Friday, January 21

China responds to accusations against Wuhan: “The virus came from a laboratory … from the US”

  • Pandemic The Wuhan Laboratory, Ground Zero of Suspicions
  • USA Biden gives intelligence services 90 days to discover how Covid-19 arose

New chapter of the epidemiological puzzle. Washington has taken up the hard line towards Beijing because of the origins of the coronavirus and calls for new studies on when, where and how the pandemic began. And, most importantly, he has succeeded in resurrecting the theory of an accident in the Wuhan laboratory. A theory that has once again moved away from conspiratorial terrain to become a powerful hypothesis within the United States.

Bats remain prime candidates for being the original hosts for SARS-CoV-2, but the intermediate host was unknown before the coronavirus was transmitted to humans. It is also unclear when it started to spread or from where.

More than three and a half million dead later, there are still more questions than answers. And politics once again cross the path of science. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he had ordered US intelligence agencies to find out the origins of the pandemic within 90 days. This has angered China because the echoes of whether the virus could have escaped from its Wuhan laboratory have been awakened.

Beijing, which put all possible stones in the way of an independent search in Wuhan at the beginning of the pandemic, continues with its script to try to erase its trace at the origin: it asks that the scrutiny be directed to other countries. Repeat that idea over and over. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) is preparing to begin a second phase of research with the two world powers marking opposing positions on how to trace the origins of the virus.

The starting point, at least until proven otherwise, remains the city of Wuhan. And the P4 laboratory, the highest level of biosafety because it studies the most contagious pathogens, continues to be at the center of all the controversies and the dialectical war between Washington and Beijing.

We must go back to February of last year to rescue the first statements of Donald Trump talking about the “Chinese virus” and pointing to the lab. I immediately received responses from China. Much noise made the statements of Zhao Lijian, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, hinting that US soldiers were the ones who brought the virus to Wuhan taking advantage of the celebration of the Military World Games. 9,693 athletes from 110 countries attended that then unknown and cloudy city in the center of the Asian giant. It was the first time that these games were organized outside the military bases; the first time all competitions were held within a city. Even, unlike previous editions, the athletes stayed in an Olympic Village, accompanied by more than 26,000 volunteers who met their needs.

Zhao fed his theory in April by sharing it on Twitter. To many it seemed like a response to President Trump’s constant attacks. Later it will be the respected pulmonologist and chairman of the Chinese Health Commission, Zhong Nanshan, who will give a push to Zhao’s dart, pointing out that it exists. “the possibility that the source of the virus was not in China“.

Labs, conspiracies and guilt

The conspiracy theory penetrated the Asian giant, its people and its means. “The United States is urged to release information on the health of military athletes who came to Wuhan in October 2019,” read a March 2020 headline in the daily Global times, one of the most aggressive media tentacles of the Communist Party. A couple of weeks earlier, that newspaper had published a story about five athletes who were admitted to a hospital during the Games and who were quarantined. “They were infected with malaria, not with Covid-19,” they clarified. But the March article did give rise to an alleged investigation by an American journalist who had singled out a American military athlete as “patient zero.”

Precisely, the Global Times published an editorial yesterday saying that if the “laboratory leak theory” is further investigated, the United States should also allow researchers to enter its own scientific facilities. This newspaper, always under the supervision of the Chinese authorities, returned to rescue another old theory: the origin of the coronavirus could be in the biological laboratory of Fort Detrick, in Maryland.

The Chinese embassy in Washington also spoke out on Thursday, assuring in a statement that “some political forces have become obsessed with manipulation and blame gameThey assure that China supports “a comprehensive study of all the first cases of Covid-10 found around the world and a thorough investigation of some secret bases and biological laboratories around the world.”

The zero patient

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, has charged in its Thursday article directly against Anthony Fauci, America’s leading infectious disease expert, who made a statement on May 11 saying that I was not totally convinced that Covid-19 developed naturally and that he believes that more research is needed on its origin. “The American elites further degenerate in morality, and Fauci is one of them,” Hu writes in his article, which accuses Fauci of “stoking a big lie against China by promoting the theory that the coronavirus leaked from a laboratory of Wuhan “.

Fauci’s comments were followed by an exclusive from Wall Street Journal, citing a US intelligence report that three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology got sick in November 2019 with symptoms typical of Covid and went to the hospital.

If we take a look at the WHO website, based on the information reported from China, the first confirmed case of Covid-19 dates from December 8 in Wuhan. Although the first infected person recognized by the authorities is a 57-year-old woman named Wei Guixian, who ran a shrimp stall at the Huanan seafood and wildlife market, designated as the place where the outbreak occurred. Wei started showing symptoms on December 10. Six days later, he was admitted to the hospital for an “unknown illness,” the doctors said.

So far, the only field investigation (Wuhan) was carried out in January by an international team of scientists from the WHO. A couple of months later, they released a 120-page report co-authored by 17 WHO experts and 17 Chinese scientists. The prevailing theory remained: the virus originated in bats, jumped to another animal and mut in a way that then allowed him to pass from human to human. One of the highlights of the report was the view that “introduction through a laboratory incident was an extremely unlikely route.”

A claim they clung to in China to insist that it is due to investigate the origin of the pandemic in other countries. “According to clues, reports and investigations, the COVID-19 pandemic was detected in various parts of the world in the early second half of 2019,” spokesman Zhao Lijian said yesterday. “With more evidence of early cases emerging in other countries, including the US, Spain, Italy, France, Brazil and India, some even earlier than the cases reported in Wuhan, several prominent Chinese public health experts have called on the WHO to follow the evidence and conduct global field studies in the coming months. “

But from Washington they continue to pressure the WHO not to remove from Wuhan the main focus of a second investigation. In the US they doubt that the international health organization has the capacity to carry out an investigation without falling under pressure from Beijing. A criticism of the WHO that the current Biden administration has inherited from the previous Trump administration.

“We have been saying that for a long time China needed to provide more access to the laboratory, cooperate more fully with scientific investigators, and we do not believe they have met that standard, “Karine Jean-Pierre, White House deputy press secretary, Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser for COVID-19, said Wednesday. 19, also said this week that the United States needed a “completely transparent process from China. We need WHO to help in that matter. We don’t feel like we have it now. “

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