Structural Analysis of Sequence Data in Virology: An Elementary Approach Using SARS-CoV-2 as an Example

A mathematician from Hamburg

De novo meta-transcriptomic sequencing or whole genome sequencing are accepted methods in virology for the detection of claimed pathogenic viruses. In this process, no virus particles (virions) are detected and in the sense of the word isolation, isolated and biochemically characterized. In the case of SARS-CoV-2, total RNA is often extracted from patient samples (e.g.: bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) or throat- nose swabs) and sequenced. Notably, there is no evidence that the RNA fragments used to calculate viral genome sequences are of viral origin.

… We examined published sequence data (BioProject accession number PRJNA603194 in the NCBI Sequence Read Archive (SRA) database) on the genome sequence for SARS-CoV-2 (GenBank: MN908947.3) using a simple bioinformatics approach. The methods we used are not specific to SARS-CoV-2 and can be applied to other sequence data without special modifications.

… we were able to substantiate our hypothesis that the claimed viral genome sequences are misinterpretations in the sense that they have been or are being constructed unnoticed from non-viral nucleic acid fragments. In particular, our results underscore the urgent need to perform appropriate control experiments. For each suspected pathogenic viral genome sequence, an obvious protocol would be to attempt assembly of the genome sequences from corresponding non-suspect samples using identical protocols.

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