“Damning” science strongly suggests that COVID-19 is a man-made monster, optimized in a lab for maximum infectivity before hitting the outside to catastrophic effect, two experts said Sunday. Writing in an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Steven Quay and Richard Muller pointed to two key pieces of evidence to support the claim, which has increasingly gained steam after long being derided as little more than speculation. The first relates to the nature of gain-of-function research, in which microbiologists tweak a virus’ genome to alter its properties, such as making it more transmissible or more lethal. Of the 36 possible genome pairings that can produce two arginine amino acids in a row — which results in boosting a virus’ lethality — the one most commonly used in gain-of-function research is CGG-CGG, or double CGG, wrote Quay and Muller. “The insertion sequence of choice is the double CGG,” wrote Quay, the founder of Atossa Therapeutics, and Muller, a former top scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who now teaches physics at the University of California’s Berkeley campus.