Does this even need saying? That I should even feel moved to write this post, in this day and age, seems extraordinary. But an increasing number of people are latching onto the hoary old idea that there is no such thing as a virus – that viroloigists have been studying an artefact all this time; a product of the organism rather than an entity hijackiing host biology in order to spread between hosts.
Like many positions over the last few years, it is driven by Covid denialism taken to extremes – not only does SARS-CoV-2 not exist, none of them do. This seems a somewhat hyperbolic extension – scepticism over SARS-CoV-2 extended to dismissing the entire science of virology! This puts me in mind of the inhabitants of the planet Krikkit in Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide upon observing the glories of the Universe for the first time above their cloud-shrouded planet:
“It’ll have to go”
To anyone with even a basic grasp of molecular biology, this seems a ridiculous position to espouse. Not only is germ theory denial completely at odds with the understanding of the nucleic acid-protein relationship that developed in the latter half of the 20th century, viruses directly contributed to that understanding. It was a virus that gave some of the earliest evidence that nucleic acid was the genetic material. Viruses infecting bacteria – bacteriophages – had vital roles in elucidating the genetic code, in understanding the control of gene expression, and in genetic engineering. A virus was the first ‘organism’ to have its genome sequenced. The literature is full of ΦX174, T4, T7 and λ. All of this was only possible because they are clearly an entity separate from the organism they infect – in those instances, the ‘model’ bacterium Escherichia coli. Their genes are different, their proteins are different, they can be purified, crystallised, caught or interrupted in the act of infection… yet these people would have it that no virus has ever been ‘isolated’.
One might forgive online contrarians their ignorance. People classically do not know what they don’t know; only from a position of a reasonable grasp of molecular biology can one see how absurd the idea is in its light. Yet one or two people with a publication history in relevant fields have latched onto this. Notable among them are Stefan Lanka and Mike Donio. Both have published papers in their earlier careers that are quite orthodox. Here’s Lanka with a 1993 paper on the genome of a virus of marine algae. Donio, meanwhile, co-authored this paper on co-occurrence of Guillain-Barre virus and HIV, for example. Something must have caused an epiphany. Donio has now taken to Tweeting, almost daily: “Today is […] and there still is no evidence that viruses exist!”.
A potted history
Viruses were first suspected in 1892 when Dmitri Ivanovsky demonstrated that ‘something’ in sap from infected plants was able to transfer tobacco mosaic disease to healthy plants after passing through filters fine enough to exclude bacteria.
In 1896, Ernest Hankin noted that ‘something’ in the waters of the Ganges, again able to pass through a fine filter, had a marked detrimental effect on the cholera bacterium. He had discovered the first bacteriophage.
The agents underlying these observations, whatever they were, were invisible to light microscopy, so remained speculative. At that stage, it was not possible to rule out the possibility that the phenomenon was due to some chemical agent in solution. So in about 1900, virus denial would have been a perfectly respectable position! But with the developments in electron microscopy and x-ray crystallography (only possible if a substance can be ‘isolated’ and purified) during the first half of the 20th century, we were finally able to visualise these agents, while developments in biochemistry enabled detail of their protein and nucleic acid components to be examined, as well as providing materials for investigation into the fundamentals of biochemistry itself. For example, plant viruses were observed to provide a useful source of pure RNA as far back as the 1930s, a chemically difficult separation using whole cells due to the close similarity of DNA and RNA.
In the first half of the 1900’s, it was not known whether protein or nucleic acid carried the genetic material. Two landmark experiments, familiar to anyone who has ever taken a molecular biology class, established that it was definitely nucleic acid. Firstly, Oswald Avery in 1944 showed that the material causing transformation in pneumococcal bacteria – making infectious particles from uninfectious components – was most likely DNA. However, they could not discount the possibility of microscopic impurity. The matter was largely settled by Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase in 1952 using viruses. Bacteriophages have a protein coat with nucleic acid inside. By separately labelling proteins with radioactive sulphur, and nucleic acids with phosphorus, they established that, on infection, the protein stayed outside the cell and the nucleic acid went in, causing the subsequent death of the cell. Later, tobacco mosaic disease was shown to be caused by its RNA component alone, indicating that plant viral diseases, at least, had a similar basis to phage-induced cell death.
Within a year of Hershey-Chase, the Watson-Crick structure of nucleic acid was published, with its famously laconic observation
“It has not escaped our notice that the specific pairing we have postulated immediately suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material.”
