‘Smoking gun’: Scientist claims evidence COVID-19 created by researchers in Chinese lab

COVID-19 may have been intentionally created in a Chinese lab, a Rutgers University professor told the United Nations this week, and another expert says the evidence has reached “the level of a smoking gun.”

The virus that created a pandemic and killed millions around the world may have been made in China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, Richard H. Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers, was quoted saying in a Wall Street Journal article.

Mr. Ebright cited evidence found in a 2018 document from the lab that said it was working on exactly that. The document “elevates the evidence provided by the genome sequence from the level of noteworthy to the level of a smoking gun,” Mr. Ebright said in the article by former New York Times editor Nicholas Wade.

The disclosed documents describe a grant proposal known as Project DEFUSE, which outlined intentions to examine bat coronaviruses potentially transmissible to humans. The grant proposal was not approved by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and failed to secure funding.

Nonetheless, speculation persists about whether the research may have proceeded with support from the Chinese government. Project DEFUSE also suggested modifications to bat coronavirus spike proteins, introducing “human-specific cleavage sites.” Notably, these techniques are similar to those some biologists surmise could have played a role in crafting the coronavirus responsible for the global health crisis.

“Viruses made according to the DEFUSE protocol could have been available by the time COVID-19 broke out, sometime between August and November 2019,” Mr. Wade wrote. “This would account for the otherwise unexplained timing of the pandemic along with its place of origin.”

Mr. Wade asserted that the genetic structure of the coronavirus that eventually spread around the world indicates “the virus’ laboratory birth.”

“Whereas most viruses require repeated tries to switch from an animal host to people, SARS-CoV-2 infected humans out of the box, as if it had been preadapted while growing in the humanized mice called for in the DEFUSE protocol,” Mr. Wade wrote.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

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