Virus that caused covid-19 pandemic was created in lab, says new research

News Network
October 24, 2022

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The virus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic was most likely created in a laboratory, a study by German and American scientists has claimed.

A team of three researchers concluded that Sars-CoV-2 was a genetically modified virus, after comparing its structure to that of “wild” and laboratory-borne equivalents.

Sars-CoV-2 literally has “fingerprints” of genetic manipulations, according to a preprint released by Valentin Bruttel of Germany’s Wuerzburg University, Alex Washburne of the US-based Selva Analytics research center and Antonius VanDongen of Duke University, also in the US. The paper published this week reported that the three scientists had found a recurring genetic structure element called a restriction site, which they describe as a sign of the virus’ genome having been “stitched” together.

“To make a virus in the lab, researchers usually engineer the viral genome to add and remove stitching sites, called restriction sites. The ways researchers modify these sites can serve as fingerprints of in vitro genome assembly,” the paper, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, claims.

The structure of Sars-CoV-2 is “anomalous in wild coronaviruses” but “common in lab-assembled viruses,” it adds, pointing to the certain “synonymous or silent mutations” that differentiate the restriction sites. The concentration of such mutations “is extremely unlikely to have arisen by random evolution,” the preprint says.

The study results show that “this virus is 99.9 percent an artificial, probably manipulated, copy of a natural virus,” Bruttel told Germany’s ntv news media outlet. The researcher said that, during his study, he found the signs of similar manipulations he carries out daily to create protein-based drugs for autoimmune diseases.

Bruttel, who holds a doctoral degree in the field of immunology and was awarded this year’s Innovation Prize at German Biotechnology Days – the national forum of the biotech industry – told ntv he had been working on the study since summer 2021, when he first noticed abnormalities in the virus genome.

The study, however, has been promptly lambasted by other immunologists, including Kristian Andersen of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Andersen branded the paper “nonsense” that was “so deeply flawed that it wouldn’t pass kindergarten molecular biology.” He also presented his own version of Sars-CoV-2 genome analysis in a series of tweets.

German virologist Friedemann Weber, who leads the Institute for Virology at the University of Giessen, said that the “fingerprints” found by Bruttel and his colleagues do not necessarily point to the artificial origin of the virus, since genetic manipulations with it are possible even without the techniques the study was pointing to. At the same time, he admitted that one “can actually do it like” the study suggests it was done but called such a method “not necessary and actually more complicated.”

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News Network
November 15,2022

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) on Monday announced a Rs 3 hike in the per-litre prices of Nandini milk and curd that was to take effect on Tuesday but withdrew the decision after prodding from the chief minister's office. 

The KMF cited the increase in processing and maintenance costs in dairy farming in the last two years to announce the hike. Officials said the cost of materials used to prepare cattle fodder had shot up by at least 30 per cent. “By June 2022, we collected close to 94.20 lakh litres of milk a day. But this has come down to 78.80 lakh litres because many small farmers have given up dairy farming due to rising costs," a KMF official said. 

Transport, packaging and electricity costs have also shot up by 20 per cent to 35 per cent, the KMF statement said. Lumpy skin disease and adverse weather conditions also added to farmers’ woes, it added, giving reasons for the hike that had been in the pipeline for nearly a year.

A source in the KMF said farmers had demanded a hike of Rs 5 per litre. “With mounting costs, farmers were demanding a Rs 5 hike. Many unions pay farmers Rs 2 to Rs 3 more from their reserve fund so that they don't drop out. The price rise was necessary to prevent losses to farmers and Rs 3 will be given entirely to farmers,” a senior KMF official said. 

By Monday evening, however, the hike was put on hold, ostensibly because the government was wary of public backlash with assembly elections just seven months away.

Speaking to reporters in Sedam, Kalaburagi district, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that a final decision on the milk price hike would be taken after November 20 by convening a meeting of the KMF chairman and senior officials. 

Following the chief minister's statement, an official confirmed that the KMF chairman had withdrawn the order. 

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News Network
November 14,2022

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Puttur, Nov 14: A youth lost his life and other suffered critical injuries after a collision between a scooter and a motorbike on Mysuru-Mani highway at Darbe in Puttur taluk of Dakshina Kannada district. 

The deceased has been identified as Naushad (20), a resident of Sampya. He was working in Red Clubs cloth shop of Puttur.

The incident occurred when he was riding his scooter to his work place on Sunday, November 13.

 A case in this connection is registered in Puttur traffic police station. 

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News Network
November 26,2022

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Mangaluru, Nov 26: A parked car caught fire triggering panic at Balmatta in Mangaluru on Saturday noon.

The car engine and battery has been damaged in the mishap. It is suspected that a short circuit caused the mishap. Fire was doused immediately, sources said.

“We were having juice at a juice outlet in Balmatta. The engine was on. Suddenly, smoke started coming out from the front portion of the car," said Rifad from Mangaluru.

The car was purchased seven years ago. Traffic ACP Geetha and other officials visited the spot.

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