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calendar   Thursday - February 27, 2020

Scary Stuff

A scientific research report from December 2015 discussing bio research done at UNC. In order to R&D viral remedies, they created something very much like Wu Flu, based on Chinese horseshoe bat virus, although they called it something else: SHC014-MA15.

Construction of chimeric SL-Viruses

Both wild-type and chimeric viruses were derived from either SARS-CoV Urbani or corresponding mouse adapted (MA15) infectious clone as previously described27. Plasmids containing spike sequences for SHC014 were extracted by restriction digest and ligated into the E and F plasmid of the MA15 infectious clone. The clone was designed and purchased from Bio Basic as six contiguous cDNAs using published sequences flanked by unique class II restriction endonuclease sites (BglI). Thereafter, plasmids containing wild-type, chimeric SARS-CoV and SHC014-CoV genome fragments were amplified, excised, ligated, and purified. In vitro transcription reactions were then preformed to synthesize full-length genomic RNA, which was transfected into Vero E6 cells as previously described28. The media from transfected cells were harvested and served as seed stocks for subsequent experiments. Chimeric and full length viruses were confirmed by sequence analysis prior to use in these studies. Synthetic construction of chimeric mutant and full length SHC014-CoV were approved by the University of North Carolina Institutional Biosafety Committee and the Dual Use Research of Concern committee.

Once they built it, they became afraid to work with it because it was so potent.

As such, relative to the Urbani Spike-MA15 CoV, SHC014-MA15 constitutes a gain in pathogenesis (Fig. 1). Based on these findings, review panels may deem similar studies too risky to pursue as increased pathogenicity in mammalian models cannot be excluded. Coupled with restrictions on mouse adapted strains and monoclonal antibodies generated against escape mutants, research into CoV emergence and therapeutic efficacy may be severely limited moving forward. Together, these data and restrictions represent a crossroads of GOF research concerns; the potential to prepare and mitigate future outbreaks must be weighed against the risk of creating more dangerous pathogens. In developing policies moving forward, it is important to consider the value of the data generated by these studies and if they warrant further study or the inherent risks involved.

Their study was published 3 months earlier at Nature.

Evaluation of available SARS-based immune-therapeutic and prophylactic modalities revealed poor efficacy; both monoclonal antibody and vaccine approaches failed to neutralize and protect from infection with CoVs using the novel spike protein. On the basis of these findings, we synthetically re-derived an infectious full-length SHC014 recombinant virus and demonstrate robust viral replication both in vitro and in vivo. Our work suggests a potential risk of SARS-CoV re-emergence from viruses currently circulating in bat populations.

I am not saying AT ALL that this creation was stolen, sold off, let loose, escaped accidentally, or anything negative like that. What I am saying was that “chimeric SL viruses” were created more than 5 years ago in the USA, ostensibly to use for the development of vaccines and treatment therapies, and that the risks were obvious at that time. That sleeping protein spike thing mentioned in the news article I linked to earlier today was known about then. Probably at least 6 years ago, as this study took some time, and the whole thing was kicked off after the SARS outbreak some years before that and the new awareness of these ACE2 receptor sites on the lungs.

The bat virus vector was recognized at least as far back as 2013, when a study was published, again in Nature. The work was done by a team in Wuhan; at least one of them was later part of the group at UNC.

Later, Li and Shi jointly conducted a gain-of-function study published in the Journal of Virology in September 2015 on the MERS virus and a bat virus (strain HKU4) in 2015. Since MERS virus can enter human cells but HKU4 can not, they introduced 2 single mutations in the HKU4 spike protein and found that the new mutant S protein can enable HKU4 to enter human cells. If they mutated 2 sites in MERS spike, the resulting MERS pseudovirus (experimental virus) cannot enter human cells anymore.

Furthermore, Shi’s group joined an international group to generate a chimeric virus with the bat virus SHC014 they harvested in Yunnan. Since they know SHC014 is unlikely to bind to human ACE2, they “synthesized the SHC014 spike in the context of the replication competent, mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone”. So, that is a lab-engineered virus with SARS-CoV Mouse adapted backbone (MA15) but with SHC014 spike.

To their surprise, the chimeric virus (SHC014-MA15) can use SHC014 spike to bind to human ACE2 receptor and enter human cells. SHC014-MA15 can also cause disease in mice and cause death as well. Existing vaccines to SARS cannot protect animals from SHC014-MA15 infection. Therefore, these chimeric virus studies can lead to the generation of more pathogenic, more deadly CoV strains in mammalian models.

Due to the U.S. government-mandated pause on the gain-of-function (GOF) studies, this international research did not proceed further at that time. However, there is no evidence that Shi’s group in China stopped any further study on the track of introducing GOF mutations on the CoV.

Anything further is conjecture, quickly leading to rather paranoid conclusions. I have no way to verify researcher Shi Zengli’s remark that “"The novel 2019 coronavirus is nature punishing the human race for keeping uncivilized living habits.” or even what that means to her.

I can only say that the lab coat folks at the Wuhan CDC identified this thing almost instantly, perhaps because they’ve been working on things extremely similar to it for many years now. And the “HIV-like mutation” that is mentioned in today’s news is probably the same one that was pointed out by virologists from India soon after Wu Flu showed up, but has since been retracted for some reason ... because they were wrong, or because of politics. I don’t have that answer. But Shi Zengli was behind that criticism too. Does her research show that this situation occurs naturally as well? 

OR maybe I’ve spent 2 hours running down links and reading accredited and peer reviewed research papers published across 12 years that seem to strongly support today’s “fake news” published only to whip up public frenzy.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/27/2020 at 02:11 PM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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