Thursday, May 28, 2020

This is important …

… Genomic Study Points to Natural Origin of COVID-19 – NIH Director's Blog. (Hat tip, Jeff Mauvais.)

Existing computer models predicted that the new coronavirus would not bind to ACE2 as well as the SARS virus. However, to their surprise, the researchers found that the spike protein of the new coronavirus actually bound far better than computer predictions, likely because of natural selection on ACE2 that enabled the virus to take advantage of a previously unidentified alternate binding site. Researchers said this provides strong evidence that that new virus was not the product of purposeful manipulation in a lab. In fact, any bioengineer trying to design a coronavirus that threatened human health probably would never have chosen this particular conformation for a spike protein.
Francis Collins is the director of the NIH and the Human Genome Project.

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