Questions for Scientists and the WHO on the origin of SARS-COV-2
(Part 3: Questions 184 – 260)
Decentralised Radical Autonomous Search Team Investigation into Covid-19 (DRASTIC)
This is an updated list of further questions which have been generated by a group of researchers working together on Twitter to investigate the origins of SARS-COV-2 and explore the possibility that it resulted from a laboratory acquired infection among other theories.
The researchers are microbiologists, renegade virologists, investigative reporters, analysts and ordinary citizens, some of whom prefer to remain anonymous in order to protect their positions, privacy and safety.
There are some repeat questions as it is a work in progress!
Any questions should be addressed to the curator of this list: firstname.lastname@example.org
or via Twitter: @billybostickson
Questions are credited via Twitter handles.
184. Professor Bill Gallaher claimed that SARS-COV-2 emerged naturally from cross-infection with HKU9 in Macrobats in Yunnan.
Karst South East China
How is this scientifically possible given?
The divergence of microbat/macrobat viruses with zero evidence of HKU9 ever infecting microbats
There is also no real evidence of spillover between Pteropids and Rhinolophoid species, both groups have diverse but rather different pathogens
2. Geographical and bat habitat evidence in Yunnan
Small pteropids (like Cynopterus, Rousettus) possibly, larger pteropids are virtually extinct in mainland China. However there is no data to support any Pteropid migration in China, though clear evidence of regional migration in other species
Zero evidence of local infections before Wuhan infections with SARS-COV-2
185. If HKU9 cannot recombine with RaTG13 or a cousin of RaTG13 in the wild, but only in a lab using insect cell expression systems, baculovirus, bacmid & Vero E6, as revealed by George Gao’s research, surely this is evidence of lab origin rather than natural origin?
B Beta Coronaviruses
186. How can “natural origin” proponents the following anomalies found in SARS-COV-2?
1. PRRA is an unusual sequence to insert to generate a furin site
2. CCTCGGCGGGCA introduces an unnecessarily G and C rich region
3. RNA alignment: “insert” is actually not in frame, but CTCCTCGGCGGG, or -2 out of frame.
lab leak of mutated virus (via repeated serial passage to attenuate or make it more pathogenic) also can explain:
187. Was RaTG13 or batCOv 4991 ever applied to Vero E6 (Green Monkey Kidney) cells to see if more virus particles can be cultured?
188. Was the Spike gene from ratg13 or BatCov 4991 ever inserted into a closely related CoV backbone (WIV1) to try to generate virus particles in Vero E6 cells?
189. Did WIV use RatG13 or BatCOv 4991 in an ACE2 cell entry assay to see if the virusers can enter human cells via ACE2 and replicate ?
190. What did the WIV & EcoHealth do with the closest related CoV to SARS-CoV-2, which was discovered in July 2013 in a cave in Mojiang county, also in Yunnan province?
191. Why did Shi’s 2020 paper not cite the original WIV paper that described their discovery of RaTG13?
192. The total genome of RaTG13 was sequenced from a bat fecal sample which WIV researchers transported from Yunnan to Wuhan in 2013, and was only described in 2020 by Zhengli Shi’s group after the SARS-CoV-2 showed a high match to the truncated RdRp sequence BatCov 4991.
Was RaTG13 characterized after being discovered in 2013?
193. According to Vox, Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth, who works closely with the WIV and Shi Zhengli’s group, said
“No one [in Wuhan] cultured viruses from those samples that were 20 percent different…they were thrown in a freezer”
Daszak — The Freezer
However, On May 19 2020, someone from the WIV uploaded sequencing data of RaTG13 dating back to 2017 and 2018:
The amplicon sequencing data on NCBI clearly shows that the WIV accessed the sample repeatedly in 2017 and 2018.
Amplicon Sequences- RaTG13
So, why did Peter Daszak claim that It was just sitting forgotten in a freezer for 6 years (2013–2020), when the data clearly shows that they had begun the CoV characterization pipeline for RaTG13 in 2017?
