A new comment has once again dismissed the theory of COVID-19 laboratory leaks by applying a classic evolutionary theory to explain why SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, could only have come from nature.
The article, titled “On the Origin of SARS-CoV-2 – The Blind Watchmaker’s Argument”, was published in the academic journal Science China Life Sciences Friday by 22 scientists working at Chinese universities and research institutes.
The argument the authors applied stated that natural selection is a blind, unconscious automatic process with no goal in mind and plays the role of a blind watchmaker.
A perfectly adapted species could not be created all at once, but would have to accumulate small changes improving adaptability through random mutations over long periods of time, Xinhua reported citing Wu Chung-I, corresponding author of the commentary and professor at the School of Life Sciences at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangdong Province (southern China).
SARS-CoV-2 is “extremely well adapted to human populations and its adaptive passage from animal host to man must have been even more extensive,” said the comment, which the watchmaker argues blind, “can only happen before the onset of the current pandemic and with the help of step-by-step selection.”
“From this point of view, SARS-CoV-2 could not have evolved in an animal market in a large city and even less probably in a laboratory,” he added.
The article also states that the researchers have successfully selected strains of SARS-CoV-2 that can infect mice, which are otherwise resistant to infection. However, “enabling mutations represent such a small fraction of mutations that efficient screening for mutations by natural selection is required.”
The authors deduced that prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus may have undergone some forms of multistage evolution in human populations, leading to its extraordinary adaptability.
They said SARS-CoV-2’s claim of unnatural origin is “questionable” because no known natural law “prevents the SARS-CoV-2 genome from evolving to its current state.” They called for focusing on the natural processes linked to the origin of the virus, which would be “more productive”.