Revealed: Wuhan and U.S. scientists planned to create new coronaviruses
Before Covid pandemic erupted, group submitted proposals to mix genetic data of related strains and grow completely new sequences
Scientists from Wuhan and the US were planning to create new coronaviruses that did not exist in nature by combining the genetic codes of other viruses, proposals show.
Documents of a grant application submitted to the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), leaked last month, reveal that the international team of scientists planned to mix genetic data of closely related strains and grow completely new viruses.
A genetics expert working with the World Health Organisation (WHO), who uncovered the plan after studying the proposals in detail, said that if Sars-CoV-2 had been produced in this way, it would explain why a close match has never been found in nature.
So far the closest naturally occurring virus to Sars-CoV-2 is a strain called Banal-52, which was reported from Laos last month and shares 96.8 per cent of the genome. Yet scientists expect a direct ancestor to be around a 99.98 per cent match – and none has been found so far.
The Darpa proposals, leaked to the pandemic origins analysis group Drastic, show the team had planned to take sequences from naturally occurring coronaviruses and use them to create a brand new sequence that was an average of all the strains.
Why would scientists deliberately create a new virus? Our article “The Obama Virus” gives the answer.