Discover more from Igor’s Newsletter
Was Sars-Cov-2 DESIGNED to Spawn so Many Variants?
Ralph Baric Engineered Faster Mutating SARS Variant in 2010
As new variants of Sars-Cov-2 keep appearing faster and faster, we have to ask what makes the Sars-Cov-2 quasispecies mutate so fast, so much faster than the original Sars from 2003, spawning endless new variants.
It turns out that science may have the answer for us! A well known genius scientist Ralph Baric published an interesting piece of research in 2010:
Why is this 12 year old article so interesting? Because it shows how the leading Gain-of-Function researcher Ralph Baric was messing around with the SARS (the original SARS of 2003) virus in order to make it mutate faster and be able to spawn new variants at a greater rate.
Apparently, Ralph Baric was unhappy that the original Sars virus, while highly pathogenic, was not mutating fast enough. So he and his coauthors set out to make changes to the SARS virus to mutate faster!
Being brilliant researchers, they found a way to do it:
We report here the engineering and recovery of nsp14-ExoN mutant viruses of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) that have stable growth defects and demonstrate a 21-fold increase in mutation frequency during replication in culture.
Using novel bioinformatic tools and deep sequencing across the full-length genome following 10 population passages in vitro, we demonstrate retention of ExoN mutations and continued increased diversity and mutational load compared to wild-type SARS-CoV. The results define a novel genetic and bioinformatics model for introduction and identification of multi-allelic mutations in replication competent viruses that will be powerful tools for testing the effects of decreased fidelity and increased quasispecies diversity on viral replication, pathogenesis, and evolution.
Funding: This work was supported by Public Health Service awards from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
To restate what they did in simple language: they used computer bioinformatic tools to find genetic changes required to make the virus mutate faster upon replication, thus allowing it to spawn more variants faster, while still remaining robust and replication competent.
They found that so called “ExoN” mutations such as nsp14-ExoN, make the virus mutate 21 times faster, while keeping it replication competent (so that it is still able to replicate). They also passed it 10 times in-vitro as proof of concept, making sure that this mutant Sars variant indeed mutates 21 times faster to spawn even more variants.
Mind you, nsp14 is a “non-structural protein” that needs to be mutated to disable error correction and allow more mutations to appear during viral replication.
So what, you would say? Why should we care about this obscure protein?
Sars-Cov-2 Mutates Faster Because of NSP14
Turns out that Sars-Cov-2 is also known to mutate faster because of nsp14 mutations…
… And Sars-Cov-2 contains mutated Sars nsp14:
So, Sars-Cov-2 contains a mutated nsp14 from SARS. How does it do in real life? Turns out, very well! nsp14 mutations helped new variants to occur.
Nothing to See Here
This might be a pure coincidence: certain bats, sitting in the caves 1,000 km away from Wuhan, purely by chance decided to follow the suggestion of the 2010 Baric article and modified the nsp14 ExoN genes in order to make their virus mutate faster — just for fun.
We know the rest of the story: those bats also borrowed parts of the HIV genome, and parts of genetic code to make the NGVEGF peptide from Swine Flu of 2008. In addition, these bats illegally violated Moderna’s patent and inserted a Moderna patented sequence into the key place of the Sars-Cov-2 virus as well, obviously without Moderna’s permission.
I mean, why would Moderna give bats permission to use its patented code in Sars-Cov-2? There is no reason at all! The billions that Moderna made from Covid-19 vaccines, surely, are completely unrelated.
When done with the genetic modifications, those bats flew 1,000 km from their caves to Wuhan, China and started a global pandemic right in the “wet market” 2km away from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. All this is, of course, only a coincidence. There is nothing to see here. Please move on, ignore it, and do NOT share this article!