The origin of COVID-19: Chinese lab at heart of ‘leak theory’

Beijing, China | Did he let the Corona virus escape? This hypothesis targets the Wuhan Institute of Virology, It was promoted by the previous Donald Trump governmentHowever, it was considered “extremely unlikely” in the new joint WHO expert report from China.

Also read: All hypotheses about the origin of the virus deserve “further studies.”

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This text, a copy of which was obtained by AFP on Monday, supports the hypothesis that the virus was transmitted to humans via an animal. Hit with a racket.

Here are some questions about the Wuhan Institute of Virology (Central China), the city where the coronavirus was first detected at the end of 2019.

What are the facilities?

This public institute contains the largest collection of virus strains in Asia, with 1,500 samples, according to its website.

Since 2012, it has had a highly secure P3 laboratory (for “Category 3 pathogens”) that studies many viruses, in particular coronaviruses.

The director of this lab is Shi Jingli, who specializes in working on coronaviruses, sometimes called the “Chinese Batwoman.”

The Institute of Virology also contains P4 (for the most dangerous pathogens). A safer lab that can harbor strains like Ebola – extremely deadly.

The P4 was officially opened in 2018 and visited the previous year by former French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, this P4 was created in cooperation with France.

What do its researchers do?

Equipped with full suits, in a workspace designed to avoid any leakage, researchers from Wuhan are studying various pathogens. Objective: the ability to respond quickly to the emergence of infectious diseases.

Researchers have authored several studies on the links between bats and the emergence of these diseases in China.

They also helped understand the new Corona virus better after its appearance in Wuhan.

In February 2020, their work was published in a scientific journal. Conclusion: The sequence of the Sars-CoV-2 genome is 96% similar to that of a bat coronavirus.

Are they isolated from the world?

No. They regularly collaborate with foreign scholars.

Two researchers from Wuhan, for example, in 2015 participated in an international study with several American universities, during which pathogens were created in order to analyze the risk of a virus similar to SARS.

The institute collaborated with the EcoHealth Alliance, a US-based association specializing in disease prevention, whose president, Peter Daszak, was among the experts sent by the World Health Organization (WHO) in January to Wuhan.

Is leakage possible?

There is no evidence to support this hypothesis.

Before returning to his loincloth as head of US diplomacy, Mike Pompeo pointed the finger again at the Wuhan Institute in mid-January.

“The United States government has reason to believe that many researchers within (the institution) contracted the disease in the fall of 2019, before the first case of the epidemic was determined, with symptoms consistent with those, whether from COVID-19, or common seasonal,” he said.

to me Washington PostThe US Embassy in Beijing, after visits to the institute, alerted US authorities in 2018 to security measures they deemed insufficient.

The director of the Institute of Virology and the Chinese government categorically denied that these laboratories are the source of the Corona virus.

At the end of their mission in China, the experts sent by the World Health Organization seemed to rule out the possibility that the virus had escaped from the Institute of Virology, considering it “extremely unlikely.”

The hypothesis is now considered “extremely unlikely” in the joint report by the World Health Organization and Chinese experts.

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