194. Why was the Spike Protein of 4991 resequenced by WIV in late 2018?
More than a year passed between the sequencing of the RaTG13 RdRp/Orf8 (June 2017) and the spike (late 2018). Notably in Sep 2018, more closely related viruses had been discovered by another group, which could’ve helped with primer design
RaTG13 Amplicon Sequences
195. Why does the published RaTG13 amplicon sequence data from WIV contain 40% unrecognizable random sequences that show no relations to anything on BLAST and the remainder were mostly Ribosomal RNA?
196. How is it possible that the pandemic prevention workflow for discovering a novel SARS virus in a cave where miners got ill with a SARS-like pneumonia was to throw the virus in a freezer until a pandemic from a closely related virus breaks out?
197. Which laboratories were given a sample of Bat Cover 4991 apart from EcoHealth Alliance?
198. Pangolins are solitary animals for the majority of their lives. The chance they are the intermediary is so far remote it goes against science. If there is a connection it is more likely from a lab combination. Why do scientists persist in perversely claiming the contrary? https://researchsquare.com/article/rs-38873/v1
199. Why has an important Chinese survey & database of pathogenic viruses project been halted by the CDC? According to Zhang Yongzhen, It was authorised last year but the survey, originally due to start in February, is described as “halted” on the ministry’s website. He said the research team had replied to three separate inquiries from the Chinese CDC about the project but the document had not yet been officially approved.
200. Why are Mutation Patterns of SARS-CoV-2 & RaTG13 Cov Strongly Biased Towards C>U Transitions, Indicating Rapid Evolution in Their Hosts?
SARS-CoV-2 Origins, Insights from Cov Recombination & Phylogenetic Analysis
201. If you go to the RaTG13 genome accession and to bio-sample where you need to find all the information about the collected sample, why is only the country name (China) given, but not the specific location? This is extremely unusual, especially since the “TG” in RaTG13 designated it’s specific location.
Tongguanzhen (TG in RaTG13) Location Map
RaTG13 upload with Location given as “China”
202. Zhou et al in Nature 579, 270–273 implies that full-length sequencing of RaTG13 was done recently (2020), after the sequencing of SARS-CoV-2. But @franciscodeasis found files in the RaTG13 SRA dated 2018. How can this finding be explained?
203. In a little cited paper (earlier than Nature 579), Shi Zhengli had already “predicted that the cleavage site for generating S1 and S2 subunits is located at R694/S695”. However, she failed to mention the FCS in her Nature 579 Paper. Why not?
204. Why does the RaTG13 virus have zero affinity to either humans, bats or any of the proposed intermediate hosts at all?.
Human ACE2 Affinity
205. In an earlier WIV paper, SARS-2 is only compared to SARS-1, ZC45 and ZXC21. But what about the identity between SARS-2 and the short RdRp sequence they had previously detected in the 4991 sample? Why was this still absent from the picture in January 2020?
206. Why are so many references missing in Zhengli Shi’s Nature paper in 2020
207. Why are about 98% of the RaTG13 read sequence ratios (SRA) “garbage” reads with more ribosomes than bat sequences and random matches across the entire domain of life?
RaTG13 read sequences
208. How is it possible that 2 papers co-authored by Zheng Li Shi, submitted on same day, only one mentions RaTG13 (Nature):
But the other (Emerging Microbes & Infections) does not mention RaTG13
209. Why have multiple publications “independently” describe pangolin CoV genomes from the same batch of smuggled pangolins confiscated in Guangdong province in March, 2019 in order to propose a fraudulent source of pangolin CoVs with near identical Spike RBD to SARS-CoV-2?
210. The study published in Oct. 2019 by Liu et al. sequenced specimens from 21 smuggled pangolins rescued in Guangdong in Mar. 2019. This data was re-analyzed by Zhang et al, Lam et al. Nature, Xiao et al. & Liu et al. However, Xiao et al. and Liu et al. (PLoS Pathogens) did not state clearly the specimens were from the same 21 pangolins described first in Liu et al. (Viruses). Why did they not state this?
211. Why did Xiao et al. rename the pangolin specimens described first by Liu et al. (Viruses)? This is shown here by looking at the table of specimens for “library size” or “total reads” from Liu et al and the data taken from Xiao et al.’s Extended Table.
212. Recently, There has been much hype about an alleged SARS-like coronavirus being found in samples of Malayan Pangolins (Manis Javanica) possessing nearly identical RBD to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, used to support a “natural origin” hypothesis.
