A team of researchers claims that it found evidence of multiple viruses — including several brand-new coronaviruses — in agricultural genomes from labs in Wuhan and other Chinese cities.
Genetic sequences of crops like rice and cotton released between 2017 and 2020 contained the entire genetic sequences of new viruses that seem to be related to human diseases like MERS and SARS, according to research the team shared in the preprint server ArXiv on Sunday.
The “unexpected discovery,” as the team put it, of the presence of dangerous human diseases in these agricultural research facilities, suggests that safety protocols may not be up to par — and, as the team argues, that viruses may have accidentally been released as a result.
It’s important to note that this is all coming from preprint research that hasn’t been vetted by an academic journal or other experts in the field. While four of the six study authors are affiliated with hospitals and universities in Spain, Canada, and Japan, the first two researchers listed in the paper are independent researchers without affiliations to any research institutes, and a third is affiliated with an LLC named after himself.
China is the wild west for genetic research. The level of control and care in research is a function of standards of governance.
Anyone with any experience of how China makes decisions knows that the dictate comes down from on high and it is left to the regional managers to get results by any means necessary. That is at odds with the due care and diligence normally associated with genetic research.Back to top