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There are currently 11,483,400 confirmed cases of coronavirus globally, with 535,027 people having died of the disease. The US is by far the worst affected, with over two million confirmed cases of coronavirus, and record high unemployment levels as economies across the globe shrink at alarming rates. World leaders have been demanding to know the truth about the coronavirus and new information is slowly coming to light. Investigations have revealed that a shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators during one of the most dangerous experiments known to exist could be responsible for the outbreak.
China’s secretive Wuhan virus lab has been at the centre of claims around the origin of COVID-19.
However, China has repeatedly hit back at claims that the virus escaped from a Wuhan lab.
Laboratory leaks are not uncommon, and have not only been found to have occurred in China.
Both Ebola and the fatal bat disease Marburg, which kills nine out of 10 people infected, previously escaped from BSL-4 laboratories in the US.
In China, 2004, several people were infected by Sars after an accident at China’s National Institute of Virology in Beijing.
The need for a secure facility in Wuhan was obvious.
Wuhan is the centre for research into the coronavirus in bats.
Shi Zhengli, nicknamed “Bat Woman” by her colleagues, is heralded as a hero in China and in scientific communities across the world.
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Shi and her team had already collected hundreds of samples of the coronavirus — including RaBtCov/4991 — from their work on bats across Yunnan province.
Shi and her team were running controversial experiments to find out how they might mutate to become more infectious to humans.
However, despite China’s denial, there is one major coincidence.
Bats in Yunnan are 1,000 miles from her laboratory, and one of the most extraordinary coincidences of the Covid-19 pandemic is that ground zero happened to be in Wuhan, the world centre for the study.
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This is also the world centre for storage of the types of coronavirus the city’s own scientists believe caused the outbreak.
The study was controversial because it had the potential to turn bat coronaviruses into human pathogens capable of causing a pandemic.
This is something that had worried the US, and in 2014 the US government issued a ban on funding any endeavour to make a virus more contagious.
Shi’s team argued that gain-of-function work increased its understanding of how an ordinary coronavirus might one day transform into a killer such as Sars.
Others disagreed. “The debate is whether in fact you learn more by helping to develop vaccines or even drugs by replicating a more virulent virus than currently exists, versus not doing that,” explained Deenan Pillay, professor of virology at University College London.
“And I think the consensus became that the risk was too much.”
In January 2018 the US embassy in Beijing took the unusual step of sending scientists with diplomatic status to Wuhan to find out what was going on in the institute’s new biosafety laboratories.
They met Shi and members of her team.
Details of the diplomats’ findings have been found in US diplomatic cables that were leaked to The Washington Post.
A cable from January 19, 2018 states: “Most importantly, the researchers also showed that various Sars-like coronaviruses can interact with ACE2, the human receptor identified for Sars-coronavirus. This finding strongly suggests that Sars-like coronaviruses from bats can be transmitted to humans to cause Sars-like diseases.”
The Americans were evidently worried about safety.
“During interactions with scientists at the WIV laboratory, they noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory,” the cable added.
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