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Friday, 12 June 2020

Coronavirus anomalies (2)

Last weekend, I had a strange thought following my reading of a recent Telegraph article (my blog). Is it a coincidence - or not at all - that the coronavirus has mostly hit non-Asian countries? The global COVID-19 map by the Johns Hopkins University confirms that anomaly.

A counter argument for this observation is that Asian countries developed antibodies following the 2002 SARS coronavirus. However, that logic does not apply to the 2012 MERS or Middle East respiratory syndrome coronaviruses because Middle Eastern countries (eg, Iran) were hit hard by the 2019 SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. What might explain this difference?

The recent Telegraph article (my blog) claims that a "new scientific report suggests [that] key elements of the virus were 'inserted' ". More specifically, "the scientists claim to have identified "inserted sections placed on the SARS-CoV-2 Spike surface" that explain how the virus binds itself to human cells."

Such insertion may have happened using the gene-editing technology called CRISPR, which was first described in 1987. See my related blogs of 20172019, and 2020. This technology has matured since 1987. Science Alert, 2 January 2020: "China Quietly Confirms a Third CRISPR-Edited Baby Has Been Born".

Since the 1970s, scientists have been working on genetically modified viruses "for the purposes of biomedical, agricultural, bio-control, or technological objectives" (Wiki). Hence, any editing of the 2002 SARS coronavirus would make (perfect) sense from a health perspective.

The key issue, in working with genetically modified viruses, is the need for biosafety levels, "a set of biocontainment precautions required to isolate dangerous biological agents in an enclosed laboratory facility" (Wiki).

On 14 April 2020, Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin reported that US "State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses" since January 2018 (WaPo).

The recent Telegraph article (my blog) makes a similar claim: "Sir Richard [Dearlove] suggested scientists may have been conducting secret gene-splicing experiments on bat coronaviruses when Covid-19 somehow escaped through a lapse in biosecurity."

It appears that the 2002 SARS coronavirus was edited to reduce health risks (for Asian countries). Unfortunately, non-Asian countries are now facing a significant death toll. The release of this edited virus was either a Chinese blunder, or evidence of China developing biological warfare. I prefer to believe the first.

Best Kept Secret (1987) from album What Price Paradise (1986) by China Crisis
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

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