The headline of this article is a typical defense offered to “prove” researchers actually discovered a new pandemic virus, SARS-CoV-2.
They have the genetic sequence of the virus? Well, where did they get it? From the man in the moon? An old 10,000-dollar bill in Bill Gates’ wallet?
You need a pure specimen of the virus to start with, if you want to make sure you’re fleshing out its genetic sequence.
A piece of RNA, as a starting sample, doesn’t work. It’s somewhere between a random shot in the dark and a preconceived notion.
Let’s say, instead of a purified and isolated virus, separated from all surrounding material, we’re talking about a gun used in a crime. At trial, a lab technician from the vaunted FBI lab is testifying.
Defense Attorney: So you’re sure the gun was recovered from my client’s car?
FBI tech: Absolutely.
Defense Attorney: Please explain how you located the gun.
FBI tech: It was in the junkyard.
Defense Attorney: Excuse me?
FBI tech: Well, you see, the defendant’s car was in an auto junkyard, along with about a thousand other cars. His car wasn’t actually in one piece. It had been taken apart. And then there was the dog.
Defense Attorney: The dog?
FBI tech: The watch dog. He roams over the whole junkyard. He picks up objects in his mouth and runs around with them. We found his saliva on the gun.
Defense Attorney: The gun used in the crime.
FBI tech: As far as we know. The weapon was pretty banged up. Apparently, it had been in a car that was crushed in one of those machines.
Defense Attorney: I see. Did you actually discover DNA from my client on the gun?
FBI tech: Yes. Well, I mean, we found human DNA on the gun. The sample was mixed with other DNA from an unknown source. It was difficult to separate the two samples from each other.
Defense Attorney: How difficult?
FBI tech: Isolation wasn’t possible. We couldn’t make a positive ID. But we did find a tiny piece of red thread on the gun. We determined it came from a shirt.
Defense Attorney: My client doesn’t own a red shirt.
FBI tech: He might have discarded a red shirt. And he does own shirts. Generally speaking.
At this point, the judge leans over and says to the FBI lab tech, “Are you drunk?”
FBI tech: Certainly not, Your Honor. I might have had a few drinks with lunch. I sometimes do.
So much for isolation of the gun.
Or the virus.
The statement, “We have the genetic sequence,” is meant to hypnotize the uninformed, who have been trained to salute any claim which refers to genes, as if they’re magic.“No need to isolate the new virus, we have its genetic sequence”: Really?