Does MOA applied to SARS2 origin refutes Pekar and Worobey?

Regarding the origin of SARS2, there is a vigorous debate between proponents of the zoonotic and lab leak theories. In order to defend their thesis and to confound their opponents, the proponents of the zoonotic theory are waving two publications (Worobey et al, 2022 and Pekar et al, 2022). However, the lab leak proponents dispute the validity of these two publications. For example, it is the case of Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson in the piece below, where they argue that a new method in virology called Mutational Order Analysis (MOA)is superior to the method used by Pekar et al to investigate the origin of SARS2.

The following are the main conclusions that can be drawn when applying MOA to SARS2:

  1. MOA identifies just one root virus (when Pekar et al identify two)

  2. The root virus identified by MOA predates all the root viruses identified by Pekar and Worobey, pushing back the predicted date of SARS-CoV-2 emergence into September, 2019

3 The earliest viruses were highly adapted to human, which, if true, provides nearly incontrovertible evidence for the lab leak hypothesis.

Not being versed in phylogenetics, I cannot really comment on the superiority or not of the MOA over the method used by Pekar et al. But perhaps some experts here such as @John_Harshman or @Joe_Felsenstein may help.

Here is the piece by Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson.

And here are the two publications by the authors applying MOA to the origin of SARS2

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: The COVID Clinic