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)

 

Update

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.

News Medical Sciences


Update II

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.

 

Update III

The Washington Times:
 
Chinese government researchers isolated more than 2,000 new viruses, including deadly bat coronaviruses, and carried out scientific work on them just three miles from a wild animal market identified as the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several Chinese state media outlets in recent months touted the virus research and lionized in particular a key researcher in Wuhan, Tian Junhua, as a leader in bat virus work.
The coronavirus strain now infecting hundreds of thousands of people globally mutated from bats believed to have infected animals and people at a wild animal market in Wuhan. The exact origin of the virus, however, remains a mystery.

SEE ALSO: Chinese markets again selling bats — likely source of deadly pandemic — reporters say

 

 

 

Update IV

 

Reuters reports: 

"As China fights to prevent a second wave of COVID-19, two experimental vaccines will be trialed on humans, state media Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

The experimental vaccines are being developed by a Beijing-based unit of Nasdaq-listed Sinovac Biotech (SVA.O), and by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, an affiliate of state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group"

 

Update V

 

"There is increasing confidence that the COVID-19 outbreak likely originated in a Wuhan laboratory,....

U.S. Embassy officials warned in January 2018 about inadequate safety at the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab and passed on information about scientists conducting risky research on coronavirus from bats, The Washington Post reported Tuesday."

"The Wuhan wet market initially identified as a possible point of origin never sold bats, and the sources tell Fox News that blaming the wet market was an effort by China to deflect blame from the laboratory"

FoxNews

"SARS-CoV-2 may have emerged through recombination between a bat and a pangolin coronavirus and purifying selection, a new study has found.

GENOMEWEB