After a long silence, a discredited laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan has reacted to a much-shared conspiracy theory that the new coronavirus originated there.
Yuan Zhiming, vice director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, said in an interview with Chinese state broadcaster CGTN today that his laboratory was a victim of “conspiracy theory.” Opponents of China were out to blacken the country and “confuse” the world with nonsense stories. He denied that humans caused the coronavirus.
The wildest stories about the institute in Wuhan – for example, that the virus was investigated there and accidentally spread by an infected employee – have been circulating on social media for a while. It is now the first time that public response has been received from someone from the institute.
“We are the ones who research viruses. We know what research is going on here. This virus cannot come from us in any way,” said Yuan Zhiming, who has been trained as a microbiologist and biotechnology expert and has worked in France, Denmark, and the United States.
Wuhan’s virology lab is researching dangerously ill people and has actively collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other United Nations institutions to prepare tests and vaccines for COVID-19, the Chinese emphasis.
Dr. Yuan Zhiming understood how the story had been brought into the world since the laboratory is in the middle of Wuhan, the metropolis that was the epicenter of the infections in China.
The fire that something is not right about the official Chinese story has been fired from America for some time. Multiple conspiracy versions are doing the rounds. Nevertheless, the US renowned newspaper The Washington Post recently received documents showing that the US government was concerned about safety in a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan years ago. The fear then was that one of the experiments might one day go wrong, with all its consequences.
President Trump also regularly plays with the idea that there should be more to it, especially now that he is under fire in his own country about his approach to the virus. Much to China’s chagrin, he continued to call the virus “China or Wuhan virus emphatically”. The official name is Covid-19.
Trump yesterday told that “a lot of strange things are happening” regarding the origins of the pandemic and that US investigations were underway. According to the US president, WHO would know of alleged tampering by the Chinese about the origins of the pandemic. “We will be investigating the terrible situation that has taken place in Wuhan very closely,” said Trump.
Trump’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, added fuel to the fire this week. “We know they have labs in Wuhan. And we know that the virus originated in Wuhan. Those things together… The Chinese now really have to share the true facts.” But evidence that it would indeed have happened this time has not been produced by Pompeo.
Near fish market
The discredited institution – which is located near the suspected Huanan fish market – is said to have a bad reputation for rattling safety regulations. Similarly, the Chinese media has also described how a researcher had to be quarantined once after the bats he studied attacked him.
Indeed, in research institutes in Wuhan, scientists are investigating dangerous diseases. The institution in question has the highest possible level of security for such research. Still, US diplomats warned two years ago that “unnecessary risks were taken”, that “the viruses under investigation pose a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic”, and “there a shortage of well-trained researchers which will make this lab work safely”. Evidence for all that has never been provided.
US intelligence agencies are still investigating, according to Trump, whether the coronavirus did not accidentally arise from Wuhan’s research laboratory. That would have happened while researching diseases in bats, the story goes. One theory is that a Chinese laboratory technician may have accidentally become infected with the virus and then unknowingly spread it around the city.
“It’s not likely, but it could be,” a source told CBS today. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian reiterated last week that WHO had said repeatedly that there is no evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory. “Many well-known medical experts around the world also think that the story has come out of thin air,” said Zhao Lijian.
Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier, the man who discovered HIV in 1983 and was awarded the Nobel Prize, claims that the new coronavirus is not of natural origin and originated in a laboratory. Known for his love of polemics, Montagnier claims that Covid-19 accidentally escaped from a lab in Wuhan.
According to Montagnier, it would have happened earlier. The deadly SARS virus is said to have arisen in an accident when the Chinese were working on a vaccine against HIV. Montagnier made the statements to the French channel CNews.
The fact that the origins of the pandemic are used by both Americans and Chinese to fool each other has been going on for some time. For example, a Chinese conspiracy story wants the US military to release the virus in China.