A group of Chinese scientists found that an unusual mutation that is characteristic of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, are found in another recently identified virus isolated from wild bats. This discovery refutes the myth that the agent COVID-19 could be created in the laboratory. The results of scientific work, revealing the true origin of the coronavirus, published in the journal Current Biology.
Trump said about the laboratory origin of the novel coronavirus
Coronavirus RmYN02 was discovered among the 227 samples collected in the Chinese province of Yunnan in the period from may to October 2019. It turned out that some parts of the RNA genome RmYN02 almost identical to SARS-CoV-2. For example, in the coding region 1ab proteins RNAS of both viruses are similar at 97.2%. While in that part of the genome that encodes the domain that binds to a human receptor ACE2, the similarities have not been identified. This means that RmYN02 not able to infect human cells in contrast to SARS-CoV-2.
The key similarity between the two viruses is that both have amino acid insertion at the junction of two subunits S1 and S2 protein responsible for the penetration of the pathogen into the host cell. These mutations (insertions) were considered a unique feature of SARS-CoV-2 and was present in all genomes of Wuhan coronavirus, sequenced to date. Because these mutations are unusual, some experts have suggested that they may indicate a laboratory origin of the virus.
However, inserts have RmYN02 differ from those in SARS-CoV-2, which indicates their independent origin. As RmYN02 found only in the wild, this refutes the assumption that insertions at Wuhan coronavirus can be the result of genetic manipulation.