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Researchers from the US and China suggested creating viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 before the COVID pandemic

Within the time frame of submitting the research grant proposal to DARPA, an American scientist had already created ‘SARS-like chimera’ viruses.

Scientists from the United States aimed to work with the controversial Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) to create new coronaviruses similar to the COVID-19 virus in 2018, according to newly released documents.

The U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit public health research group, published documents related to a U.S.-China research grant proposal called DEFUSE. Under the research program, “American scientists planned to work with the Wuhan Institute of Virology to engineer novel coronaviruses with the features of SARS-CoV-2 the year before the virus emerged from that city,” the nonprofit said in a Jan. 18 post.

Multiple U.S. agencies believe the COVID-19 virus leaked from the WIV. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report in June last year lending credence to the theory. “ The genome of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, matches the viruses described in the research proposal.”

For instance, the COVID-19 virus has a furin cleavage site positioned in its spike protein at the S1/S2 junction. Spike proteins are found on the surface of the COVID-19 virus and facilitate the microbe’s entry into healthy cells. This spike protein is cleaved or split into two parts—the S1 and S2 subunits. Furin cleavage site refers to a sequence of 12 nucleotides in the COVID-19 virus foreign to the coronavirus class to which SARS-CoV-2 belongs. None of the several other viruses in the class have this sequence. The furin cleavage site attracts the furin protein, which makes the virus more infectious.

The presence of this foreign furin cleavage site is controversial since it could mean the virus was engineered in a lab where this sequence was inserted into the COVID-19 virus. This essentially negates the wet market theory propagated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and echoed by authorities. “The furin cleavage site supercharged the virus into the worst pandemic pathogen in a century. Virologists have yet to identify one in any other related coronavirus.”

U.S. Right to Know points out that scientists in the DEFUSE proposal had also proposed to insert furin cleavage sites at the S1/S2 junction of the coronaviruses’ spike protein, “precisely where the furin cleavage site in SARS-CoV-2 is found

In addition to this, there are three more commonalities between the viral modifications proposed in DEFUSE and the COVID-19 virus:

The proposal intended to assemble viruses in six segments. The COVID-19 virus can also be divided into “six contiguous genomic pieces,” the nonprofit noted.
DEFUSE aimed to identify coronaviruses up to 25 percent different from the SARS disease. SARS-CoV-2 is within a 25 percent genetic variation range from SARS.
When the COVID-19 virus first appeared, it came across as highly infectious even though it had not evolved much in humans. The receptor binding domain of the virus seemed to be “finely tuned” for human ACE2 receptors but did not exhibit much genetic variation, thus making it difficult to prove that it was of natural origin. The ACE2 receptor is present in several cell types and tissues in the human body and acts as a cellular doorway for the COVID-19 virus to infect people. “The documents confirm the scientists working with the Wuhan lab sought to select for receptor binding domains that bind well to human ACE2 in their research,” the nonprofit stated.

New Spike Proteins
The DEFUSE grant proposal was led by Peter Daszak, the President of the New York-based nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance, and was submitted to the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which ended up rejecting the project.

The documents also revealed that an American virologist who worked with the WIV intended to engineer new spike proteins. “Language in the proposal indicates this work may have involved unpublished viruses, generating unpublished engineered spike proteins,” U.S. Right to Know said.

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