Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag
We are currently witnessing a major epidemic caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The evolution of 2019-nCoV remains elusive. We found 4 insertions in the spike glycoprotein (S) which are unique to the 2019-nCoV and are not present in other coronaviruses. Importantly, amino acid residues in all the 4 inserts have identity or similarity to those in the HIV-1 gp120 or HIV-1 Gag. Interestingly, despite the inserts being discontinuous on the primary amino acid sequence, 3D-modelling of the 2019-nCoV suggests that they converge to constitute the receptor binding site. The finding of 4 unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV, all of which have identity /similarity to amino acid residues in key structural proteins of HIV-1 is unlikely to be fortuitous in nature. This work provides yet unknown insights on 2019-nCoV and sheds light on the evolution and pathogenicity of this virus with important implications for diagnosis of this virus.
This now-withdrawn paper claims that SARS-CoV-2 has “uncanny similarity” to HIV-1, implying that it was engineered or recombinated with it in some way.
It has been widely debunked by other scientists. Such inserts can also be found in bacteria, bacteriophages (viruses that only attack bacteria), and other viruses, including other coronaviruses (directly contradicting the paper). In fact, any six-letter sequence is likely to match against an HIV protein.
At this time we do not believe this paper’s claims have merits.
Some earlier theories pointed out that the location of the Wuhan Institute of Virology had changed on Google Maps following its exposure as a possible outbreak source. The theories concluded that this move was intentionally done to increase its distance from the Huanan Seafood Market, so as to make its proximity seem less suspicious.
In reality, unlicensed mapping activites in China are illegal, and a mandatory algorithm must be applied to randomize the locations of all landmarks (including buildings) in China:
Restrictions on geographic data in China
Due to national security concerns, the use of geographic information in the People’s Republic of China is restricted to entities that obtain a special authorization from the administrative department for surveying and mapping under the State Council.
According to articles 7, 26, 40 and 42 of the Surveying and Mapping Law of the People’s Republic of China, private surveying and mapping activities have been illegal in mainland China since 2002. The law prohibits:
“publishing, without authorization, significant geographic information and data concerning the territorial air, land and waters, as well as other sea areas under the jurisdiction of the People’s Republic of China.” — The National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation of China, Surveying and Mapping Law of the People’s Republic of China
GCJ-02 (colloquially Mars Coordinates, officially Chinese: 地形图非线性保密处理算法; literally: ’Topographic map non-linear confidentiality algorithm’) is a geodetic datum formulated by the Chinese State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (Chinese: 国测局; pinyin: guó-cè-jú), and based on WGS-84. It uses an obfuscation algorithm which adds apparently random offsets to both the latitude and longitude, with the alleged goal of improving national security. There is a license fee associated with using this mandatory algorithm in China.
A marker with GCJ-02 coordinates will be displayed at the correct location on a GCJ-02 map. However, the offsets can result in a 100 – 700 meter error from the actual location if a WGS-84 marker (such as a GPS location) is placed on a GCJ-02 map, or vice versa.
We therefore conclude that the manipulation of WIV’s location was performed algorithmically, and not intentionally ordered by any individual or group.
Arrest of Dr. Charles Lieber and Two Chinese Nationals
On January 28, the Department of Justice issued the following press release:
Harvard University Professor and Two Chinese Nationals Charged in Three Separate China Related Cases (January 28, 2020)
Dr. Charles Lieber, 60, Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, was arrested this morning and charged by criminal complaint with one count of making a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement. Lieber will appear this afternoon before Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler in federal court in Boston, Massachusetts.
Yanqing Ye, 29, a Chinese national, was charged in an indictment today with one count each of visa fraud, making false statements, acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy. Ye is currently in China.
Zaosong Zheng, 30, a Chinese national, was arrested on Dec. 10, 2019, at Boston’s Logan International Airport and charged by criminal complaint with attempting to smuggle 21 vials of biological research to China. On Jan. 21, 2020, Zheng was indicted on one count of smuggling goods from the United States and one count of making false, fictitious or fraudulent statements. He has been detained since Dec. 30, 2019.
Unbeknownst to Harvard University beginning in 2011, Lieber became a “Strategic Scientist” at Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) in China and was a contractual participant in China’s Thousand Talents Plan from in or about 2012 to 2017.
Under the terms of Lieber’s three-year Thousand Talents contract, WUT paid Lieber $50,000 USD per month, living expenses of up to 1,000,000 Chinese Yuan (approximately $158,000 USD at the time) and awarded him more than $1.5 million to establish a research lab at WUT.