However, why is it that in all the Pangolin source datasets, including all Liu et al and Xiao et al, the P2S is filtered beyond analysis and they remark that it likely came from contaminants of other tissues? Indeed, the so-called Pan-SL-CoV/GD sequences may be from contamination:
213. How Close is RaTG13 to SARS-CoV-2?
Why do the 33 amplicon sequences of RaTG13 dated 3 June 2017–14 October 2018 published by the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) on GenBank on 19 May 2020 differ significantly from the complete RaTG13.
214. Why was RmYN02 not submitted to GenBank?
215. Did RaTG13 cause diseases in this bat species of Rhinolophus affinis?
216. Why did Zhengli Shi’s 2020 Nature Paper not mention:
1. Any efforts to rule out the possibilities that the RaTG13-related bat sample collected in 2013 might have been mixed with other bat samples
2. If the bat was infected with two different strains of coronaviruses
(as co-infections with two or more strains of coronaviruses in bats was not a rare event).
Via Timothy Stout
In a recent letter (The Letter) to Nature Medicine concerning the origin of SARS-CoV-2 (SC2), K.G. Andersen et al state in their opening comments, “Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.
In other words, the authors claim that the evidence clearly shows that the virus is not manmade. By contrast, genomic analysis appears to be more consistent with a man-made origin using directed evolution (DE
217 How could a “natural origin” have provided the adaptions observed in SARS-COV-2 back bone, PCS, fusion components, and extensive pre-symptomatic spread with sudden, simultaneous first appearance in already well-adapted form?
By contrast, this would be anticipated with a DE origin.
218. Why is it that when a viral spillover occurs and leads into an epidemic, there is typically an initial rapid mutation rate as the virus adapts to various unique characteristics of the new host, yet SARS-COV-2 appears to start off well adapted for human infection from the time of its first appearance: “It appears genetically stable and not under much pressure to adapt.” ?
219. Is the appearance of 8 new mutations leading to observably superior performance in an already highly stable, conserved domain unusual? To have so many appear in Sars-Cov-2 simultaneously with the appearance of a new backbone and a new polybasic cleavage site surely favours appearance by Directed Evolution as opposed to natural evolution?
220. The new Sars-Cov-2 RBD backbone binds to hACE2 up to 20 times as efficiently as the Sars-1 backbone. Even if the reported pangolin RBD does bond to its receptor, there is still a serious question to be answered: How is it that an animal with such different ACE2 receptor bonding characteristics could be the source of a new, hitherto unseen backbone which bonds so effectively to human receptor — up to 20 times more efficiently than anything observed previously?
221. There are five characteristics of SC2 that distinguish it from SC1:
1) A new, never observed backbone up with up to 20 times the binding efficiency with human ACE2 (hACE20) than provided by SC1.
2) A polybasic cleavage site (PCS) insertion that allows the modified SC2 backbone to be cleaved after binding in order for fusion to proceed when the new backbone is used.
3) Membrane fusion improvements plausibly leading to increased infectivity of the virus.
4) Rapid viral growth in the upper respiratory system plausibly leading to early, “symptomless” spread of the virus before the main infection of the lower respiratory system is established.
5) Stable genome at initial appearance.
222. How can it be denied that, for all of these new traits to make a sudden appearance simultaneously without any observed evolutionary history in a natural environment, Directed Evolution origin is much more likely than a natural evolutionary process.
223. If as Andersen et al (2020) claimed, it is beyond the capabilities of modern virologists to create a virus like Sars-Cov-2, how do they explain that qithin months of the release of the SC2 genome, two different, unrelated reverse-genetic systems were designed, used, and led to test results worthy of report.
224. Do Andersen et al and other proponents of a “natural origin’ persist in denying that reverse-genetic systems capable of transforming a computer nucleotide sequence into synthetic viruses the equivalent of SC2 are easily within the scope of tools offered by Directed Evolution?
225. If Andersen et al (2020) acknowledge that the backbone of SC2 is “irrefutably different” from that of SC1, why do they make predictions based on a certain model developed by Y.Wan et al. which assumes a viral backbone similar to that of the SARS-CoV (SC1)?
