Is the COVID-19 pandemic the result of a manmade virus? And, if so, what does that say about mankind’s ability to safely conduct gain-of-function experiments? “Gain-of-function” refers to experiments in which a pathogen is altered to give it new or added functionality, such as the ability to infect humans, when before it could not, or increased infectiousness or lethality, for example.
SARS-CoV-2 is the only coronavirus with a furin cleavage site. Not even distant relatives of CoV-2 have it, and the coronaviruses that do have it share only 40% of CoV-2’s genome.
The fact that SARS-CoV-2 does not have the RBD amino acid sequence predicted by computer modeling does not rule out the possibility that it was genetically engineered, or otherwise manmade.
U.S. and Chinese researchers have genetically engineered bat coronaviruses using methods such as seamless ligation procedures that leave no sign or signature of human manipulation.
Another way you can alter a virus in a laboratory — without genetic engineering — is by culturing the virus in cells that have the human ACE2 receptor. Over time, the virus can thereby adapt and gain the ability to bind to that receptor and infect humans.
Because of the heavily censored media, any quick online search will easily lead you to believe that there’s no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 being an engineered virus, but mounting evidence points directly to that being a reality.
What some experts point to as “smoking gun” evidence for it being a manmade virus are the Antiviral Research paper, “The Spike Glycoprotein of the New Coronavirus 2019-nCoV Contains a Furin-Like Cleavage Site Absent in CoV of the Same Clade,” published in April 2020, and “Furin, a Potential Therapeutic Target for COVID-19,” posted in February 2020.
While neither of these papers makes any claims about how this gain-of-function might have come about, others have pointed out that this novel function couldn’t possibly have arisen naturally.