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– By 2015, conducting research that was met with an enormous amount of concern, scientists at UNC had successfully created a “chimeric, SARS-like virus” by altering the viral genome of a Chinese bat coronavirus’s spike-protein genes – sequences that code for the spikes that poke out from surface of viruses and allow them to unlock entry into hosts, in this case making the bio-engineered coronavirus incredibly contagious. This research raised eyebrows since it was clearly gain-of-function research – experimentation that seeks to increase a pathogen’s virulence, creating a more effective double-edged sword to counter – a practice banned in America from 2014 until December 2017 when NIH lifted the ban, specifically to allow research on this sort of virus. Looking at UNC’s gain-of-function research on coronavirus spike-proteins, which received its funding just before the ban was implemented and was only allowed to go forward following a special review, a virologist with the Louis Pasteur Institute of Paris warned: “If the [new] virus escaped, nobody could predict the trajectory,”
– Scientists have expressed concern about China’s ability to safely monitor this BSL-4 lab in Wuhan since it opened in 2017: “an open culture is important to keeping BSL-4 labs safe, and he questions how easy this will be in China, where society emphasizes hierarchy. ‘Diversity of viewpoint, flat structures where everyone feels free to speak up and openness of information are important.'” This lab is at most 20 miles from the wet market where the virus had been assumed to have jumped from animal to human. However the idea that a Chinese lab could have a viral sample escape is well-documented – as mentioned, one lab in Beijing has had four separate incidents of the SARS virus leaking out accidentally.
In this study, we examine the disease potential for SARS-like CoVs currently circulating in Chinese horseshoe bat populations. Utilizing the SARS-CoV infectious clone, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse adapted SARS-CoV backbone. The results indicate that group 2b viruses encoding the SHC014 spike in a wild type backbone can efficiently utilize multiple ACE2 receptor orthologs, replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells, and achieve in vitro titers equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV.
Additionally, in vivo experiments demonstrate replication of the chimeric virus in mouse lung with notable pathogenesis. Evaluation of available SARS-based immune-therapeutic and prophylactic modalities revealed poor efficacy; both monoclonal antibody and vaccine approaches failed to neutralize and protect from CoVs utilizing the novel spike protein. Importantly, based on these findings, we synthetically rederived an infectious full length SHC014 recombinant virus and demonstrate robust viral replication both in vitro and in vivo. Together, the work highlights a continued risk of SARS-CoV reemergence from viruses currently circulating in bat populations.
Full-length genome sequences were obtained from five patients at the early stage of the outbreak. They are almost identical to each other and share 79.5% sequence identify to SARS-CoV. Furthermore, it was found that 2019-nCoV is 96% identical at the whole-genome level to a bat coronavirus. The pairwise protein sequence analysis of seven conserved non-structural proteins show that this virus belongs to the species of SARSr-CoV.
originally posted by: 1questioner
a reply to: slatesteam
"Don't Cough on Me" couldn't be more appropriate...
But for me, this horrific event may have a silver lining. It may teach mankind a lesson it sorely needed to learn: Stop using your knowledge, resources, and talent to create better ways to kill each other. Instead, create better ways to live together.
originally posted by: Necrose
the # of new cases in Europe today : 1
Damn, spreading fast as hell.
death toll from a coronavirus outbreak in mainland China had reached 722 as of the end of Friday, up by 86 from the previous day
Across mainland China, there were 3,399 new confirmed infections on Friday, bringing the total accumulated number so far to 31,774.