Li-Meng Yan, the Chinese virologist who has been in hiding in the US after claiming that the Chinese authorities not only knew about the novel coronavirus long before the first cases were officially reported in Wuhan last December but who has also suggested Covid-19 was created in a Chinese military laboratory has published with her team of researchers a 26-page document laying out her theory that the pandemic sweeping the world is not of natural origin.
Dr Yan and her team published their findings on Zenodo in a report entitled “Unusual Features of the SARS CoV-2 Genome Suggesting Sophisticated Laboratory Modification Rather Than Natural Evolution and Delineation of Its Probable Synthetic Route.”
The text is co-authored by Chinese scientists Shu Kang, Jie Guan and Shanchang Hu and published under the observation of the Rule of Law Society & Rule of Law Foundation in New York, an organization founded by Chinese magnate Guo Wengui, who has been in exile in the US for several years after being accused of crimes including corruption and sexual abuse in China. The Society’s stated mission is to “expose corruption, obstruction, illegality, brutality, false imprisonment, excessive sentencing, harassment, and inhumanity pervasive in the political, legal, business and financial systems of China.”
In its summary, the report says that “the genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 has likely undergone genetic engineering, "through which the virus has gained the ability to target humans with enhanced virulence and infectivity.”
The report also claims that the novel coronavirus has been adapted by already-identified naturally occurring coronaviruses in bats by the Chinese military.
The research follows “three lines of evidence” that Yan and her team say demonstrate Covid-19 is a lab-based virus.
Employees wear protective clothing to disinfect a cinema in Wuhan on July 20, 2020 Getty Images
The first of these states: “The genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 is suspiciously similar to that of a bat coronavirus discovered by military laboratories in the Third Military Medical University (Chongqing, China) and the Research Institute for Medicine of Nanjing Command (Nanjing, China.”
The second line of evidence presented goes on to say: “The receptor-binding motif (RBM) within the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which determines the host specificity of the virus, resembles that of SARS-CoV from the 2003 epidemic in a suspicious manner. Genomic evidence suggests that the RBM has been genetically manipulated.”
The third finding laid out by Yan and her team states: “SARS-CoV-2 contains a unique furin-cleavage site in its Spike protein, which is known to greatly enhance viral infectivity and cell tropism. Yet, this cleavage site is completely absent in this particular class of coronaviruses found in nature. In addition, rare codons associated with this additional sequence suggest the strong possibility that this furin-cleavage site is not the product of natural evolution and could have been inserted into the SARS-CoV-2 genome artificially by techniques other than simple serial passage or multi-strain recombination events inside co-infected tissue cultures or animals.”
In summary, Yan and her team suggest that the novel coronavirus was developed “as a laboratory product created by using bat coronaviruses ZC45 and/or ZXC21 as a template and/or backbone.”
The report states that “ZC45 and ZXC21 were discovered between July 2015 and February 2017 and isolated and characterized by the aforementioned military research laboratories.” It also says that when a non-military lab, the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre, published a Nature article reporting “a conflicting close phylogenetic relationship between SARS-CoV-2 and ZC45/ZXC2 rather than with RaTG13, was quickly shut down for ‘rectification.’”
The report also accuses several publications of bowing to political pressure or of experiencing “conflicts of interest” so as not to publish findings that differ from the natural origin theory. “The existing scientific publications supporting a natural origin theory rely heavily on a single piece of evidence – a previously discovered bat coronavirus named RaTG13, which shares a 96% nucleotide sequence identity with SARS-CoV-2,” the report states.