Scientist Explains New Study Revealing Coronavirus May Have Links to HIV
Epidemiologist and public health scientist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding took to Twitter to explain a new study that claims to have found a link between the novel Chinese coronavirus and HIV/AIDS. The study, which comes from Bioxriv, is titled “Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag.”
“We found 4 insertions in the spike glycoprotein (S) which are unique to the 2019-nCoV and are not present in other coronaviruses,” the report’s Abstract section states. “Importantly, amino acid residues in all the 4 inserts have identity or similarity to those in the HIV-1 gp120 or HIV-1 Gag.”
The report also mentions that “interestingly, despite the inserts being discontinuous on the primary amino acid sequence, 3D-modelling of the 2019-nCoV suggests that they converge to constitute the receptor binding site.”
Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, a Chinese-American epidemiologist and public health scientist, referenced the paper in a lengthy Twitter thread explaining the pathology of the virus and the possible misinformation about the epidemic provided by the Chinese government.
“BOTTOMLINE: 1) Seafood market not the source,” Feigl-Ding wrote on Twitter. “2) This RNA #coronavirus mutates really fast. 3) has unusual middle segment never seen before in any coronavirus. 4) Not from recent mixing. 5) That mystery middle segment encodes protein responsible for entry into host cells.”
The doctor added, “TO BE CLEAR: I am absolutely not saying it’s bioengineering, nor am I supporting any conspiracy theories with no evidence. I’m simply saying scientists need to do more research + get more data. And finding the origin of the virus is an important research priority. Goodnight.”
The doctor went on to discuss the possible – but unconfirmed – link between the new coronavirus and human immunodeficiency virus.
16. UPDATE ON 🦠 GENOME 🧬: a very intriguing new paper investigating the aforementioned mystery middle segment w/ “S” spike protein: likely origin from HIV. “Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag” from https://t.co/QAX3usr7vw pic.twitter.com/WeVA948xin— Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) January 31, 2020
17. ...WHOA- the authors said the finding was “Unexpectedly” related to genes from HIV virus. Notably there were 4 gene insertions (see figure in above post #16). And so, which HIV gene proteins were found in the new #coronarvirus? Gag protein and Gp120- key HIV proteins... pic.twitter.com/epN66WcObj— Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) January 31, 2020
The Bioxrv study concludes by asserting “The finding of 4 unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV, all of which have identity /similarity to amino acid residues in key structural proteins of HIV-1 is unlikely to be fortuitous in nature.”
22. The authors dunked this final conclusion: “This uncanny similarity of novel inserts in the 2019- nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag is unlikely to be fortuitous”. Wow, they sure just went straight there! 😱 What a bold paper... I don’t know what to say 🤷🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/KWcDdknMO4— Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) January 31, 2020
The paper has also been shared online by other public figures.
Oh my god. Indian scientists have just found HIV (AIDS) virus-like insertions in the 2019-nCov virus that are not found in any other coronavirus. They hint at the possibility that this Chinese virus was designed [“not fortuitous’]. Scary if true. https://t.co/h6xPX1gYvj pic.twitter.com/kCpd1I00uE
— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) January 31, 2020
The study has yet to be peer-reviewed, and as of Friday is the only such major paper to link the coronavirus to HIV.