U.S. virologists synthesized infectious SARS-like corona virus in 2008

A group of U.S. virologists reported “the design, synthesis, and recovery of the largest synthetic replicating life form,” a 29.7-kb bat SARS-like coronavirus in an article published in the U.S. scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) as early as October 2008.

The article reported the creation in laboratory of the coronavirus, which was not only infectious in mice, but also in human airway epithelial cell cultures.

Above is a screenshot of the research article “Synthetic recombinant bat SARS-like coronavirus is infectious in cultured cells and in mice” published on PNAS.

A link to the PNAS article is here: https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2008/11/26/0808116105.full.pdf

Researchers have the ability to design and synthesize various SARS-like coronaviruses, said Ralph Baric, professor at the University of North Carolina and leading author of the article published in the scientific journal PNAS.

Since 1983, Baric has published over 400 papers in his own name or as an instructor, including 268 papers on coronavirus. He has been exploring the analysis, manipulation and creation of coronavirus, and recombining, cloning, modifying and transforming different viruses for more than 30 years, according to a report by China’s Science and Technology Daily on Thursday.

U.S. virologists synthesized a SARS-like coronavirus and announced this in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America in 2008.

Insufficient fund had been the biggest headache of Baric in his study of coronavirus until the outbreak of SARS in 2003, which proved to the world the lethality of coronavirus and the tremendous damage it could inflict on humanity.

In 2006, after an unknown number of generations of targeted culture of viruses by Baric’s team, a mutation that can successfully cause rapid death in mice appeared, and this new virus can infect humans and lead to pneumonia and higher mortality.

In a report, he warned that the technology of synthesizing virus sequences has the potential to be used to make biological weapons of mass destruction. However, his warning was seen as an advertisement by warmongers.

The Fort Detrick lab researchers were among the inventors of many of Baric’s granted patents. This practice is more conducive to covert patent sharing, so that the staff of the lab will no longer have to pay patent fees for virus preparation in the future.

CEN Editor’s Note: A “conflict of interest statement” for one of the authors of the paper, Robert E. Johnston (“R.E.J.”) states he “is a coinventor of the Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis (VEE) expression vector technology and holds an equity interest in AlphaVax, Inc., the company that has licensed this technology from the University of North Carolina.”

Source: CGTN, 6 August 2021