226. Why do Andersen et al perversely assume that if the virus were manmade, that “one of the several reverse-genetic systems available for coronaviruses would probably have been used.”? This is only an assumption, but it is treated as proof adequate to make the case clearly conclusive. This is circular logic which inevitably leads the authors to false conclusions,
227. Did any scientists, researchers, professors, observers, students, or other staff persons working at or visiting the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory visit the Huanan Seafood Market in the first twelve days of December, 2019?
228. Since the original technology for viral confinement at the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory was developed in France, and since most of its actual, functional equipment was imported from France — has the laboratory received ongoing certification inspections from French officials, given its lengthy, ongoing activities using Class 4 pathogens (P4) — the most virulent viruses that pose the highest risk of aerosol-transmitted person-to-person infections? If so, where are the certification test results?
229. Has the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory been regularly inspected and audited by Chinese government health officials, especially by Li Bin, minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission? If so, where are the inspection and audit results?
230. Did Professor Shi Zhengli previously or does she currently co-conduct, co-participate, collaborate, or collude with CCP military service members or military intelligence members?
231. Do members of the CCP military services or military intelligence contribute or participate in any manner or conduct viral research at the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory?
232. Did Professor Shi Zhengli or any other faculty member at the Wuhan Institute of Virology take possession, either illicitly or officially, of any biological substance, whether pathogen, vaccine, or other biomatter, originating from the United States or Canada?
233.Why did the US National Institute of Health (NIH) grant Prof. Zhengli $665,000 in 2014 to fund her study, The ecology of bat coronaviruses and the risk of future coronavirus emergence? What did the US receive in return?
234. Why did the United States Agency of International Development grant Prof. Zhengli $559,500 to fund her study, Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT 2_China? What did the US receive in return?
235. Why did Prof. Zhengli receive funding from U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (the agency which deals specifically with Weapons of Mass Destruction), the U.S. Biological Defense Research Directorate of the Naval Medical Research Center, and the Department of Atomic of the Government of India?
236. What other professional relationships with U.S. defense agencies does Prof. Zhengli have currently, or previously, in any capacity?
237. When Professor Shi Zhengli received a visa to the United States to present at the Cell Symposium: Emerging and Re-emerging Viruses 2017 conference in Arlington, Virginia, did she visit the Pentagon or meet with Pentagon officials, since it was less than a mile away?
238. When Professor Shi Zhengli received a visa to the United States to present at the US-China Workshop on Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases conference at UC Berkeley in 2018, did she visit Federal research facility, Lawrence-Berkeley-Livermore Laboratory — in particular, the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute — or meet with government officials, since it was only a mile and a half away?
239. Professor Shi Zhengli’s C.V. indicates she received a visa to the United States to present at the U.S.-China Dialogue on the Challenges of Emerging Infections, Laboratory Safety and Global Health Security conference on January 17, 2018, in Galveston, Texas. However, such a conference appears to not have existed. For what purpose did she really come to Galveston — perhaps to visit the Galveston National Laboratory, a high security National Biocontainment Laboratory housing several Biosafety Level 4 research laboratories, one of the only 15 biosecurity Level 4 facilities in the United States and the largest one in the world located on an academic campus?
240; Of Professor Shi Zhengli’s 130 published scientific studies, 5 of them are not to be found anywhere. Why are they not public? Are they classified?
241. Prof. Zhengli recently (January 23, 2020) claimed to know very little about the latest epidemic outbreak, including basic biology, animal source, or any specific treatment, and indicated she doesn’t know if ACE2 targeting drugs could treat Coronavirus 2019-nCoV infected victims. How can this be the case, given that she has studied human ACE2/coronavirus interaction for many years — even most recently in her study immediately preceding the outbreak — as reported in Prof. Zhengli’s study published the day immediately preceding the outbreak? “The full-length genes of MERS-CoV spike (GenBank accession number 415 AFS88936.1), SARS-CoV spike (GenBank accession number AFR58742), human DPP4 416 (GenBank accession number NM_001935.3) and human ACE2 (GenBank accession 417 number NM_021804) were synthesized (GenScript Biotech).”?
242. Considering Prof. Zhengli is the recipient of millions of dollars in grants and salaries, commands one of the world’s leading, most advanced biosafety laboratories, has performed innumerable research studies into coronaviruses for three decades and counting — what vaccines, to date, has she successfully produced? Has she produced any successful coronavirus vaccines at all? If so, where are they and how have they been publicly administered?
