KEY genetic evidence could prove that Covid was engineered to be hyper-infectious before the virus then escaped from the Wuhan lab, two experts have claimed.
Dr Steven Quay and Professor Richard Muller claimed facts about the virus's genetic code are "damning" when looking into if Covid could have been manipulated by China.
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Questions about if the virus – which has killed 3.7million people worldwide -may have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) have stepped up after initially being dismissed as fringe conspiracy theories.
China and the lab continue to furiously deny any allegations.
But the circumstantial evidence is mounting as US President Joe Biden told his spies to "redouble" their probe, and it emerged his top advisor Dr Anthony Fauci was considering the lab leak possibility last Spring.
Dr Quay and Professor Muller presented their evidence in an essay published in The Wall Street Journal as they argued "the science suggests a lab leak".
"The Covid-19 pathogen has a genetic footprint that has never been observed in a natural coronavirus," they wrote.
The experts argue the genome pairing of CGG-CGG – which is commonly used in so-called "gain of function" research to boost a virus's transmissability- has never been found naturally in coronaviruses like Sars-CoV-2.
Double CGG is one of the 36 possible pairings, and they argued it is a "useful beacon that permits the scientists to track the insertion in the laboratory".
Dr Quay and Professor Muller called the paring's discovery in CoV-2 a"damning fact" as they argued the case for the lab leak.
"Proponents of zoonotic origin must explain why the novel coronavirus, when it mutated or recombined, happened to pick its least favorite combination, the double CGG," they wrote.
"Why did it replicate the choice the lab’s gain-of-function researchers would have made?
“At the minimum, this fact — that the coronavirus, with all its random possibilities, took the rare and unnatural combination used by human researchers — implies that the leading theory for the origin of the coronavirus must be laboratory escape."
WIV is known to have been carrying out gain-of-function research to soup up viruses for study, a project which was in part funded by the US government through a grant to the EcoHealthAlliance.
The grant was handed to the non-profit by the National Institutes of Health – who then funnelled around $600,000 to WIV to carry out research on the transmission of bat viruses to humans.
Dr Quay and Prof Muller also argued that the "most compelling" evidence may be the differences between CoV-2 and the viruses which cause Sars and Mers.
Both of those have been confirmed to have natural origins and were observed evolving as they spread through humans until their most contagious forms emerged.
And this is compared to Covid, which appeared to be hyper-infectious from its very first apparent appearance in Wuhan in December 2019.
'EVIDENCE POINTS TO LAB'
"Such early optimization is unprecedented, and it suggests a long period of adaptation that predated its public spread," the experts wrote.
"Science knows of only one way that could be achieved: simulated natural evolution, growing the virus on human cells until the optimum is achieved.
"That is precisely what is done in gain-of-function research."
It is these two key factors which led Dr Quay and Prof Mueller to conclude that "the scientific evidence points to the conclusion that the virus was developed in a laboratory".
"The presence of the double CGG sequence is strong evidence of gene splicing, and the absence of diversity in the public outbreak suggests gain-of-function acceleration," they said.
What do we know about the Wuhan Institute of Virology?
THE WUHAN Institute of Virology is the highest security lab of its kind in all of China – and can be found right at the heart of the origins of the global pandemic
Various theories have been swirling about the lab, which is headed up by Chinese scientist Dr Shi Zhengli, known as “Bat Woman”.
Most scientists do not believe the virus leaked from the lab, and the lab itself has categorically denied the claims.
The lab specialised in bat-borne viruses and had been carrying out experiences on them since 2015.
Airlocks, full body suits, and chemical showers are required before entering and leaving the lab – the first in China to be accredited with biosafety level 4 (BSL-4).
BSL-4 labs are the only places in the world where scientists can study diseases that have no cure.
Scientists from the lab even tested mysterious
virus which killed three miners 1,000 miles away in Yunnan province back in 2012.
It has been suggested this fatal mystery bug may have been the true origin of Covid-19.
Experts at the lab also engineered a new type of hybrid 'super-virus' that can infect humans in 2015, according to medical journal Nature Medicine
Despite fears surrounding the research, the study was designed to show the risk of viruses carried by bats which could be transmitted to humans.
There is no suggestion the facility's 2015 work is linked to the pandemic.
The lab was also recruiting new scientists to probe coronaviruses in bats just seven days before the outbreak.
China has began tightening security around its biolabs with President Xi Jinping saying it was a “national security” issue to improve scientific safety at a meeting last February.
China has long been accused of covering up or distorting its role in the early days of the pandemic, with claims the Communist Party manipulated case and death figures while withholding information from WHO.
Beijing has a history of lab leaks in which deadly viruses have accidentally escaped and critics have highlighted what they allege is a gung-ho approach to safety.
There is currently no evidence to suggest the virus was intentionally released by China.
And there is renewed questions on the Mojiang Mine – where a mystery virus killed three miners in 2012, and from where Covid's closest living relative was recovered at a 96% match.
Meanwhile, the hunt is on for the mysterious "Patient Su" – who could be one of the world's fist Covid cases and who lived just three miles from WIV.
China has accused the US of playing politics by stoking fears over a lab leak, and have even attempted to shift the focus to bio labs in the US.
It emerged last month Wuhan lab staff became sick and needed hospital care weeks before China admitted it was facing an outbreak.
And experts have claimed that the truth about Covid could bring "national shame" to China and topple the Communist Party.
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