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Added: March 9, 2022
Staff at the Chinese laboratory central to questions about the origins of the crisis have admitted ‘devastating pandemics can occur’ at facilities housing dangerous viruses.
In a 2,000-word article published in a scientific journal, two professors at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) laid out a series of recommendations to avoid spillovers — despite fears that Covid leaked from their own facility.
The journal entry, described as ‘beyond satire’, advocates for ‘sharing and transparency’ between global biolabs and promotes the ‘exchange of samples and information’.
But British scientists told MailOnline their calls for openness were ironic because has stifled independent investigations into the Chinese lab’s ties to Covid.
Writing in the paper, WIV virologists Professors Han Xia and Zhiming Yuan warned that biological threats, whether natural ‘or accidentally or deliberately released’, can ‘endanger lives and disrupt economies worldwide’.
‘At one level this paper is a well-written, workmanlike review of biosafety level four labs, and the need for chess camp atlanta them,’ said Professor David Livermore, a microbiologist at East Anglia University.’At another level it is beyond satire.’
The Wuhan lab — located just 10 miles away from the first confirmed Covid case, at the Huanan seafood market — worked extensively on bat coronaviruses and was known to be experimenting on Covid’s closest known relatives.
‘The authors don’t mention this,’ Professor Livermore added.’Indeed they say nothing of the assertion that SARS-CoV-2 escaped from the Wuhan lab. One wonders if the referees or editor raised the topic, or if they thought it “bad manners” to do so.’
The ‘lab leak’ theory was initially dismissed as conspiracy at the start of the pandemic in favour of a natural origin, but the hypothesis gained momentum following a series of revelations and cover-ups.
Crucial information about the earliest infected patients was wiped from the Wuhan lab’s database in late 2019 and one of its staff vanished after coming down with a mysterious flu-like illness.
Professor Han and Professor Zhiming declared they had no ‘known competing interests that could have appeared to influence’ their writing.MailOnline has contacted the publisher Elsevier and the Chinese scientists for comment.
But Professor Livermore said: ‘How on earth can Elsevier, who published the paper, allow such nonsense when there are self-evident conflicts?’
The Wuhan lab — located just 10 miles away from the first confirmed Covid case — specialises in engineering dangerous bat coronaviruses and was experimenting on Covid’s closest known relatives
Professor Han Xia (left) and Professor Zhiming Yuan from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, admitted ‘devastating pandemics can occur’ at facilities housing dangerous viruses
Virologist Shi Zheng-li works with her colleague in the P4 lab of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Hubei province – which is at the heart of the lab-leak theory.Nicknamed the ‘Bat Lady’, Zheng-li hunted down dozens of deadly Covid-like viruses in bat caves and studied them at the WIV
Pictured: The Wuhan Institute of Virology, where some believe the virus may have been accidentally leaked from
The lab is one of 59 level four maximum containment labs housing the most deadly viruses in the world, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where some believe the Covid pandemic may have originated
Dr Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at the University of Reading, told MailOnline that while the article was probably well intentioned, it means nothing if China continues its reign of censorship.
‘All the things that are advocated for are entirely proper and would be good things to do, they would undoubtedly reduce the chances of outbreaks of infections occurring again,’ he said.
‘However genuine Chinese scientists are in wanting to work towards such aims, without buy-in from their government, they are pointless.
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox news halfRHS" data-version="2" id="mol-27a5b270-9faa-11ec-9678-2354503a3312" website at Wuhan lab admit 'pandemics can occur' if viruses escape