Author`s name Alexander Shtorm

Who let SARS-CoV-2 out of the bag?

The possibility of laboratory origin of COVID-19 has made headlines all over the world lately.

Spokespeople for the Joe Biden administration urged to make every effort to investigate the causes of the virus. The theory that was ridiculed by many a year ago now appears to be the primary version of this investigation.

Indeed, not that long ago, everyone would be skeptic about the version of the lab leak, and those who believed that version would be labeled as conspiracy theorists.

It was officially announced that the novel coronavirus was of natural origin.

A year later, The Wall Street Journal published an article under the headline The Science Suggests a Wuhan Lab Leak, which said that a non-standard nucleotide sequence CGG-CGG h caused the virus to spread more efficiently.

This variant, in short, encodes a specific amino acid.

Specialists point out that even a single CGG is very uncommon for the coronavirus, which prefers to use other options. Where did two non-standard nucleotide sequences come from?

A revelation came one year after the onset of the pandemic.

Recombination is one of the ways, in which viruses mutate, during which they exchange nucleotides. However, the CGG-CGG combination was not found among natural coronaviruses.

No mutation would be able to produce such an unnatural form, but it could appear during laboratory experiments with virus modifications.

Although other coronaviruses (SARS and MERS) were initially ineffective and evolved rapidly until they formed highly infectious strains, SARS-CoV-2 was extremely contagious from the start.

This evidence suggests that such an adaptation was obtained artificially as it was unprecedented.

The Economist noted that so far no convincing evidence had been obtained to prove the zoonotic origin of the virus. The animal species that could become an intermediate link between the bat and the human being has not been found.

Shi Zhengli, the director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Institute of Virology in Wuhan, allegedly said that the virus could have leaked from a laboratory of her institute.

For the time being, there is only indirect evidence of this assumption, and investigation will take a lot more time before the answer is found.

Stanislav Yakovlev, a publicist and blogger wrote in his Telegram channel that there was actually nothing to investigate.

According to him, the question of China's responsibility for their criminal negligence is much more important.

"Should China be fined for leaking the virus? If yes, how much should China pay and how should the money be distributed between all the affected countries? Should China be punished with sanctions? If this is the case, which sanctions should be imposed and when — during the pandemic or afterwards?" the analyst wrote.

A year later, it appears that China will not be able to avoid responsibility for SARS-CoV-2.