China feels Covid heat as study backs lab theory
- Scientists tried to reverse-engineer the virus to make it appear natural, says a new research.
Amid calls for a fresh probe into the origins of Covid-19, a new study has claimed that Chinese scientists created the virus in a laboratory in Wuhan and then tried to cover their tracks by reverse-engineering versions of the virus to make it look like it evolved naturally from bats.
The virus has no “credible natural ancestor” and was created by Chinese scientists who were working on a gain-of-function research in a Wuhan lab, The Daily Mail reported on Sunday, citing a research paper compiled by British expert Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Birger Sorensen.
Incidentally, gain-of-function projects, which involve tweaking natural viruses to make them more infectious, were banned in the US during the Obama years.
The research claims scientists took a natural coronavirus “backbone” found in China’s cave bats and spliced onto it a new “spike”, turning it into the Covid-19 virus. The researchers also claim to have found “unique fingerprints” in Covid-19 samples that they say could have arisen from manipulation in a laboratory.
The authors claim they had prima facie evidence of retro-engineering in China for a year. The study alleged “deliberate destruction, concealment or contamination of data” at Chinese labs. In the paper that is likely to be published in the journal Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery, Dalgleish and Sorensen claim to have concluded how Chinese scientists built the tools to create the coronavirus.
British intel believes lab theory ‘feasible’: Report
British intelligence agencies believe it is “feasible” that the pandemic began with a virus leak from the Chinese lab, The Sunday Times reported on Sunday, prompting vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi to demand that the World Health Organization must fully investigate the origins of the deadly virus.
B.1.617 can hit easing of UK’s lockdown: Expert
The B.1.617 variant of Covid-19 could become a big problem in the UK’s plans to ease lockdown restrictions, an academician with Cambridge University has warned. Tim Gowers told The Guardian on Saturday that the UK’s fight against the virus could turn bad “very, very quickly” unless the government acts cautiously on easing measures.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the two countries will "expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with common efforts," Pyongyang's state media reported on Monday. In a letter to Kim for Korea's liberation day, Putin said closer ties would be in both countries' interests, and would help strengthen the security and stability of the Korean peninsula and the Northeastern Asian region, North Korea's KCNA news agency said.
The man set to interview Salman Rushdie in New York state moments before the renowned novelist was attacked said Sunday he initially thought someone was playing a cruel joke, but was jolted to reality when he saw blood. "It was very difficult to understand. It looked like a sort of bad prank and it didn't have any sense of reality," Henry Reese, president of non-profit group City of Asylum, told CNN. "Then when there was blood behind him, it became real."
The father of a man charged with attempting to murder novelist Salman Rushdie has locked himself in at his home in southern Lebanon and is refusing to speak to anyone, town mayor Ali Tehfe said on Sunday. The suspect in Friday's attack in New York state has been identified by police as 24-year-old Hadi Matar from New Jersey. Matar is originally Lebanese and his family comes from the south Lebanon town of Yaroun.
Salman Rushdie, the acclaimed author who was hospitalized on Friday with serious injuries after being repeatedly stabbed at a public appearance in New York state, is off a ventilator and his condition is improving, his agent and a son said on Sunday. One of Rushdie's sons said his father remained in critical condition but was able to say a few words after getting off the ventilator.