Daily Mail: Study claims coronavirus has signs of lab manipulation

AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Yesterday the Daily Mail published word of a new study which makes some eye-popping claims about the origin of the the coronavirus. The study itself hasn’t been published yet which means no outside experts have had a chance to weigh in on it. It’s probably best to take all of this with a big grain of salt for the moment.

The authors of the new paper are “British Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Dr. Birger Sørensen.” According to the Daily Mail, they are alleging a whole series of things including that they have identified evidence the virus was manipulated in a lab. But the paper goes beyond that to claim the authors have identified how it was likely done at the Wuhan lab:

Now, Dalgleish and Sørensen have authored a new study, which concludes that ‘SARS-Coronavirus-2 has no credible natural ancestor’ and that it is ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that the virus was created through ‘laboratory manipulation’.

In the 22-page paper which is set to be published in the scientific journal Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery, the scientists describe their months-long ‘forensic analysis’, looking back at experiments done at the Wuhan lab between 2002 and 2019.

Digging through archives of journals and databases, Dalgleish and Sørensen pieced together how Chinese scientists, some working in concert with American universities, allegedly built the tools to create the coronavirus.

Essentially they are claiming that this was gain of function research carried out in BSL-2 and BSL-3 sections of the lab which then escaped. Dalgleish told the Daily Mail, “I make no bones about it. The Gain of Function engineering should have been banned ages ago.”

And the authors make another claim on top of all of this. They believe that over the past year Chinese scientists have retro-engineered the virus to make it appear it arose naturally.

In another striking claim contained in the research paper, Dalgleish and Sørensen say they have evidence that after the pandemic began, Chinese scientists took samples of the COVID-19 virus and ‘retro-engineered’ it, making it appear as if it had evolved naturally.

They said they were suspicious of a raft of new strains suddenly entered into gene databases by predominantly Chinese scientists early in 2020, years after they were recorded as being collected.

‘We think that there have been retro-engineered viruses created,’ Dalgleish told DailyMail.com. ‘They’ve changed the virus, then tried to make out it was in a sequence years ago.’

I’m just going to say that this seems like an awful lot of things to cram into a 22 page paper. Any one of these claims would be pretty significant on their own.

These same researchers wrote a similar paper about the lab leak last year but claim they were unable to find anyone willing to publish because of the conventional wisdom about the lab leak theory. We’ll have to wait until this is published to see if other similarly credentialed experts find it persuasive.