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Two U.S. experts have penned a damning essay saying that science strongly suggests the novel coronavirus was manufactured inside a Chinese laboratory.
The claim was made by Drs Stephen Quay, CEO of biopharmaceutical company Atossa Therapeutics Inc, and Richard Muller, a physics professor at the University of California Berkeley, in The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.
In the op-ed, the men say their proof lies in genome sequencing, or analyzing the DNA, of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
There are 36 DNA segments - made up of three-letter 'words' - that viruses use to make an amino acid known as L-arginine.
L-arginine helps make proteins but is also often used in so-called 'gain of function' research, which alters viruses to make them more transmissible and more deadly.
The new virus contains a segment called CGG-CGG, which is considered rare even in experiments in which researchers are trying to manipulate virus.
But even more telling is that this combination has never been found naturally in any other type of coronavirus, including in SARS and MERS, both of which are cousins of the new virus.
'A virus simply cannot pick up a sequence from another virus if that sequence isn't present in any other virus,' Quay and Muller wrote.
'The CGG-CGG combination has never been found naturally. That means the common method of viruses picking up new skills, called recombination, cannot operate here.'
The essay comes after an explosive study last week claimed that Chinese scientists created COVID-19 in the Wuhan lab, then tried to cover their tracks by reverse-engineering versions of the virus to make it look like it evolved naturally from bats.
Dr. Stephen Quay and Richard Muller have penned a damning essay claiming the genome sequencing of COVID-19 strongly suggests that the virus was manufactured inside a Chinese laboratory