243. If BatCov4991 was a bona fide natural bat coronavirus discovered in the wild in 2013, as Shi Zhengli claims, given its “star quality” regarding the high potential to infect humans, why didn’t Shi rush to publish its sequence at the time in a prestigious journal? This is what she did previously with other bat coronaviruses, Rs3367 and SHC014, which share considerable sequence similarity with SARS. So, why did she wait until January 2020, when the public row began about the possible lab origin of SARS-CoV-2, before publishing the sequence?
@nerdhaspower and @GMWatch
Introductory background to subsequent questions (244–250)
Many mutations in natural evolution are single RNA nucleotide substitutions; that is, a change of a single base unit (nucleotide) in the order of the base units that constitutes the genetic material of the organism. These random single nucleotide mutations within a protein-coding region of the genetic material of an organism can have one of two outcomes. Either it can have no effect on the genetic code and thus no effect on the order of amino acids in the corresponding protein, known as a “synonymous mutation”; or the single nucleotide change can alter the genetic code, leading to a change in the amino acid sequence of the protein for which it encodes, conferring in turn new properties to the protein — this is known as a “non-synonymous mutation”.
There are strict rules that govern natural evolution through random single nucleotide mutation. In particular, typically the ratio between the number of synonymous mutations and that of non-synonymous mutations should be around 5:1; that is, 5 times more synonymous mutations than non-synonymous arise through this process. In other words there should be an amino acid change with every 6th single nucleotide mutation.
If we consider the natural rates and patterns of mutational changes between two bona fide native bat coronaviruses identified by a lab in China that has a military background, ZC45 and ZXC21, everything is as predicted, in line with what we know about how viruses evolve in nature. The changes are consistent with what is expected when two lineages closely relate to each other evolutionarily and the differences in their sequences are the results of random mutations. The ratio between the number of synonymous mutations and that of non-synonymous mutations is around 5:1.
244. Why then, if we compare SARS-CoV-2 with one of its purported close relatives, RaTG13, does it show a synonymous/non-synonymous mutation ratio of 44:1, which is both widely divergent from the 5:1 ratio expected from natural evolution, and completely inconsistent with natural evolution through single nucleotide substitution?
If we compare SARS-CoV-2 and RaTG13, the whole spectrum of RNA sequence and amino acids have a very high similarity in every genomic region except in the S2 (Spike 2) half of the spike protein, which is very different. Although there are 90 nucleotide differences, there are only two amino acid substitutions rather than the 15 that would be expected. Thus there are far fewer amino acid substitutions compared with what should happen naturally.
245. Why doesn’t the S2 spike protein region follow the evolutionary predicted and observed frequency of synonymous and non-synonymous mutation rates for coronaviruses?
245. Given the validity of the observations in Questions 244, and 245 regarding SARS-CoV-2 and RaTG13, is it not therefore true that either at least one is unnatural, or neither of them came from nature?
246. If indeed RaTG13 is a fabrication, what are the bona fide bat viruses that are most closely related to the Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 virus and thus could be its “parents”?
A comparison between the amino acid sequences of SARS-CoV-2 and ZC45 and ZXC21 bat betacoronaviruses shows a remarkable identity in all but one crucial region. In the majority of the virus there is 95% amino acid sequence identity, but there is one crucial region where they are strikingly dissimilar, with only 69% identity. That is the S1 region of the spike protein that harbours the RBD.
247. Given the very high identity in all other regions of SARS-CoV-2 virus when compared with ZC45 & ZXC21, is it not highly improbable that such a huge difference in just the S1 part of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 could have arisen naturally over the time span in which they are supposed to have co-existed in nature?
The other striking result of a comparison between SARS-CoV-2 and ZC45/ZXC21 relates to another component, the E protein. The E protein is a structural protein of coronaviruses that can tolerate a large number of mutations without any negative impact on function. This is highlighted by the fact that even after just two months after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, mutations in the E protein of SARS-CoV-2 were identified. However, when comparing the original SARS-CoV-2 virus with the ZC45/ZXC21 bat viruses, they have a 100% identical E protein amino acid sequence.
