The Wuhan coronavirus (formally known as Covid-19) is not your common cold or flu. Analysts who try to downplay the severity of this new disease are doing the world a disservice. We don’t fully understand what we are dealing with here.
What we do know is terrifying.
According to researchers from Nanki University in Tianjin China, Covid-19 contains a strange HIV-like mutation that may make it more contagious and give it properties not found in other coronaviruses.
The Chinese study builds upon earlier research in India that concluded that the disease was unlikely to have originated in nature. This comes amid speculation that Covid-19 originated in a Chinese research lab located in Wuhan. While these theories remain unconfirmed, they should not be dismissed as conspiracies.
Although the arguably-corrupt World Health Organization (who) has declined to declare Covid-19 a global pandemic, it already is one according to two of three CDC criteria: It has sustained person-to-person spread, and it kills people. The third criterion (worldwide community spread) is up for debate, but the data speak for themselves.
While the majority of cases are in mainland China, the caseload is soaring around the globe with new hot spots developing in South Korea, Iran and Italy. The number of new infections outside China is growing exponentially, and some researchers believe this is only the beginning.
Covid-19 is a coronavirus. These are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to highly fatal respiratory syndromes like SARS and MERS.
Dr. Li Wenliang, one of the first non-government medical professionals to speak openly about the new disease, initially assumed it was a mutated version of SARS, a disease that ravaged mainland China and Hong Kong in 2003 before being leaked again from Chinese labs in 2004.
While SARS killed around 10% of patients, Covid-19 kills around 2%. The difference is that Covid-19 is significantly more contagious. This may be due to HIV and Ebola-like mutations in the structure of the virus.
In late January, Indian researchers publish a now-retracted paper that claimed to have found “HIV insertions” in the Wuhan coronavirus. They took this as evidence that the virus may have been manmade.
This is startling as it is quite unlikely for a virus to have acquired such unique insertions naturally in a short duration of time. This structural change might have also increased the range of host cells that 2019-nCoV can infect
The Indian research was widely disparaged by the scientific community, and the authors retracted their paper. But now, research from the Nankai University in Tianjin, China is reporting similar findings.
According to the new research, Covid-19’s ability to bind to cells is 100 to 1,000 times stronger than SARS. They claim that, unlike other coronaviruses, Covid-19 attacks a protein called furin – just like Ebola and HIV. They believe this is the reason why the virus seems to be significantly more infectious than similar diseases like SARS and MERS.
Covid-19’s unique furin pathway could be the reason why some doctors are finding limited success in treating the virus with HIV antiviral drugs.
Covid-19’s unique HIV-like properties support the controversial theory that the virus originated in a lab – specifically the Wuhan Institute of Virology located near the epicenter of the outbreak.
On some level, Covid-19 seems to be a perfectly engineered “Disease X.”
Covid-19 spreads rapidly and is deadly enough to be a threat – but no so deadly that it stops its own spread. It has a long symptom-free incubation period that makes it hard to detect. The fact that Covid-19 victims may become re-infected could make the disease impossible to ever eradicate.
U.S. Senator Tom Cotton believes the virus originated in a Chinese “superlab” and may have links to the country’s biological warfare program.
When does a “conspiracy theory” become a legitimate theory? It’s a hard line to tread. But the scientific community should not censor controversial opinions that have convincing support.
In January, Indian researchers decided that Covid-19 was unlikely to have a natural origin because of its unusual similarities with HIV and Ebola. Their work was censored and pulled from the web because of backlash from the scientific community. Now researchers from Tianjin, China are reporting similar findings, and the evidence is mounting against those who claim Covid-19 originated in a seafood market.
It’s still unclear how and where Covid-19 originated. But the international community needs to step up the pressure on China to get the truth about this virus.
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This article was edited by Sam Bourgi for CCN.com. If you see a breach of our Code of Ethics or Rights and Duties of the Editor, or find a factual, spelling, or grammar error, please contact us and we will look at it as soon as possible.
Last modified: June 28, 2020 11:14 PM UTC