TV channel CGTN, which aired on may 23, said the Director of the Institute, Professor, immunologist van of Agni.
According to her, until 30 December 2019, when the first sample of the pathogen entered the laboratory, the specialists of the Institute have never faced him and had no information about the structure and properties of coronavirus.
“Like all other people, we didn’t even know that such a virus exists. What kind of leak from our laboratory can be when we never had it?” – said the Director.
Still most similar to SARS-CoV-2 was considered to be a coronavirus, referred to in an article in the journal Nature in February 2020 under the title “Outbreak of pneumonia associated with a new coronavirus that probably originated from bats”. In the publication group of authors, which included scientists from Wuhan, it was argued that the genome of SARS-CoV-2 on 96.2% identical to the genome of the coronavirus bat, which was studied in the Institute of Virology.
“Mentioned the bat coronavirus called RaTG-13. From the point of view of many laymen, the coefficient of similarity of 96.2% for very high. But the fact that the coronavirus belongs to the RNA viruses with the largest genomes. The difference of 3.8% means the differences are more than 1,100 provisions of the nucleotides. In nature the virus takes a very long time, so he naturally evolved and mutated, turning into SARS-CoV-2,” explained van of Agni.
She said that such a process, according to the virologist Edward Holmes, could take up to 50 years.
“Many people may misunderstand that, since our Institute reported on the similarity of the genome RaTG-13 with SARS-CoV-2, in our lab should be virus RaTG-13. In fact it is not. When we sequenced the genome of the virus sample of the bat, we got the genome sequence, but we are not isolated and did not receive live virus RaTG-13. Thus, there is no risk of leakage,” – said the van Agni.
Laboratory Institute of Virology has three samples of living coronaviruses of bats obtained in the research group of Dr. Shi Jinli, said the Director. The work of this team since 2004 focused on finding a virus similar to SARS. The genome of SARS-CoV-2 less than 80% repeats the genome of SARS, this is an obvious difference, noted immunologist.
“Currently, the international scientific community believes that the virus originated from wild animals. But we still don’t know exactly where the virus similar to SARS-CoV-2. That is why the cooperation of scientists around the world need to find the answers,” concluded van of Agni.
Chinese Bat, or Why academic Shi Jinli guilty of coronavirus. The main thing
March 11, the world health organization declared the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Rumors about the laboratory origin of SARS-CoV-2, and conspiracy theories emerged in the beginning of the outbreak.
April 16, the American TV channel Fox News, citing several sources familiar with the decisions of the authorities of China and had seen the relevant documents, reported that “patient zero” with the coronavirus was an employee of the Wuhan lab.
The US President Donald trump said that his country “will examine this terrible situation.” On may 3, Secretary of state Mike Pompeo said that the United States has a “huge amount” of evidencethat the pandemic started with the diversion of coronavirus from Wuhan Institute of Virology.
While the U.S. intelligence community on 30 April came to the conclusion that the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was not artificially created or modified.
The foreign Ministry of China said that the version about the leak of a coronavirus from laboratory of Wuhan has no evidence. May 24, foreign Minister Wang Yi supported the establishment of international inspection on the study of the origin of SARS-CoV-2.