- The idea is ‘no longer being discounted,’ according to Government sources
- A Cobra member said it did not rule out that the virus spread from a laboratory
- But Downing Street said it ‘did not recognise’ the claims being made
Ministers fear that the coronavirus pandemic might have been caused by a leak from a Chinese laboratory, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Senior Government sources say that while ‘the balance of scientific advice’ is still that the deadly virus was first transmitted to humans from a live animal market in Wuhan, a leak from a laboratory in the Chinese city is ‘no longer being discounted’.
Wuhan is home to the Institute of Virology, the most advanced laboratory of its type on the Chinese mainland. The £30million institute, based ten miles from the infamous wildlife market, is supposed to be one of the most secure virology units in the world.
But despite its reputation for high security, there have been unverified local reports that workers at the institute became infected after being sprayed by blood, and then carried the infection into the local population.
A second institute in the city, the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control – which is barely three miles from the market – is also believed to have carried out experiments on animals such as bats to examine the transmission of corona viruses.