This ‘pairing’ refers to the pairwise affinity of the 4 DNA bases for each other: A binds to T, and G binds to C. Thus, if you know the sequence of one strand, you automatically know the sequence of the other. You can use the one as a template for the other. More than that: a template is always used. Barring occasional single-base insertion, or monotonous polynucleotides, any nucleic acid sequence always ultimately derives from template-directed synthesis, not from stitching together bases de novo. This is important for the question ‘are viruses real?’, as we shall see.
Further progress was made by Crick in the elucidation of the genetic code, the set of 64 different triplets that specify the amino acid sequence of proteins. This work made elegant use of a virus, bacteriophage T4, to establish that the code was triplet in nature. In these pre-sequencing days, the work relied upon a prior map of the ‘phage’s genome derived by Seymour Benzer. This map was only made possible by the way in which the phage infects its hosts – phages are not simply breakdown artefacts, as deniers suppose viruses to be.
Following this, the coding table was gradually filled in by Nirenberg – first the easy ones, poly-U etc, then simple alternates giving 2-acid mixtures, and so on. The triplet code was thus independently confirmed.
In parallel with this work, viruses contributed to a fuller understanding of gene expression control. A gene in DNA consists of a sequence transcribed into RNA, but flanked by ‘upstream’ and ‘downstream’ sequence that is not transcribed. The RNA is processed before being translated into protein, 3 RNA bases coding for each amino acid. Again ‘upstream’ and ‘downstream’ sequence is not translated, but is required for proper processing. Without these flanking sequences, the gene does nothing. Much of this picture came initially from studying and utilising viruses.
“Ah”, says the denier. “I accept the existence of bacteriophages, so you’ve wasted your time”. But why? What is fundamentally different about bacteriophages? Is it simply that they are harder to deny? By what criteria do you accept the ‘isolation’ of phages infecting prokaryotes, but reject that of viruses infecting eukaryotes? It’s fairly easy to see phages in action. You can use a cell counter, and observe the bacteria blebbing out in real time, as they burst forth their cargo of replicated virions. But then, you can do similar with single-celled eukaryotic protists. It becomes a shade harder with multicellular organisms, but not much. Point is, the techniques and observations in use at a level one does accept are different only in detail from those used at a level one does not. I think this is why people latch onto a ‘hardline’ version of virus denial. Concede on one, there’s a foot in the door and you have to let ’em all in!
It is not simply bacteriophages that have contributed to the above understanding. For example, in determining that eukaryotic cells process mRNA, poliovirus was used, specifically because it multiplies in HeLa cells, and redirects their protein synthesis to itself. It is not a breakdown product of those cells. Similarly, DNA viruses herpes simplex and mouse virus SV40 (which integrates into chromosomes) were used to investigate the path from nuclear RNA to cytoplasmic processing, and indicating the mechanisms by which viruses can cause cancers. Vaccinia virus gave the earliest indication that mRNA acquired a ‘poly-A tail’ – a very useful ‘handle’ for grabbing hold specifically of mRNA for further investigation. Other viruses such as vesicular stomatitis virus, reoviruses and adenovirus also helped supply key elements of the emerging picture, in a manner that depended entirely on their cellular infectivity and reproduction.
Are we to suppose that these scientists were all completely misled by artefacts? One wonders how molecular biology survived these errors!
Genome or ‘genome’?
Virologists think they recover viral genomes from sick patients. Deniers do not. And here’s the nub of the problem: if the virologists aren’t looking at ‘real’ viral genomes in the disputed part of the set, what are they looking at? Some argue that these ‘pseudogenomes’ are an artefact of extraction, constructed from the host DNA. This is highly implausible. These ‘pseudogenomes’ have a consistent size and structure for a given ‘virus’, nonetheless distinct from those produced by other ‘viruses’: for a given species the same genes appear in the same order with largely the same sequence. Yet among those distinct constructs, there are relationships. The ‘coronaviruses’ cluster together, the ‘rhinoviruses’ likewise, while even within a given cluster different variants appear. It looks for all the world like a nested hierarchy: a product of a branching process of replication. Why would a process of host DNA randomisation produce a nested hierarchy? You would expect every instance to be different, random, and be more closely related to the host genome than to each other.
Furthermore, some of these ‘pseudogenomes’ are RNA, some DNA. So we need (at least) two processes here: one to reassemble DNA in the nucleus, the other operating on RNA transcripts. Within those, we need mechanisms to separately construct adenovirus, rhinovirus, coronavirus, rabies, etc etc.
