According to a previously undisclosed US intelligence report, three Wuhan lab staff members got sick last November 2019. More than a month before China reported a cluster of pneumonia cases, researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology had to seek hospital care.
This development potentially supports a theory that the COVID-19 virus escaped from a lab.
Trump Administration State Department Report
The report, issued during the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration, shed light on some details. It said that several researchers at the Chinese lab, a center for the study of coronaviruses and other pathogens, became sick in autumn 2019.
They displayed symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness.
This report came out on the eve of a World Health Organization meeting this month. The body will meet to discuss the next phase of how COVID-19 started.
Current and former officials familiar with the intelligence about the lab researchers expressed differing views. One person said that the data, provided by an international partner, is significant but needs more proof.
Another source said that the intelligence used to gather the facts is strong. Another person described intelligence as stronger.
“The information that we had coming from the various sources was of exquisite quality. It was very precise. What it didn’t tell you was exactly why they got sick,” he said, referring to the researchers.
November 2019 – Wuhan Lab Staff
Many epidemiologists and virologists believe SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the pandemic, started making its rounds in November 2019. The virus circulated around the Chinese city of Wuhan, where Beijing confirmed the first case occurred on Dec 8, 2019.
However, the Wuhan Institute has yet to share its raw data, safety logs, and lab records on its extensive work with coronaviruses in bats. Many consider the flying mammal the most likely source of the virus.
China Denies COVID-19 Escaped From It Labs
Meanwhile, China repeatedly denied that the virus escaped from one of its labs. On Sunday, China’s foreign ministry said that the WHO team’s conclusion after visiting the Wuhan Lab staff was negative for any lab leaks.
“The US continues to hype the lab leak theory. Is it actually concerned about tracing the source or trying to divert attention?” the ministry said.
On the other hand, the Biden administration declined to comment on the intelligence. In addition, they said that the WHO should investigate all technically credible theories on the origin of the pandemic.
“We continue to have serious questions about the earliest days of the Covid-19 pandemic, including its origins within the People’s Republic of China,” said a spokeswoman for the National Security Council.
“We’re not going to make pronouncements that prejudge an ongoing WHO study into the source of SARS-CoV-2,” the spokeswoman said. “As a matter of policy, we never comment on intelligence issues.”
Other Suspected Points of Origins
Apart from an escape from the Wuhan lab staff, there are many other suspected origins of the virus. China called on the WHO to investigate reports that the virus allegedly started at a lab in Fort Derrick, Maryland.
Beijing also said WHO should investigate other countries. Most scientists say the US military lab allegations are not likely. In fact, the White House said there are no credible reasons to investigate it.
Meanwhile, Shi Zhengli, the top bat coronavirus expert at WIV, said the virus didn’t leak from her laboratories. She told the investigating WHO-led team that all staff tested negative for Covid-19 antibodies.
In addition, her coronavirus team did not turn over any staff. Marion Koopmans, a Dutch virologist that is a member of the WHO team, said that WIV staff did fall sick in the autumn of 2019.
However, she attributed the illness to regular and seasonal sickness. “There were occasional illnesses because that’s normal. There was nothing that stood out. Maybe one or two. It’s certainly not a big, big thing,” she insisted.
Watch the Business Today reporting that Wuhan lab researchers hospitalized before the outbreak:
Do you believe that the COVID-19 virus came from an accidental escape from a Wuhan Laboratory? Is the sickness reported among the Wuhan lab staff proof of the virus origin there?
Let us know what you think about the beginning of COVID-19. Leave your thoughts below in the comment section.