Wuhan Lab announced for the first time a family tree of bat coronaviruses that may be the ‘tip of the iceberg’
While everyone in the West is busy talking about the true origin of the coronavirus, the controversial Wuhan Lab for the first time announced today it has discovered a new lineage that contains distant relatives of the virus that causes Covid-19.
In a paper released last Friday on bioRvix, a preprint server for Biology, researchers at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology said they have found a new branch in the family tree of bat coronaviruses that are more distantly related to the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 than several other known viruses.
It was the first time that the facility, which has become the center of a controversy that the Covid-19 pandemic could have started from a lab leak, had released details of the viruses, which it collected several years ago.
The researchers said that the new lineage virus reported in their study showed weak binding affinity to bat “but not human ACE2 though possess one deletion in the RBD of the spike which is different from the previously reported SARSr-CoVs in bat.”
“These results suggested the [coronaviruses] we discovered from bats now may be just the tip of the iceberg,” the team wrote in the paper on the server bioRvix.
“These results suggested the SARSr-CoVs we discovered from bat now may be just the tip of the iceberg. These viruses may have experienced selection or recombination events in the animal hosts and render viral adaption to a new host then spread to the new species before they jumped into human society. So surveillance to this new lineage virus should be conducted to prevent future outbreaks, as viruses from the other two lineages of SARSr-CoV caused SARS and COVID-19, respectively,” the researchers wrote in the paper.
According to a report from China Morning Post who first found the research work, “the latest research examines eight viruses gathered during a 2015 visit to a town in the southwestern province of Yunnan, where researchers from the Wuhan institute (WIV) collected over 1,000 samples from bats in and around a mining cave over a three-year period.”
In their research of the cave, the team found nine viruses to be in a category that includes the viruses that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome and Covid-19, the Wuhan researchers said in the journal Nature in November.
One, known as RaTG13, was published by the researchers last February and remains the closest known relative to Sars-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19. The remaining eight appear to be the viruses categorized in the latest paper.
Meanwhile, Dr. Anothny Fauci finally admits that COVID-19 may have come from Wuhan Lab and called for further investigation. In an interview with Politifact’s Katie Sanders about whether he was still confident that COVID-19 emerged naturally, Dr. Fauci, who has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, said he is ‘not convinced’ of COVID-19 natural origin.
In addition, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing a previously undisclosed US intelligence report, three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were so sick in November of 2019 that they sought hospitalization shortly before the confirmed outbreak.