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Scientists prove natural origin of coronavirus with evolution theory

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A new commentary has once again dismissed the COVID-19 lab leak theory by applying a classic evolutionary theory to elaborate why SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, could only come from nature.

The insight piece, titled “On the origin of SARS-CoV-2 – The blind watchmaker argument,” was published on the academic journal Science China Life Sciences on Friday by 22 scientists working in Chinese universities and research institutions.

The argument the authors applied stated that natural selection is a blind, unconscious, automatic process which has no purpose in mind and plays the role as a blind watchmaker.

A perfectly adapted species could not be created at once, but would have to accumulate small, adaptiveness-enhancing changes through random mutations over long periods of time, reported Xinhua citing Wu Chung-I, corresponding author of the commentary and professor of the School of Life Sciences at Sun Yat-sen University in south China’s Guangdong Province.

SARS-CoV-2 is “extremely well adapted to the human populations and its adaptive shift from the animal host to humans must have been even more extensive,” said the commentary, which, according to the blind watchmaker argument, “can only happen prior to the onset of the current pandemic and with the aid of step-by-step selection.”

“In this view, SARS-CoV-2 could not have possibly evolved in an animal market in a big city and even less likely in a laboratory,” it added.

The article also said that researchers have successfully selected SARS-CoV-2 strains that can infect mice, which are otherwise resistant to the infection. However, “the enabling mutations account for such a tiny fraction of mutations that an efficient screening of mutations by natural selection is required.”

The authors inferred that before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus may have experienced some forms of multi-step evolution in human populations, leading to its extraordinary adaptiveness.

They said the claim of non-natural origin of SARS-CoV-2 is “moot,” as no known natural law “prohibits the SARS-CoV-2 genome to evolve to its current state.” They called for focus on the natural processes in relation to the virus’ origin, which would be “more productive.”

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CGTN Think Tank releases an analytical report on the global situation of the COVID-19 pandemic

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As the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet subsided, the CGTN Think Tank has released the Analytical Report on the Global Situation of the COVID-19 Pandemic (the “Report”) by sourcing data from the Johns Hopkins University website, Our World in Data and Pharmaceutical Technology that have not been comprehensively processed, analyzing research literature from the academic community and referring to the known impact of the pandemic on global economic and social development as well as the recommendations on its prevention and control from renowned public health experts.

The Report puts together the data on pandemic prevention and control measures in 51 sample countries to make rankings as a way of reflecting the current situation of pandemic control in these countries. It focuses on the importance that countries attach to personal safety, social and environmental stability, thereby providing ideas and directions for countries around the world to fight the pandemic.

The Report analyzes and evaluates the current status of pandemic prevention and control in the 51 countries based on five indicators, including the total number of confirmed cases, the number of newly confirmed cases, the total number of deaths, the number of vaccinations and the full cycle from pandemic outbreak to control as of 14 July.

The data shows that the United States has the worst performance on three of the five statistical indicators. The U.S. has over 34 million confirmed cases in total, the highest in the world, and over 600,000 deaths in total, also the highest in the world; and the number of days with less than 5,000 daily new cases in the full cycle from pandemic outbreak to control is only 62, still the worst among the sample countries.

According to the data, the situation in main European countries is not encouraging. When it comes to the total number of confirmed cases and deaths, France, the UK and Italy all rank high.

The data shows that some Asian countries have performed well in pandemic prevention and control, thanks to effective measures such as entry bans, quarantine and stringent testing at the border. China has the lowest number of confirmed new cases among the sample countries and the highest number of vaccinations in the world; Singapore and Vietnam rank low among all sample countries for the total number of COVID-19 deaths; and South Korea has adjusted the level of pandemic response in a timely manner, resulting in 537 days with less than 5,000 daily new cases.

In terms of the number of vaccinations, China is one of a few developing countries with the highest number of COVID-19 vaccinations due to its ability to develop and manufacture its own vaccines. At present, over 1.4 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in China. China has also supplied more than 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and stock solutions to more than 100 countries and international organizations worldwide, equivalent to one-sixth of the total global vaccine production.

However, the statistics also lay bare that the vaccination progress in developing countries is significantly worse than that in developed countries, due to the severe inequality in the global distribution of vaccines. Countries with a poor vaccination record, such as Vietnam and Iraq, are still far from reaching herd immunity due to various limitations, such as poor health service and vaccine hoarding by certain developed countries.

The polarization in the number of confirmed cases, the number of deaths and the number of people vaccinated in different countries and regions of the world, as shown by the objective statistics, is very much related to national pandemic prevention and control policies and measures, and highlights the crucial role played by a country’s government in pandemic prevention and control.

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