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rayinreverse t1_jacqsyi wrote

Why is the wet market in Wuhan the source of this virus and NOT much larger markets in Guangdong with far higher trade numbers? Probably has something to do with the fact Wuhan is the site of the most intensive programme of research on SARS-like viruses in the world, and among those viruses was one that was 96.2 per cent the same as SARS-CoV-2


adsfew t1_jacuefn wrote

96.2% actually seems massively different to me.

With a genome size of ~30 kb and proofreading ability, that's over 1000 SNPs acquired between a hypothetical leak and the sequencing of the wild-type virus. Omicron has > 30 amino acid mutations, so only ~100 SNPs—a whole order of magnitude lower than the link to a lab strain.

Obviously you can't directly compare a virus to a mammal and the generation times are wildly different, but humans and chimps share about 96% of the genome. 96% similarity means things were phylogenetically related at some point, but I'm skeptical that a direct leak would only be 96% similar.


Squirrel_Inner t1_jadl3dk wrote

Actually, it was the entire sequence except for the RBD, according to virologist Bob Garry:

“I lined n-CoV” — so, the new coronavirus — “with the 96 percent bat Coronavirus, sequenced at the WIV. Except for the RBD” — and that means receptor-binding domain — “the S proteins are essentially identical at the amino-acid level, while all but the perfect insertion of 12 nucleotides, that adds the furin site, as to is over its whole length, essentially identical. I really can’t think of a plausible natural scenario where you get from the bat virus or one very similar to it to [SARS-CoV-2] where you insert exactly 4 amino acids 12 nucleotide[s] that all have to be added at the exact same time to gain this function…. I just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature.”

Taken from this article:


rayinreverse t1_jacvbgs wrote

That’s a really solid point, and I have no legitimate counter to it. But also the town that has a SARS lab is where a SARS virus originates and we are skeptical it came from the lab, and convinced it was from a wet market? If I show up with a piece of Swedish furniture that we need to build and the instructions have no words only pictures, you’re going to be pretty fucking convinced it’s from IKEA even if I continue to say it’s not.


adsfew t1_jad5q2k wrote

I'm not an investigator and I don't have their facts or finding, so this is all just an extremely uninformed opinion.

I absolutely think a leak is plausible. But if 96% really is the similarity to the closest lab strain, then I just wanted to put in context how dissimilar that is genetically. I think it's one of those times where 96% sounds really high, but genetically it's pretty divergent imo.

It's still totally possible that it's a leaked strain and maybe the lab just destroyed the records of that strain or something. But taken on its own, 96% isn't that high in this context.


Electric-Frog t1_jad8b5c wrote

And if all of the pieces were labelled "Ikeya", then it would be pretty obvious that it's not IKEA.

There is no way that 3 months of limited spread in a small area would cause 10 times as much variance as 2 years of borderline uncontrolled spread over a large portion of the world.


WirelessBCupSupport t1_jad55ko wrote

Plausible under-paid tech selling test animals to the Wuhan market since its closer and less obvious trying to transport to larger market?


ph4mp573r t1_jadpc7o wrote

The RaTG13 sample at Wuhan was from 2013 and was no longer live at the time SARS-COV-2 started spreading.

Before China stopped cooperating with the international community after being accused of being responsible for COVID the Wuhan lab regularly uploaded all it's sequences and results to public databases, they weren't working on any similar viruses at the time.

That should be the entire theory killed. But fear of secret bioweapons research gone awry keeps it alive.


[deleted] t1_jae73nb wrote



ph4mp573r t1_jaenz4m wrote

>RaTG13 was just one of the COVID19-like samples they collected.

Name another. It's the only one with a direct relationship they ever found. Other teams have found similar since.

>We actually don't know what other similar genomes they found in the wild.

Yes we do. They published all their research in the open like most good scientific institutions.

>They used to publish a database of the genomes they found and worked with (though even then, some parts of the database were private). In September of 2019 they took the database offline.

They continued uploading all their sequences and research to both GenBank and Virological until December of 2020 when the CCP ordered them to stop due to Trump's rhetoric.

>What we do know is that in 2018 WIV proposed adding a furin cleavage site to a SARS-like corona virus. Two years later emerges COVID19, the only known SARS-like corona virus with a furin cleavage site.

Furin cleavage sites are a natural feature of multiple different coronaviruses:

Is all of this proof that there was no lab leak? No.

But it IS proof that you and many others continue to spread false narratives and misinformation in support of a politically motivated theory on the origin of COVID-19 which obfuscates legitimate attempts at finding the true origin.