Scientific Puzzles Surrounding the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus

Stunning Finding: S-Protein Insertions From HIV
On Jan 27, 2020, Prashant Pradhan et. al. from the Indian institute of Technology published a paper entitled “Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag.” The authors found 4 insertions in the spike glycoprotein (S) which are unique to the 2019-nCoV and are not present in other coronaviruses. “Importantly, amino acid residues in all 4 inserts have identity or similarity to those of HIV-1 gp120 or HIV-1 Gag. Interestingly, despite the inserts being discontinuous on the primary amino acid sequence, 3D-modelling of the 2019-nCoV suggests that they converge to constitute the receptor binding site. The finding of 4 unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV, all of which have identity/similarity to amino acid residues in key structural proteins of HIV-1 is unlikely to be fortuitous in nature.” (emphasis added) A preprint made available through bioRxiv, this article has not been peer reviewed.

There are many scientific questions regarding this novel virus. Based on recently published scientific papers, this new coronavirus has unprecedented virologic features that suggest genetic engineering may have been involved in its creation. The virus presents with severe clinical features, thus it poses a huge threat to humans. It is imperative for scientists, physicians, and people all over the world, including governments and public health authorities, to make every effort to investigate this mysterious and suspicious virus in order to elucidate its origin and to protect the ultimate future of the human race.

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