Sars-CoV-2, the genetic oddity that fuels suspicion

DECRYPTION – If several scenarios are on the table, no argument allows to support one hypothesis or the other.

It is a small succession of amino acids that questions. A piece of the Sars-CoV-2 genome, called the “furin cleavage site”, which gives it its high capacity to infect human cells. “Concretely, it will allow the cleavage of spike protein and give it the perfect position to position itself on a human cell ”, explains Étienne Decroly, virologist at the University of Aix-Marseille. Such arrangements are known in several viruses, particularly influenza viruses. But the scientific literature does not identify a virus of the Sars-CoV-2 family with such a site.

Its presence there is so remarkable that many scientists see in it sufficient reason to consider the hypothesis of a laboratory leak.“With as much seriousness as that of a zoonosis”. This was stated by the authors of an open letter published in the journal Science last April, signed in particular by Ralph Baric, world expert in job gain experiences,

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