January 12, 2022, “Rising” cohost Ryan Grim reviewed the content of the National Institutes of Health emails released by the House Oversight Committee Republicans. According to Grim, the emails:
“… paint a damning picture of U.S. government officials wrestling with whether the novel coronavirus may have leaked out of a lab they were funding, deciding that it may very well have, and then actively suppressing those questions.”
Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, circulated a summary of a conference call.
“… the likely explanation could be something as simple as passage SARS-live CoVs in tissue culture on human cell lines (under BSL-2) for an extended period of time, accidentally creating a virus that would be primed for rapid transmission between humans via gain of furin site (from tissue culture) and adoption to human ACE2 receptor via repeated passage …
So, I think it becomes a question of how do you put all this together, whether you believe in this series of coincidences, what you know of the lab in Wuhan, how much could be in nature — accidental release or natural event? I am 70:30 or 60:40.”
A note from professor and microbiologist Robert (Bob) Garry, Ph.D.,1 reads:
“Before I left the office for the ball, I aligned the nCoV with the 96% bat CoV sequenced at WIV. Except for the RBD the S proteins are essential identical at the amino acid level — well all but the perfect insertion of 12 nucleotides that adds [sic] the furin site.
S2 is over its whole length essentially identical. I really can’t think of a plausible natural scenario where you get from the bat virus or one very similar to it to nCoV where you insert exactly 4 amino acids 12 nucleotide [sic] that all have to be added at the exact same time to gain this function — that and you don’t change any other amino acids in S2?
I just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature. Do the alignment of the spikes at the amino acid level — its [sic] stunning. Of course, in the lab it would be easy to generate the perfect 12 base insert that you wanted.
Another scenario is that the progenitor of nCoV was a bat virus with the perfect furin cleavage site generated over evolutionary times. In this scenario RaTG13 the WIV virus was generated by a perfect deletion of 12 nucleotides while essentially not changing any other S2 amino acid [sic]. Even more implausible IMO. That is the big if.”