Not only that, these reassemblies need to generate viable functional genes – because the genes of viruses are functional. They can be transcribed (DNA viruses) and/or translated (both) into a consistently folded protein product indistinguishable from that in an intact virion. As we can see from the picture above, a DNA gene needs specific control sequences to be translated at all, and it needs to contain control sequences for subsequent processing when it has been copied into RNA. There’s even the restriction that the first triplet a specific distance downstream of the RNA control sequence is AUG. Getting this tight specification from random assembly is a tall order – like getting the bitmap of a horse, and the header detail that tells the rendering software what it’s looking at, by flipping coins.
Yet there is absolutely no evidence of such reassembly. Bear in mind that, as noted above, a nucleic acid strand always derives from a template somewhere. There is no known mechanism that generates non-monotonous stretches of nucleic acid without using a template, or which obliterates all information regarding that template in the process. Apart from occasional single-base insertions, DNA sequence always comes from a prior DNA/RNA sequence, RNA likewise, even when there is recombination. Yet there is little or no sequence similarity, even fragmentary, with the host in these genomes. Conversely, there’s a great deal of sequence similarity with other instances of the viral sequence. So why not infer that they have a common origin with each other? It is far more likely … surely?
There is an echo of arguments with Creationists in all this. If I see a host of nucleic acid strings of common sequence, forming nested hierarchies, my go-to explanation is that these are most likely commonly descended, by template copying. This is the general principle behind molecular phylogenetics, which establishes relationships between species using genes, and also can be used to track diseases. But no, these latter-day Creationists would have it, these genomes are ‘separately created’ from the host in some way that nonetheless generates functional genes and nested hierarchies.
If your hypothesis demands an unknown mechanism to keep it afloat, and ignores a more obvious, known cause, so much the worse for your hypothesis. On the other hand, if such a mechanism were discovered, there would be a Nobel in it. Leading lights of the ‘no-virus’ movement seem more interested in issuing theatrical monetary challenges to the mainstream than in investigating this. In John Baez’s prescient 1998 ‘crackpot index’, that’s a 10-pointer.
Moved a comment by J-Mac to Guano (3).
You may repost it here without the insult.
The pandemic was real alright, but the mainstream (a) didn’t understand the real root causes and (b) failed miserably at responding. Let me explain.
To really understand diseases caused by micro-organisms — viruses and bacteria — you have to go back to the Pasteur / Bechamp / Bernard debate. Pasteur’s view was basically “micro-organisms are the cause of disease … kill the bad guys and the disease will stop … ergo … go get a shot of penicillin … go get a vaccine … etc. etc.” Big Pharma liked Pasteur because it enabled them to sell something in a pill or a syringe that would “help” people. Bechamp / Bernard agreed that micro-organisms were involved, but they asserted that the “terrain” (bodily environment) was also important. I’m not sure if they ever said anything as strong as “if your terrain is good, you won’t get sick” but they certainly believed that disease could be reduced by improving the “terrain.” As an aside — and yes I realize this is anecdotal evidence — I myself have been working on improving my own “terrain” in recent years and I did in fact avoid serious symptoms from COVID. (I have been moving steadily towards the “PE Diet” promoted by Dr. Ted Naiman — in a nutshell, the program is High Protein / Low “Energy” (carbs / fats) … i.e. the ratio of P/E should be high according to Dr. Naiman. It’s somewhat similar to the Carnivore Diet.
Naiman points out that in the last 50 years we have had an Obesity Epidemic at least in the USA (not sure about other countries) and he says it’s caused by a LOW P/E Ratio and I agree with him. He says a steady Low P/E Ratio for years gives rise to all kinds of chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, obesity … AND … viral disease.
IOW viral disease tends to be much worse in people who have been on a steady Low P/E Diet for years … i.e. their “terrain” is not optimum. There have recently been a number of papers published on this relatively new topic.
So yes, the pandemic was horrible and yes one cause was the “Wuhan virus” but a more important cause — in my opinion — was the Massive Epidemic of Poor Diet that has been prevalent in the USA for the past 50 years, thanks in part to the absolutely WACKO Food Pyramid given by the Federal Gov’t back in the 70s (I think) emphasizing grain foods ferchrissakes!! (The truth is, humans would be just fine with ZERO GRAIN in their diets … in fact, we’d be fine with ZERO CARBS or any kind!!) What we need mostly is PROTEIN and HEALTHY FAT. That’s it. We could live very healthy virtually disease free lives if we ate nothing but ribeye steaks. That’s literally all we need and Dr. Vilhjalmur Stefansson proved it on himself a hundred years ago and I recently posted a one minute video clip of him telling about this on my Facebook page.
