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Did the Coronavirus Escape From a Lab?

As the novel coronavirus is causing disaster all over the world, news that the pathogen has actually escaped from a lab was revealed. More than 284,000 cases were registered across the globe, but many claim that the coronavirus is actually coming from animals.

Numerous scientists try to debunk the claims that the virus came from a lab, with Kristian Andersen, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research leading the movement.

Andersen and his team conducted a new analysis of SARS-CoV-2 that they say showcases the fact that the genome of the virus is similar to other seven known coronaviruses. The team looked at the genetic pattern for the points proteins that bulge from the surface of a virus.

The coronavirus uses these spikes to collect the external walls of its host’s cells and then enter them. They particularly analyzed the gene sequences in charge of two main features of these spike proteins: the grabber, also known as the receptor-binding domain, that clips onto host cells, and the cleavage site that enables the virus to open and enter the cells.

The Origin Cannot Be Strongly Indicated

The analysis showed that the grabber part of the spike had developed to aim a receptor on the exterior of human cells known as ACE2, which is engaged in blood pressure regulation. The researchers said that this ‘hook’ part was incredibly effective at grabbing onto human cells, which might mean that the spike proteins were allegedly the result of natural selection.

“If someone were seeking to engineer a new coronavirus as a pathogen, they would have constructed it from the backbone of a virus known to cause illness,” a statement from Scripps says.

So, where did the virus came from? Between a few possible scenarios, researchers aren’t actually sure. One of them follows the story of the bat soup, while the other says the virus might have evolved only after it was contracted by humans. Still, scientists cannot point out to a definite source with no doubt as of yet.



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