According to American, U.S. intelligence agencies have zeroed in on a bat coronavirus modified during experiments inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) as a possible “backbone” for the virus behind thegovernment officials. The virus in question is called RaTG13 and was first mentioned in the State Department fact sheet on the in January. U.S. intelligence agencies to conduct a three-month inquiry into the virus origin after an earlier study revealed spy agencies are divided over the two competing origin theories — that the virus leaked from a Chinese laboratory or emerged naturally from an animal to .
, RaTG13 is not regarded as the immediate precursor of the virus behind SAR-CoV-2, the formal name for the coronavirus. “RaTG13 is significant for other reasons concerning its potential as a backbone for creating parthenogenic chimeric viruses,” one official said. “It is also significant given the suspect behavior of PRC scientists regarding disclosure of information about this virus and the and questionable nature of previous disclosures about its origin, genomic structure, and laboratory experimentation.”
Steven C. Quay, a prominent virologist who took part in a, revealed in a scientific analysis made public in January that RaTG13 “is not a new biological entity but shows evidence. Of genetic manipulation in the laboratory.” According to the fact sheet, WIV researchers beganexperimenting in 2016. There was no that the experiments were halted before the pandemic in Wuhan in December 2019.
“WIV researchers conducted experiments involving RaTG13, the bat coronavirus identified by the WIV in January 2020 as its closest sample to SARS-CoV-2 (96.2% similar),” the State Department said. “The WIV became a focal point forand had since studied animals, including mice, bats, and pangolins.” Significantly, the Wuhan institute has on “gain-of-function” research that involves modifying animal viruses found in nature to make them more infectious to humans. The institute researched engineering these so-called chimeric viruses, the fact sheet said. , including RaTG13, sampled from a cave in Yunnan Province in 2013 after several miners died of SARS-like illness,” the fact sheet contended. Emails from Anthony Fauci, the Trump and in charge of dealing with the pandemic, revealed he was informed in February 2020 that the virus might have been manipulated in a laboratory. Emails made public this include one sent to Dr. Fauci from Kristen G. Andersen, a virologist studying the COVID-19 virus, that states its genome does not appear to have evolved naturally and that some features “(potentially) look engineered.”
So far, China has denied the lab-leak theory and refused toto its records on a bat and other coronaviruses being worked on before the pandemic outbreak. One key to learning the outbreak’s origin will be to obtain documents and data explaining why the WIV was engaged in laboratory alterations of RaTG13 and other viruses. According to the State Department, WIV officials altered and then removed of the lab work on RaTG13.