COVID-19 coronavirus originated from a government lab?
Citing a report published by Chinese scientists,... a Chinese-language newspaper published in Hong Kong, Ming Pao, and the British daily, The Mirror, explained Sunday that the Wuhan Center for Disease Control, or WHCDC, could have spawned the contagion in Hubei Province.
According to the report penned by Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao of the South China University of Technology,... the research lab, which is only 280 meters away from the Huanan seafood market,... kept disease-ridden animals including more than 600 bats. It stated that while it's plausible the virus was leaked from the lab and contaminated initial patients in this epidemic,... more solid evidence is required through future study. The report also raised the possibility that the Wuhan Institute of Virology could have leaked the virus while it was carrying out tests involving Chinese horseshoe bats.
Against such a background,... an article published by the Washington Times late last month is garnering attention, as it raised the possibility that the disastrous outbreak could be the accidental result of biological weapons research.
This comes as a renowned law professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Xu Zhangrun, is known to be missing after publicly condemning Chinese President Xi Jinping for failing to contain the spread of the virus at an early stage. He even added the condemnation could be the last message of his life.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News (South Korea)
Now, a team of scientists from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of Chinese Academy of Sciences, South China Agricultural University, and Chinese Institute for Brain Research wrote in a paper published on ChinaXiv, about an alternative source of the coronavirus that is currently spreading across the globe.
The scientists say they have found genomic evidence that the seafood market is not the actual source of the outbreak. Instead, they point the source of the virus outbreak to a laboratory that studies potent viruses.
The Wuhan Virology Institute researches some of the world's most dangerous pathogens. It is China's first Biosafety Level 4 laboratory, the highest security level needed to isolate dangerous biological agents in an enclosed facility.
The novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that emerged in the city of Wuhan, China, last year and has since caused a large scale COVID-19 epidemic and spread to more than 70 other countries is the product of natural evolution, according to findings published today in the journal Nature Medicine.
The analysis of public genome sequence data from SARS-CoV-2 and related viruses found no evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory or otherwise engineered.
“By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes,” said Kristian Andersen, PhD, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research and corresponding author on the paper.