Scientists Discover DNA Chunk in COVID That Matches Moderna Patented Sequence from Before Pandemic
Posted on 02/28/2022
COVID-19 is the most severe global pandemic since the influenza pandemic of 1918. A group of researchers discovered that COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) has a small piece of DNA that matched the genetic sequence patented by Moderna Inc. three years before the start of the pandemic in 2021. A Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) search for the 12-nucleotide insertion led us to a 100% reverse match in a proprietary sequence (SEQ ID11652, nt 2751-2733) found in the U.S. patent 9,587,003 filed on February 4, 2016. In bioinformatics, BLAST is an algorithm and program for comparing primary biological sequence information, such as the amino-acid sequences of proteins or the nucleotides of DNA and/or RNA sequences. Moderna filed the patent as part of its cancer research division. COVID-19 is made up of 30,000 letters of genetic code that carry the information it needs to spread that are known as nucleotides. The commonality was a very small piece made up of 19 nucleotides. Analysis of the original COVID-19 genome found the virus shares a sequence of 19 specific letters with a genetic section owned by Moderna, which has a total of 3,300 nucleotides, according to the report.
The findings were published in Frontiers in Virology and the team includes Akhil Varshney from Dr Shroff Charity Eye Hospital in New Delhi. The study is titled, “MSH3 Homology and Potential Recombination Link to SARS-CoV-2 Furin Cleavage Site.”
“The matching code may have originally been introduced to the COVID-19 genome through infected human cells expressing the MSH3 gene,” wrote Dr Balamurali Ambati, from the University of Oregon, in the study.
Moderna CEO Bancel Responds
The researchers suggest the virus may have mutated to have a furin cleavage site during experiments on human cells in a lab. However, the team claimed that there is a one-in-three-trillion chance Moderna’s sequence randomly appeared through natural evolution. This research fuels the “lab leak theory” of COVID-19. If there was any link of Moderna to a possible lab leak, would hit the company with major lawsuits. Moderna, along with Pfizer Inc., generated mounds of revenue selling mRNA COVID-vaccines to governments around the world.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel appeared on FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo show on February 24, 2022.
Bartiromo said that “scientists have found a tiny chunk of DNA that matches sequences patened by Moderna three years before the pandemic began.”
Bancel responded, “My scientists are looking into those data to see how accurate they are or not. As I have said before the hypothesis of an escape from a lab by accident is possible… Human makes mistakes.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, social media sites like Twitter and YouTube (owned by Alphabet) labeled the lab leak theory as misinformation and censored accounts. Now the Lab Leak theory has come up as a broad possible theory of how COVID-19 came to pass. The lab leak theory argues COVID-19 escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The initial theory that was of the origins of COVID–19 at the time pushed by all major media and the World Health Organization was that the virus occurred in bats and jumped to humans (possibly at a wet market in Wuhan).
mRNA medicines are a relatively new scientific field and, as the field continues to mature, patent applications are being processed by national patent offices around the world. Moderna had revenue of US$ 60 million in 2019, US$ 803 million in 2020, and US$ 18.471 billion in 2021. Moderna noted in its recent 10-K, Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine/Spikevax has been approved by the FDA for individuals 18 years of age and older in the United States, it remains the subject of regulatory scrutiny. Moderna warned that the FDA and other regulatory agencies may revoke authorizations for the vaccine. Moderna is banking on diversifying its mRNA applications to other lines of business such as combating the flu.
In the 10-K, it reads, “We could also face product liability claims relating to the worsening of a patient’s condition, injury or death alleged to have been caused by one of our COVID-19 vaccine or investigational medicines. Any such product liability claims may include allegations of defects in manufacturing, defects in design, a failure to warn of dangers inherent in the product, including as a result of interactions with alcohol or other drugs, knowledge of risks, negligence, strict liability and a breach of warranties. Claims could also be asserted under state consumer protection acts. Such claims might not be fully covered by product liability insurance. If we succeed in marketing products, including our COVID-19 vaccine, product liability claims could result in an FDA investigation of the safety and effectiveness of our products, our manufacturing processes and facilities or our marketing programs, and potentially a recall of our products or more serious enforcement action, limitations on the approved indications for which they may be used, suspension or withdrawal of approvals or license revocation.”
Frontiers in Virology: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fviro.2022.834808/full
Keywords: Moderna Therapeutics.