Indian scientists explored the “unconventional evolution” of Sars-CoV-2 in January 2020
“One of such studies that was brought to the notice of Fauci was a research paper by some scientists from India. In January 2020, Indian researchers had published a paper, where they had found that the spike glycoprotein (S) of SARS-CoV-2 had four insertions which are not found in any other Coronavirus, and the insertions are similar to those found in HIV virus. The study had raised that possibility that SARS-CoV-2 may have been bio-engineered using the existing Coronavirus and HIV virus.”
Preprint: Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag
** UPDATE 1 **
A day after the authors withdrew the above paper, on 2 February 2020, the director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Shi Zhengli, and her team, published the sequence of a bat coronavirus called RaTG13 in what was the very first paper to properly describe and characterise what would eventually become known as the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
** Update 2 **
Indian researcher still backs their study and says they were forced by vested interests to withdraw
OpIndia talked to Ashutosh Kumar Pandey, one of the researchers of the study. Earlier he had commented on Twitter that they stand by their conclusion that the SARS-CoV-2 is not natural. “We said this in Jan 2020, we are saying it again”, he had tweeted.