A leading infectious diseases specialist and epidemiologist at the National Taiwan University (NTU) has proposed that the coronavirus outbreak might have been orchestrated by humans. Fang Chi-tai reasoned that, based on the virus’ unusual structure, it is likely to be man-made.
At a seminar on the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, hosted by the Taiwan Public Health Association at NTU, Mr Fang addressed the argument that the virus somehow leaked from, or was released from, the Wuhan Institute of Virology biosafety level four laboratory.
He reiterated what is already known: that many deadly viruses are currently held at the research facility, such as SARS and Ebola, mentioning that China’s track record concerning health and safety had in the past been scrutinised.
Attempting to piece together a story of how the virus might be man-made, Mr Fang drew parallels between COVID-19 and bat virus RaTG13, which is known to be housed in the lab.
Mr Fang cited a french research team who found the two virus’ to be 96 percent similar, with COVID-19 containing four more amino acids than RaTG13, making the disease easier to spread.
Fang Chi-tai has reasoned that the virus may well be man-made (Image: GETTY)
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The findings led some in the scientific community to speculate that Chinese scientists felt that the SARS outbreak some 17 years ago was too easy to deal with, and so wanted to create an “upgraded version”.
This would be easily achievable given the rapid technological advances made since the original SARS outbreak, according to Mr Fang.
The additional four amino acids is what interests the Taiwanese scientists the most, with his asserting that in nature, it is “unlikely to have four amino acids added at once."
He concluded: "Therefore, from an academic point of view, it is indeed possible that the amino acids were added to COVID-19 in the lab by humans."
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Cleaners disinfect a department store in South Korea (Image: GETTY)
He admitted that though highly unusual, it is still possible that this occurred in nature, yet "the chances are very