248. Given the high mutation rate observed in SARS-CoV-2 (and in coronaviruses in general), and given the fact that mutations can occur anywhere in the virus genome, including in the E protein region, how is it possible that SARS-CoV-2 would have a 100% identical E protein amino acid sequence to the ZC45/ZXC21 bat viruses?
249. Surely the only way that SAS-CoV-2 could be so dissimilar in the S1 region of the spike protein (crucial to human infectivity), yet identical in a far less crucial component such as the E protein, is through intentional design (genetic manipulation in the lab) and not by natural mutation and selection in animal and human hosts?
250. In light of Questions 243–249, was SARS-CoV-2 constructed based on one or both of the two bat viruses, ZC45 and ZXC21, rather than the purported RaTG13?
251. Were the deficiencies in Chinese biosafety laboratories identified in 2018, rectified by 2019?
Application Status and Development Countermeasures of Biosafety Laboratory Facilities in China (WIV, 2018)
“It points out the deficiencies in the development, production, equipment, maintenance & standards of biosafety laboratory facilities in China” http://eng.oversea.cnki.net/kcms/detail/detail.aspx?QueryID=11&CurRec=63&DbCode=CJFD&dbname=CJFDLAST2019&filename=KJGL201823011&uid=WEEvREcwSlJHSldTTEYzU3FBN2wrY0gwb2tma2NaUVpCYzhsdHRiM1Izcz0=$9A4hF_YAuvQ5obgVAqNKPCYcEjKensW4IQMovwHtwkF4VYPoHbKxJw
252. What contamination and infection took place at WIV BSL3 Laboratories in 2018?
Quantitative analysis of bio-contamination generated during experiment activities & accidents on the indoor environment in BSL-3 laboratory (WIV, 2018)
“Conclusion: The aerosols generated may lead to.. biological contamination & personnel infection.”
253. Why did WCDC in Wuhan decide to build a new infectious disease pathogen testing laboratory and was it located very close to the Wuhan Seafood Market?
Wuhan CDC website: 1/x May 2019:
“the city’s CDC relocation project will be completed by 2019. Focus on the construction of new (sudden) infectious disease pathogen testing laboratories..” http://yfyxh.whcdc.org/view/63.html
Places of Interest Wuhan @billybostickson
254. What exactly was the safety hazard posed by 0.5 tons of toxic chemical waste at WCDC in late 2019?
Dec 2019: Procurement notice for disposing chemical waste (including solids, liquids & a small amount of highly toxic drugs)
“Waste generated in the research process of our central lab..is close to 0.5 tons.. poses safety hazard..”
255. Why did Wuhan City Center for Disease Control and Prevention plan to purchase a batch of emergency reagents and consumables, with a budget of 220,000 in Sep 2019? https://whcdc.org/index.php/view/11177.html
256. Why was the hazardous chemical waste generated by the WCDC laboratory during their scientific research process not effectively treated from 1994 to 2019?
“.. it is planned to dispose of the hazardous chemical waste accumulated in the center” https://whcdc.org/index.php/view/11147.html
257. Why have so many WCDC articles been 404'ed since the coronavirus pandemic? such as these:
258. Why have so many website articles and documents on the Wuhan Institute of Virology, WCDC and Wuhan University Institute of Model Animals websites been “scrubbed” over the last few months? (for full list see @uacjess)
Deleted Papers from WIV website
and why do you think they deleted these three papers specifically?
Just in case anyone is wondering about this question, it’s not that papers were deleted, Of course they exist, but certain papers were specifically deleted from research page listings on 3 different WIV websites
Three deleted papers from WIV website
More details on missing papers from WIV website
259. Why did Shi Zhengli obfuscate the connection between SARS-2’s nearest known relative, RaBtCoV/4991 (RaTG13), and her own research and discovery of this virus in 2013, while investigating a still-unexplained outbreak of fatal pneumonia in a bat-infested disused mineshaft located in Mojiang County of Yunnan Province?
260. Why did SZ identify SARS-2’s nearest known relative as RaTG13 in a February 2020 paper, and upload its full genome sequence, which has 96% identity with SARS-2 while only mentioning in passing that the virus was recovered from bats in Yunnan province?
More questions to come shortly!