But … most people don’t eat like Stefansson did. Most people eat crap mostly. And their poor health / short lifespan reflects this. So it’s no surprise that when the “Wuhan virus” infects them, they get horribly ill.
So that’s my Point #1 …
Point #2 is that our medical establishment failed miserably at responding and the gov’t / media lied throughout and pushed their own power grabbing agendas. First of all, they were completely clueless about EARLY TREATMENT … it took mavericks like Dr. Peter McCullough to lead the charge in Early Treatment. Secondly, once they finally got the patients in their hospitals, the favored “cures” were expensive things like Remdesivir which makes tons of money for Big Pharma but it’s fucking dangerous and resulted in lots of deaths. Thankfully, mavericks like McCullough took matters into their own hands and developed early treatment protocols. And of course got kicked off Twitter, but hopefully that will be reversed soon.
So to sum up … (1) yes, viruses are real … if you want to understand them better, Google Creationist Jerry Bergman’s article “Did God Make Pathogenic Viruses” … I’ve not met many evolutionists that understand viruses properly, but Jerry seems to (2) yes, Ralph Baric and Wuhan people probably teamed up to create gain-of-function in the Wuhan Virus … (3) yes people caught it and got very sick, but the severity of their illness was significantly affected by their horrible diets which caused horrible “terrain” and few in the medical establishment recognized this … (4) early treatment was not promoted by the medical establishment but thankfully WAS promoted by maverick doctors … (5) late treatment WAS administered by the medical establishment and the treatment was often worse than the disease (but it made lots of money for Big Pharma so yippee!) … (6) then Big Pharma — for the first time in history — sells a population-culling-probably-DNA-modifying vaccine under the guise of “protecting you from COVID” (LOLOLOL) (human immune system be damned) and the government / media goes along with these lies and here we are. (7) But … “It’s ok because there are too many people in the world anyway!”
Actually, Jerry Bergman’s creationist intro to virology is a pretty good intro, although it goes somewhat off the rails when it veers into ‘designed vs evolved’ territory —
was particularly bad.
And some of the stuff you write about the consequences of a high-carb diet are true, but hardly news. The rest of your comment is tin-foil hat stuff that has been thoroughly debunked: I mean, Peter McCullough, ferchrissakes! What’s next, Joe Mercola? Yikes.
Lol … you’ve succumbed to the MSM spin jobs about McCullough and Mercola I see! Mercola DOES have SOME nutty stuff — but lots of good stuff too, but I’ve never seen anything nutty from McCullough. “healthfeedback.org” LOL
‘Fraid not, HMGuy. I actually know what I am talking about. Pick any one of McCullough’s 17 claims that healthfeedback.org disputed, and we can have a debate over who’s right and who’s wrong. With data.
You do know what you are talking about??? Who is the judge? You? Or, your so-called science?
I’m willing to sponsor a small, but hopefully relevant, clinical trial where the existence and the clinical effects of viruses can be tested vs controls (mice and rats only) Are you willing to participate? I know you are not a clinician, but this can be educational for both of us.
Do you think this is doable?
Oh well then … if you “actually” know what you’re talking about then that changes everything!!
Game. Set. Match.
Whom are you responding to?
If you wish to have a discussion regarding “the vaccine narrative” (??), this would be the thread to do it on. Details (and data sources) would be key…
Similarly, you’ve made a number of statements about vaccines that are wrong. My favorite is still the “Pfizer vaccine causes seven deaths in its trial” idiocy of Kirsch’s that you repeated here. You should be spending every penny you have to bring him to justice. <grabs popcorn> 😀
I note, HMGuy, that you are unwilling to even attempt a defense of a single one of McCullough’s 17 disputed claims. I win by default.
What do you want? My office and lab is open for you to prove your point. Tell me what you want and we will try to set it up for you. Yeah, we are in Canada, Ontario, I have a vineyard in my backyard…It is freezing cold there sometimes…lol
BTW: McCullough? I told him never , ever to to make this mistake: to say one can’t catch covid 2 times.
What else do you want?
