Dr. Li-Meng Yan – a Chinese virologist based out of Hong Kong, was forced to flee her country, leaving her job at a prestigious Hong Kong university – is now bringing proof claiming that SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, was created by Chinese scientists in a lab.
Besides the above interview, she also posted a link to her credentials on ResearchGate, revealing her affiliation with The University of Hong Kong and 13 publications which have been cited 557 times.
Remember Dr. Li-Meng Yan was on the forefront of researching the coronavirus from the beginning of the outbreak. As she explains in the above interview she came across the truth.
Here is her research and proof:
The paper then makes two critical observations for those who claim that SARS-CoV-2 has a natural origin: its RBM could have only been acquired in one of the two possible routes: 1) an ancient recombination event followed by convergent evolution or 2) a natural recombination event that occurred fairly recently.
She first dismisses option 1:
“this convergent evolution process would also result in the accumulation of a large amount of mutations in other parts of the genome, rendering the overall sequence identity relatively low. The high sequence identity between SARS-CoV-2 and ZC45/ZXC21 on various proteins (94-100% identity) do not support this scenario and, therefore, clearly indicates that SARS-CoV- 2 carrying such an RBM cannot come from a ZC45/ZXC21-like bat coronavirus through this convergent evolutionary route.”
She then dismisses option 2:
In the second scenario, the ZC45/ZXC21-like coronavirus would have to have recently recombined and swapped its RBM with another coronavirus that had successfully adapted to bind an animal ACE2 highly homologous to hACE2. The likelihood of such an event depends, in part, on the general requirements of natural recombination: 1) that the two different viruses share significant sequence similarity; 2) that they must co-infect and be present in the same cell of the same animal; 3) that the recombinant virus would not be cleared by the host or make the host extinct; 4) that the recombinant virus eventually would have to become stable and transmissible within the host species.
In regard to this recent recombination scenario, the animal reservoir could not be bats because the ACE2 proteins in bats are not homologous enough to hACE2 and therefore the adaption would not be able to yield an RBM sequence as seen in SARS-CoV-2. This animal reservoir also could not be humans as the ZC45/ZXC21-like coronavirus would not be able to infect humans. In addition, there has been no evidence of any SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-CoV-2-like virus circulating in the human population prior to late 2019. Intriguingly, according to a recent bioinformatics study, SARS-CoV-2 was well-adapted for humans since the start of the outbreak.
Which leaves just one option:
Only one other possibility of natural evolution remains, which is that the ZC45/ZXC21-like virus and a coronavirus containing a SARS-like RBM could have recombined in an intermediate host where the ACE2 protein is homologous to hACE2. Several laboratories have reported that some of the Sunda pangolins smuggled into China from Malaysia carried coronaviruses, the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of which is almost identical to that of SARS-CoV-227-29,31. They then went on to suggest that pangolins are the likely intermediate host for SARS-CoV-227-29,31. However, recent independent reports have found significant flaws in this data40-42. Furthermore, contrary to these reports27-29,31, no coronaviruses have been detected in Sunda pangolin samples collected for over a decade in Malaysia and Sabah between 2009 and 201943. A recent study also showed that the RBD, which is shared between SARS-CoV-2 and the reported pangolin coronaviruses, binds to hACE2 ten times stronger than to the pangolin ACE22, further dismissing pangolins as the possible intermediate host. Finally, an in silico study, while echoing the notion that pangolins are not likely an intermediate host, also indicated that none of the animal ACE2 proteins examined in their study exhibited more favorable binding potential to the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein than hACE2 did. This last study virtually exempted all animals from their suspected roles as an intermediate host, which is consistent with the observation that SARS-CoV-2 was well-adapted for humans from the start of the outbreak. This is significant because these findings collectively suggest that no intermediate host seems to exist for SARS-CoV-2, which at the very least diminishes the possibility of a recombinant event occurring in an intermediate host.
Fast-forwarding to the smoking gun:
Given that RBM fully dictates hACE2-binding and that the SARS RBM-hACE2 binding was fully characterized by high-resolution structures (Figure 3)37,38, this RBM-only swap would not be any riskier than the full Spike swap. In fact, the feasibility of this RBM-swap strategy has been proven. In 2008, Dr. Zhengli Shi’s group swapped a SARS RBM into the Spike proteins of several SARS-like bat coronaviruses after introducing a restriction site into a codon-optimized spike gene (Figure 5C). They then validated the binding of the resulted chimeric Spike proteins with hACE2. Furthermore, in a recent publication, the RBM of SARS-CoV-2 was swapped into the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARSCoV, resulting in a chimeric RBD fully functional in binding hACE2 (Figure 5C)39. Strikingly, in both cases, the manipulated RBM segments resemble almost exactly the RBM defined by the positions of the EcoRI and BstEII sites (Figure 5C). Although cloning details are lacking in both publications39,47, it is conceivable that the actual restriction sites may vary depending on the spike gene receiving the RBM insertion as well as the convenience in introducing unique restriction site(s) in regions of interest. It is noteworthy that the corresponding author of this recent publication, Dr. Fang Li, has been an active collaborator of Dr. Zhengli Shi since 201049-53. Dr. Li was the first person in the world to have structurally elucidated the binding between SARS-CoV RBD and hACE238 and has been the leading expert in the structural understanding of Spike-ACE2 interactions. The striking finding of EcoRI and BstEII restriction sites at either end of the SARS-CoV-2 RBM, respectively, and the fact that the same RBM region has been swapped both by Dr. Shi and by her long-term collaborator, respectively, using restriction enzyme digestion methods are unlikely a coincidence. Rather, it is the smoking gun proving that the RBM/Spike of SARS-CoV-2 is a product of genetic manipulation.”
It gets better, because the Chinese scientists then presciently tried to cover their tracks:
Although it may be convenient to copy the exact sequence of SARS RBM, it would be too clear a sign of artificial design and manipulation. The more deceiving approach would be to change a few nonessential residues, while preserving the ones critical for binding. This design could be well-guided by the high-resolution structures (Figure 3)37,38. This way, when the overall sequence of the RBM would appear to be more distinct from that of the SARS RBM, the hACE2-binding ability would be well-preserved. We believe that all of the crucial residues (residues labeled with red sticks in Figure 4, which are the same residues shown in sticks in Figure 3C) should have been “kept”. As described earlier, while some should be direct preservation, some should have been switched to residues with similar properties, which would not disrupt hACE2-binding and may even strengthen the association further [ZH: i.e., the virus was weaponized and enchanced]. Importantly, changes might have been made intentionally at non-essential sites, making it less like a “copy and paste” of the SARS RBM.