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REPORT: China’s Wuhan Lab Could Have Created Coronavirus Back in 2017

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Back in 2017, the Wuhan Institute of Virology had “all the genes” from wild bats to create a SARS coronavirus similar to the epidemic strain, according to National Pulse, citing an article published that same year in the Science News journal. The team, led by Shin Zhengli, dubbed “the bat woman” by the media, had been surveying wild bats in China’s Yunnan province for five years, according to the outlet.

They discovered 11 SARS-related virus strains “in horseshoe bats (particularly Rhinolophus sinicus)” that were similar to “the human version of SARS.”

According to the National Pulse, the Science News article was cross-posted on the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s website before being removed. The article also includes a comment from Dr Ralph Baric, a virologist from the United States.

Wuhan lab leak coronavirus
Story that was posted on Wuhan Lab’s site, as reported by The National Pulse.

“The viruses are poised to cause future outbreaks. We can’t let our guard down”, wrote Dr Baric.

As previously stated, hypotheses that COVID-19 originated in a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first cases of the disease were reported, were dismissed as wild conspiracy theories at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Scientists believe the virus began in bats, spread to an intermediate animal (most likely a pangolin), and then to humans. The World Health Organization has also backed this theory, saying it is “extremely unlikely” that the virus was created by humans.

However, a recent Wall Street Journal report appears to have shifted public perception of the lab-leak scenario. According to the newspaper, three employees at the Wuhan Institute of Virology became ill in November 2019 “with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illness,” several weeks before Chinese authorities announced the first case of SARS-CoV-2. The researchers were so ill, according to the outlet, that they sought hospital treatment.

Following the report, the Biden administration announced a new investigation into the origins of the pandemic, prompting a strong rebuke from Beijing. China accused Washington of “political manipulation” and stated that the White House “does not care about facts and truth, nor is serious scientific origin tracing interested.”


About the author

Polina Tikhonova

Polina Tikhonova from Kyiv is Insider Paper’s Editor/Writer. Besides editing pieces, Polina covers articles with a focus on World affairs and politics at Insider Paper. Polina holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. Her articles and news reports have been published by many newspapers, magazines, journals, blogs, and online media sources across the globe. Polina is fluent in English, German, Ukrainian, and Russian.

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