18 February 2021
The Goal: A Broad and Open ConversationCoronavirus Origin Study Released
The study was conducted from January to December 2020, and is based on an interdisciplinary research approach and extensive research using a wide range of information sources. These include scientific literature, articles in print and online media, and personal communication with international researchers. They do not provide any science-based proof, but they do provide numerous significant indications:
- In contrast to early coronavirus-based epidemics such as SARS and MERS, the scientific community has yet to identify the interim host that made the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from bats to humans possible. Thus, there is no sound basis for a zoonotic theory as a possible explanation for the pandemic.
- The SARS-CoV-2 viruses are astonishingly effective at binding to human cell receptors and infecting human cells, thanks to its special cell receptor binding domains combined with a special (furin) cleavage site of the coronavirus spike protein. This is the first time a coronavirus has had both of these characteristics and indicates a nonnatural origin of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen.
- There were no bats for sale at the wet market in the center of Wuhan, which is the suspected hub of the outbreak. The Wuhan Institute of Virology, however, houses one of the largest collections of bat pathogens in the world, taken from distant caves in southern Chinese provinces. It is extremely unlikely that bats naturally made their way to Wuhan, from almost 2,000 km away, to then start a worldwide pandemic in the immediate vicinity of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
- One research group at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been researching the genetic manipulation of coronaviruses for many years with the goal of making these more infectious, more dangerous, and more fatal. This has been demonstrated by numerous publications.
- Safety measures were documented as being insufficient at the Wuhan Institute of Virology prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
- There are numerous direct indications that the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen is of laboratory origin and point to a young researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology as being the first person to be infected. In addition, there are indications that the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology into the city of Wuhan and beyond. There are also indications that the Chinese authorities conducted an examination of the institute in the first half of October 2019.
“The current coronavirus pandemic is not only dominating current headlines but will occupy us for many years to come, not least because of its social and economic effects. Dealing with the corona crisis has been the predominant topic both in politics and in the media. However, a critical science-based examination of the question of the current pandemic’s origin is of great importance today, because only on the basis of this knowledge can adequate precautions be taken to minimize the probability of similar pandemics occurring again in the future,” explains Prof. Dr. Roland Wiesendanger.
The study was completed in January 2021 and initially distributed and discussed in scientific circles. Its publication aims at opening up a wide-ranging conversation, particularly with regard to the ethical aspects of such “gain-of-function” research, which makes pathogens more infectious, dangerous, and fatal for humans. On releasing his study, Prof. Wiesendanger explained, “This can no longer only be a matter for a small group of scientists; it is urgent that it becomes a matter of public debate.”
The study has been published at http://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.31754.80323.