I know who you are and you will learn who I am…
Just an update on this issue:
I’m convinced pathogenic viruses, as described by the main stream science, are bogus. SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t and can not, cause cytopathic effect. If I’m wrong, I need real proof in the lab exps; mine or other. They (viruses) can’t do any harm coz they are dead; inanimate. However, my clinical experience and observational studies show that some pathogenesis happens. Recently, I have challenged some of the terrain theory supporters to prove their point regarding bacteria; i.e e-coli, strep pneumoniae. I know little about bacteria causing diseases but I know enough to challenge their theory…
What I meant to say here is this; nobody, in the right frame of mind, would even attempt to infect 8 mice with SARS CoV-2 “isolate pathogen” that can be obtained by most labs in Canada vs controls. Even those, like Dr.McCullough and the like, so far, refused to “participate” in the experiment. I have to say that the only one who has shown some ‘interest” is Dr. Dr. Byram Bridle. He publicly admitted that viruses are not alive… However, he was not interested in pursuing the issue further, but this is not his statement, but my opinion, as I value his expertise beyond this point.
Someone alerted me recently that apparently a more “deadly virus than SARS-Cov2 was created in the Boston lab”. Have you investigated it DNA-joke?
This is just the first article I googled…
I have to say one thing that ever since this panic-demic began, I realized one thing: many people are willing to deny everything they stand for just to keep up their ego, or the funding, or both.
Not many people, including the so-called freedom movement agents, represented by those like Dr. McCullouagh, who is a hero no doubt in among the unvaxxed, are willing to purse the truth.
Yes, I was wondering why you think it is necessary to issue veiled threats in your comments. They do not score you any charisma points and they make you look insecure. Just sayin’
Also, I recommend that you start working on your argument. That is: try to formulate one. Your four comments above are completely incoherent. For example, your statement:
… appearing in a comment thread to a post where it is explained that viruses were first discovered as being the agents of infectious disease makes you look like an illiterate crackpot. But to top it off, two comments later you yourself link to article discussing the purported creation of new deadly variant of SARS-CoV-2. So what is it going to be? Are viruses incapable of doing any harm or are irresponsible scientists creating deadly specimens? Did you disagree with the conclusions in the article? If so, why did you post it? What point are you trying to make?
Are you out of your mind? I would never do it.
Scientific, experimental base challenges is what I look forward to..
BTW: My company (and my partners) will pay for your inconvenience to do the lab
work. We will send you the framework how the tests will have to be done. As you know this is just a standard procedure.
We only pay for 8 hours of your lab/consulting work.
You are in Holland, right?
The good thing is that clinicians like you and DNA_joke will never refuse a clinical, controlled trial… because this is what you have been trained to do. I know who you are in a sense of your motivation. It is not a threat. You are those people who have done some kind of “lab” work.
All I am saying if people like DNA-jock and you, have reviewed the after “vaccination stats” objectively, and continue in your beliefs based on nothing, you should be stripped of all your titles and duties…
I can’t do it. Not yet
Here is one of my favourite quotes in response to the questioning of the accuracy of the famous RT-PCR test for the real SARS-CoV-2 virus.
” The PCR test detects specific segments of genetic material present in SARS-CoV-2. However, a PCR test cannot distinguish between live and dead viruses.”
How do you create a test that distinguishes between a dead virus and a dead virus they call alive??? lol
Welcome to another scam called virology lol brought you by j-mac lol
Best wishes! This new year appears to have graced me with five responses. Sadly, I note that none of them specifies the point you are trying to make, or addresses how you reconcile viruses being incapable of any harm with the creation of deadly SARS-CoV-2 strains. Oh well, you can do that somewhere in your next five comments.
I take it this is the prestigous facility that hosted the famous chicken-chasing experiments? I am deeply honoured, but sadly I must decline since I am otherwise occupied.
Yep, although I live in the part that prefers calling it “the Netherlands”.
This is most flattering, but I am not a clinician. I do have past experience working in molecular genetics labs, but nowadays I mostly perform bioinformatical analysis on the computer. I am guessing DNA-Jock is not a clinician either, but he is definitely more knowledgeable about medicine than me.
So what about you? Do you have a medical profession?
And you never will, J-Mac. Please stop making empty threats and lighten up a little; it’s a new year!
Again, you appear to have forgotten to state what your point is. Do you believe the PCR test is not useful because it will occasionally result in false positives in individuals recovering from an infection? Are you perhaps incapable of telling what is meant by “dead” and “alive” viruses in that quote? What were you trying to accomplish citing the feedback form from some anonymous commenter which you plucked from the internet?
