Last year, the first known cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan, with Beijing claiming the virus spread naturally from anim
Last year, the first known cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan, with Beijing claiming the virus spread naturally from animals to humans in a food market selling exotic animals.
However, a Sunday Times investigation has raised concerns over Wuhan’s renowned Institute of Virology.
Scientists from the institute analysed a potentially deadly coronavirus, which is the closest known relative to COVID-19, after traces were found in an abandoned copper mine in 2013.
Six workers were called in to clear bat faeces but subsequently fell ill with a mysterious repository disease.
Three of them died.
WHO COVID-19 investigators won’t visit Wuhan lab
Chinese authorities claim virus spread naturally
Despite links to COVID-19, the WHO is only investigation the zoonotic source of the outbreak after experts flew to Beijing this week.
The WHO has been criticised for accepting China’s preferred theory the virus passed naturally from animals to humans in the exotic meat market.
Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said: “An inquiry that presupposes without evidence that the virus entered humans through a natural zoonotic spillover and that fails to address the alternative possibility that the virus entered humans through a laboratory accident, will have no credibility.
“To have any credibility and any value, an investigation must address the possibility that the virus entered humans through a laboratory accident and must also address the further possibility that the ability of the virus to infect humans was enhanced through laboratory manipulation.”
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First cases of COVID-19 were reported in Wuhan
Nikolai Petrovsky, a professor of endocrinology at Flinders University in South Australia, echoed Mr Ebright’s concerns.
Professor Petrovsky argued the WHO had the authority to ask China questions relation to samples of the virus RaTG13, which has a 92 percent match to COVID-19.
She Zhengli, known as the Bat Woman, revealed in a paper back in February samples of the virus had been stored in the Wuhan Institute’s Centenaries for Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Peter Daszak, a British born US-based zoologist who has worked for 15 years in a team headed by Ms Zhengli, seemingly confirmed the same virus was found in the mines, even though the name was changed.
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Coronavirus cases around the world
Mr Petrovsky went on to argue the WHO must discover why the Wuhan lab changed the name of the virus.
Accusations the virus began in Wuhan were raised at the very early stages of the outbreak.
US President Donald Trump has continually blamed Beijing for deliberately causing the pandemic.
Mr Trump also lashed out at the WHO for being “China-centric” and criticised their handling of the outbreak.
Donald Trump has blamed China for COVID-19
He said: “The World Health Organisation has been a disaster. Everything they said was wrong and they’re China-centric.
“All they do is agree with China, whatever China wants to do. So our country, perhaps foolishly in retrospect has been paying $450million a year to the World Health Organisation an
China’s been paying $38million a year but they were more political than all of our leaders previously.
“What they did, what World Health did, was they missed every single call and we’re not going to put up with it.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping
Trump also condemned the Communist nation for not alerting global leaders on the severity of the virus and said Beijing failed to admit their mistakes.
China has denied starting the virus and even claim it did not originate in the Communist nation but instead brought over from Europeans.
The country has seen a rise in cases over recent weeks and Beijing was forced to go into lockdown again.