A forthcoming Australian scientific study concludes that the coronavirus causing the global pandemic contains unique properties suggesting it was manipulated in a Chinese laboratory and was not the result of a natural occurrence.
Five scientists who conducted the study discovered an unusual ability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as the pathogen behind COVID-19 is called, to easily infect humans.
The scientists said there is no sign so far that the virus can be found in other animals, including bats or the exotic wildlife sold for fresh meat at a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus was first identified and where China maintains a major laboratory studying such viruses.
The preliminary report of the study, which is now being peer-reviewed, is based on computer modeling of the virus’ ability to infect various animals, including humans. It was published May 13 on the Cornell University website arXiv.org, which is used for discussion of pre-publication papers.
The virus’ binding strength for human cells “far exceeds” similar properties for infecting other animals, he said in a statement on the forthcoming report.
“This, plus the fact that no corresponding virus has been found to exist in nature, leads to the possibility that COVID-19 is a human-created virus,” said Mr. Petrovsky, a professor at the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia.