An article that appeared in Forbes cites a former MI6 director saying that the coronavirus' "Spike protein" was made in a lab, per a Norwegian study on vaccine research. While this theory has been posited before, and is the subject of a US investigation, this new claim is based on information obtained from vaccine research in Norway.
Written by Norwegian Senior Contributor David Nikel, the article cited Norwegian scientist Birger Sorensen, who claimed the virus was "not natural in origin."
The report referenced in the Forbes article is about the development of a coronavirus vaccine called Biovacc-19. This vaccine project is unique in that it is meant to attack the Spike protein that makes it easier for the virus to infiltrate human cells. While other vaccine research and trials are working on attacking the virus itself, this attempt is attacking the mechanism that enables the virus to so easily and thoroughly infect cells. That's why their research focuses so heavily on figuring out how that protein works, and how it is constructed.
The report on the vaccine describes the qualities of this Spike protein, and how it is not found in any of the other coronaviruses that have been studied, nor in those coronaviruses that have been found in bats. In short, the claim is that this Spike protein is not of natural origin. Forbes notes that "The study from [Birger] Sørensen and British professor Angus Dalgleish show that the coronavirus's spike protein contains sequences that appear to be artificially inserted."
Forbes notes that "Sørensen told NRK that the virus has properties that differ greatly from SARS, and which have never been detected in nature. He explained that China and the United States have collaborated for many years on coronavirus research."
Nikel's article points the British-Norwegian study published in the Quarterly Review of Biophysics published by Cambridge University.
Sorensen, one of the scientists who led the study, said that the COVID-19 virus has several behaviours that are not commonly found in nature. If they are not found in nature, the protein must be accounted for in another way, and the supposition is that it was created in a lab and accidentally released. The article states that Sørensen believes that it was Chinese scientists who released the virus, saying that China has since ended other studies in similar viruses.
The notion was also endorsed by the former head of the MI6, Richard Dearlove, who helmed the agency from 1999 to 2004. He told the Daily Telegraph that research was pointing to a lab-made virus.
“I think this started as an accident. This raises the question of whether China will assume responsibility and whether China should pay compensation. I think this will make all countries think through their relationship with China and how they relate to China's leadership,” said Dearlove.
The controversial study follows a contested theory that—at the very—least, the virus had leaked from a bio lab in Wuhan, China.