A lab leak is now the most likely source of Covid, MPs have heard, because after two years of searching, an animal host has never been found.
Speaking to the Science and Technology Selection Committee, Dr. Alina Chan, a specialist in gene therapy and cell engineering at MIT and Harvard, said there is also a risk that Covid-19 is a modified virus.
Dr. Chan said: “I think the origin of the laboratory is more likely than not. At this time, it is not certain that people who know the origin of the pandemic will come forward. But we live in an age where so much information is stored that it will eventually come to light.
“We have heard from many of the leading virologists that a genetically modified origin is reasonable and that includes virologists who made modifications to the first Sars virus.
“We know that this virus has a unique characteristic, called a furin cleavage site, and without this characteristic there is no way that this would cause this pandemic.
“A proposal was leaked showing that EcoHealth and the Wuhan Institute of Virology were developing a pipeline to insert new furin cleavage sites. So you find these scientists who said at the beginning of 2018 ‘I’m going to put horns on the horses’ and at the end of 2019, a unicorn shows up in the city of Wuhan. ”
The furin cleavage site in Covid-19 is part of the spike protein that helps it enter cells.
The spike proteins are tiny grappling hooks that attach to receptors on human cells. They have two sections, a gutter section and a cell entry section.
Once attached, the virus makes use of the enzyme furin, which is present in human cells, to cut the attached section, leaving space for the cell entry section of the spike protein to fuse with the cell membrane and between . It is the reason why Covid-19 is so contagious.