Infectious clone

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Concept.png Infectious clone
(bioweapon,  research tool)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Artificially created homogenous copies of a single RNA virion, usable as a bioweapon creating symptoms of acute respiratory distress

Infectious clones are artificially created from naturally occurring RNA coronaviruses by conversion to complementary DNA (cDNA). This method of culturing allows them to be prepared in large quantities and in a far higher homogeneity than in nature, allowing both for their systematic research and opening their potential for use as a bioweapon with effects similar to a naturally occurring virus.


Infectious clones were first made in the 1970s.[1] A replication competent RNA virion is transcribed to DNA using a reverse transcriptase[2]. Since DNA has two strands, in this form it can replicate with a far greater degree of fidelity, so it can be effectively cultured in a lab. When a sufficient quantity is prepared, it converted back to RNA using one of a variety of ways.[3] The end product is very uniform, almost 100% replication competent RNA.


In nature, RNA viruses are very imperfect in reproduction, and only a very small fraction of the copies are replication competent. This made them very hard to study until the technique of cloning using DNA was developed. A major purpose of the infectious clones is as research tools, since without them RNA is not effectively culturable.

The defective copies, although incapable of replication, are similar enough to viruses to attract the attention of the immune system. This means that they present minimal threat to the healthy. By contrast, the purity and homogeneity of infectious clones means that they result in a much higher viral load -- possibly several orders of magnitude higher -- without a corresponding alert of the immune system, making them a potent bioweapon.

Use in COVID-19

Some commentators such as Jay Couey suggest that infectious clones were probably used in March 2020, and possibly on other occasions, to heighten the perceived threat of the "novel virus". This supposition is supported by the sudden spikes in deaths in a few places -- notably Bergamo, Italy and New York city, but quite probably which were repeatedly (and deceptively) used as spectacles by members of "team Worst Case Scenario" to predict doom. Not only did the death rate rise very quickly and then return to normal similarly quickly, but the excess deaths remained localised, and did not spread to surrounding areas, as an ordinary virus might have been expected to do.[4]

Other uses

SARS was reported to have a case fatality rate of around 10%. The fact that it suddenly died out is consistent with the use of an infectious clone release.

In 2022 the WHO reported MERS to have a case fatality rate of around 35%, noting that "outside the health care setting, there has been limited human-to-human transmission."[5], which also allows for the possibility that it was not caused, as claimed, by a zoonotic jump from camels, but by the release of an infectious clone.


The science of infectious clones is rarely if ever reported in the commercially-controlled media. Jay J. Couey reports that the science is under the control of a small number of academics.

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