According to court documents, on April 20, 2019, federal officers interviewed Ye at Boston’s Logan International Airport. During the interview, it is alleged that Ye falsely claimed that she had minimal contact with two NUDT professors who were high-ranking PLA officers. However, a search of Ye’s electronic devices demonstrated that at the direction of one NUDT professor, who was a PLA Colonel, Ye had accessed U.S. military websites, researched U.S. military projects and compiled information for the PLA on two U.S. scientists with expertise in robotics and computer science. Furthermore, a review of a WeChat conversation revealed that Ye and the other PLA official from NUDT were collaborating on a research paper about a risk assessment model designed to decipher data for military applications. During the interview, Ye admitted that she held the rank of Lieutenant in the PLA and admitted she was a member of the CCP.
In August 2018, Zheng entered the United States on a J-1 visa and conducted cancer-cell research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston from Sept. 4, 2018, to Dec. 9, 2019. It is alleged that on Dec. 9, 2019, Zheng stole 21 vials of biological research and attempted to smuggle them out of the United States aboard a flight destined for China. Federal officers at Logan Airport discovered the vials hidden in a sock inside one of Zheng’s bags, and not properly packaged. It is alleged that initially, Zheng lied to officers about the contents of his luggage, but later admitted he had stolen the vials from a lab at Beth Israel. Zheng stated that he intended to bring the vials to China to use them to conduct research in his own laboratory and publish the results under his own name.
Author’s Note: The lab Dr. Lieber was reportedly paid to build is not the BSL-4 lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
However, consider that this press release was issued 5 days after Wuhan entered lockdown, on the 23rd.
What are the odds this is unrelated?
Statement about nCoV and our pandemic exercise
In October 2019, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security hosted a pandemic tabletop exercise called Event 201 with partners, the World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Recently, the Center for Health Security has received questions about whether that pandemic exercise predicted the current novel coronavirus outbreak in China. To be clear, the Center for Health Security and partners did not make a prediction during our tabletop exercise. For the scenario, we modeled a fictional coronavirus pandemic, but we explicitly stated that it was not a prediction. Instead, the exercise served to highlight preparedness and response challenges that would likely arise in a very severe pandemic. We are not now predicting that the nCoV-2019 outbreak will kill 65 million people. Although our tabletop exercise included a mock novel coronavirus, the inputs we used for modeling the potential impact of that fictional virus are not similar to nCoV-2019.
We could not find evidence to support the involvement of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, the World Economic Forum, or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the spreading of SARS-CoV-2, other than Event 201’s relative closeness in time to the first reports of an outbreak.
We would like to say that, if any of these organizations had malicious motives, we likely would not know of Event 201. Only in movies do evil villains explain their plan to the audience before carrying it out. Real life has no plot.
To the best of our knowledge, no measure were taken to hide the existence of Event 201 from the public.
2019 Military World Games
2019 Military World Games
The 2019 Military World Games, officially known as the 7th CISM Military World Games and commonly known as Wuhan 2019, was held from October 18–27, 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei, China.
What brought the 2019 World Games to the spotlight was its connection to Event 201 – both began on the same day, October 18, 2019:
About the Event 201 exercise
The next severe pandemic will not only cause great illness and loss of life but could also trigger major cascading economic and societal consequences that could contribute greatly to global impact and suffering. The Event 201 pandemic exercise, conducted on October 18, 2019, vividly demonstrated a number of these important gaps in pandemic preparedness as well as some of the elements of the solutions between the public and private sectors that will be needed to fill them.
Again, as previously stated, the only connection to these two events is the date in which they occured. We could not find any other evidence that connect these together. 1 in 365 odds are not unlikely.
What is interesting, however, is the theory that SARS-CoV-2 emerged from an infected soldier at the World Games, as claimed in Lijian Zhao vs. Cui Tiankai. From the Wikipedia article, “This was also the second biggest international sport event to be held in the year 2019 in China after hosting the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.” A lot of people, from all around the world, gathering in a relatively small area, could indeed be a genuine source of outbreak.
However, given that there are no known reservoirs of SARS-CoV-1 anywhere else in the world other than China, it is unlikely any international soldier was infected with it before the Military World Games.
We could not find any evidence that shows an infected soldier began the pandemic in Wuhan. It is likely that if China had any such evidence they would have already revealed it by now.