I seriously cannot tell what you are getting at.
J-Mac seems to have lost the plot. If he ever had it.
He starts with a couple of offers to provide us with the use of his lab, and references his ‘clinical experience’, viz:
But then he switches to offering, along with “his company and partners” [heh], to sponsor work in our labs, viz:
I accept your offer. See the end of this comment.
Now all of a sudden Corneel and I are “clinicians” who have done some kind of lab work. That’s really quaint, and quite deluded: we’ve been pretty clear that we are NOT clinicians, but have a background in lab research. Of course J-Mac may have been confused, in that for the past 15 years or so my job has been to analyze the medical literature, which includes interviewing top clinicians.
Puzzled as to what the ‘titles and duties’ are that we’re gonna lose. But no matter, we’ve discussed lots of “vaccination stats” on these very pages, and J-Mac’s shtick consists of making vague unsupported assertions, extensive use of ellipses, and then running away when shown any actual data.
J-Mac found the following a surprise:
Errr, the RT-PCR test detects viral genomic RNA. Of course it cannot distinguish a functional virus from a non-functional one. NOBODY should find this fact surprising. Although the viral genomic RNA is going to be rather unstable once it’s lost its lipid envelope: the world is positively crawling with RNAses.
I wish your wife, the radiographer, all the best. I’m sure she’s a smart lady, reduced to repeating “Definitely, Lord J” and more often “Up to a point, Lord J” for most of the evening.
In the spirit of giving her a well-deserved rest, I will spend up to 8 hours reviewing your experimental plan. If I finish ahead of schedule, I will return the unused balance. This is just a standard procedure in my company, as is requiring 50% up front.
Four hours at my standard rate ($500/hr) is $2,000. You can Venmo me.
You, and people like you, DNA_sock, will never, ever comply with with scientific method to test if particles called viruses can cause the cytopathic effect vs controls, just like you will never comply with experiments that challenge your more fundamental belief system of evolutionary theory. This is not about viruses… it is about your belief system.
Why do you think $ is a problem?
Please let us know why you have such a strong faith in RT-PCR test nobody pays attention to anymore?
Are you retarded?
Can you access the WHO flu app?
This is by country:
This is by world
I’ve heard that WHO disabled the app ever since someone in Canada exposed it that flu and covid have exactly the same mortality rate…
This can’t be true, can it????
The problem about viruses is not what a clinician can test them and how. The problem is philosophical in nature:
ARE VIRUSES ALIVE?
Keep in mind that if viruses are dead as clearly they are, how could they have evolved? $500 an hour? How about a Nobel Prize and millions after one can prove it?https://microbiologysociety.org/publication/past-issues/what-is-life/article/are-viruses-alive-what-is-life.html
I don’t know about you but if this issue were about my beliefs, something I hold dearly in my heart, I wouldn’t put a price on it no matter what…
How do you feel?
Typical J-Mac. I have been asking you to clarify your position and instead you become completely unhinged. Why would the pathogenicity of viruses have any bearing whatsoever on my acceptance of evolutionary theory? Methinks you have been visiting too many conspiracy sites of late.
You appear to be labouring under the misapprehension that I believe only living entities can evolve. This is not the case, so your philosophical conundrum poses no threat whatsoever to my “belief system”, as you call it.
This topic we have discussed previously in exquisite detail. My position can be found in that thread so re-read it if you are interested. I note that your position at that time was that viruses are “animated”, not dead like you are claiming now. What made you change your mind?
I feel very amused seeing that DNA_Jock correctly assessed that you would chicken out when he would accept your bogus challenge.
To evolve, viruses do not need to be “alive”, they only need to reproduce. Which they clearly do, and that’s what makes them dangerous.
The major reason covid is generating so many variants is there are so many hosts serving as testbeds. And the reason there are so many hosts is because those hosts (us folks) aren’t taking sensible precautions to keep ourselves healthy. And the main reasons we aren’t taking precautions is because (1) wearing masks, getting vaccinated, and keeping social distance is inconvenient; and (2) some nitwits prefer to believe the virus is a hoax, vaccines are dangerous, and that new variants cannot evolve because viruses are “dead” and evolution is itself a hoax.
We are quite directly the victims of our own willful ignorance. As Pogo said, we have met the enemy and he is us.