Wuhan Lab workers sickened BEFORE disease ‘discovered’ – Declassified U.S. intelligence bolsters WUHAN LAB theory in coronavirus outbreak

The Washington Times:

“The Chinese government has destroyed all the evidence from the outbreak because they want to avoid saying it began from a laboratory leak,” said a U.S. official familiar with intelligence reports. “China is trying to sell a story to the world that it began as a naturally occurring event from a wet market in Wuhan.”

U.S. intelligence findings recently declassified by the State Department provide fresh evidence for the theory that the COVID-19 pandemic likely began at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, China’s sole high-security laboratory that has links to the country’s military.

The department, in a report made public this month by the outgoing Trump administration, disclosed for the first time that several workers at the Wuhan institute, where research on deadly viruses is conducted, were sickened in the autumn of 2019 with COVID-19-like symptoms.

The report also made public U.S. intelligence that the People’s Liberation Army conducted secret research on covert biological warfare at the institute. Chinese leaders have consistently denied any link between the lab and the outbreak of COVID-19 and have even promoted speculation that the United States or some other foreign source brought the virus to China.

The lab illnesses were detected prior to the first publicized case of COVID-19 in Wuhan in early December 2019, but China has refused to disclose what happened to the workers.

“Accidental infections in labs have caused several previous virus outbreaks in China and elsewhere, including a 2004 SARS outbreak in Beijing that infected nine people, killing one,” the report states.

“This raises questions about the credibility of WIV senior researcher Shi Zhengli’s public claim that there was ‘zero infection’ among the WIV’s staff and students of SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-related viruses.”

“Based on my experience and understanding of the science, it’s hard to believe this is a naturally occurring phenomenon,” said Robert G. Darling, a medical doctor and expert on biological weapons formerly with the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

“This raises questions about the credibility of WIV senior researcher Shi Zhengli’s public claim that there was ‘zero infection’ among the WIV’s staff and students of SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-related viruses.”

“Based on my experience and understanding of the science, it’s hard to believe this is a naturally occurring phenomenon,” said Robert G. Darling, a medical doctor and expert on biological weapons formerly with the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

“I think somebody [in Wuhan] caught their experiment,” said Dr. Darling, now chief medical officer for Patronus Medical.

William Lang, a former associate chief medical officer at the Homeland Security Department, noted that the State Department report does not accuse China’s communist leadership of releasing the virus intentionally.

“But the circumstantial — and more than circumstantial — evidence of some relation to WIV is very strong,” said Dr. Lang, now with the health service WorldClinic.

Ms. Shi, the WIV scientist dubbed the “bat woman of China” for her work on bat coronaviruses similar to the one that causes COVID-19, co-authored a scientific study in 2015 that mentions the laboratory manipulation of bat viruses as part of studying how they infect humans.

The U.S. intelligence reports said Chinese authorities for more than a year have systematically prevented a thorough investigation into the origins of the pandemic and instead devoted “enormous resources to deceit and disinformation.”

A World Health Organization delegation to China was blocked from entering the country first in the spring of 2020 and again this month. Beijing then relented and permitted a team to visit. The investigators currently are in China.

Likely origins

The State Department report acknowledges that the U.S. government has been unable to determine “exactly where, when, or how the COVID-19 virus — known as SARS-CoV-2 — was transmitted initially to humans.”

The two most likely sources are contact with infected animals or “an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan, China.”

China initially said the virus began at a wild animal “wet market” in Wuhan, but Beijing authorities have been unable to identify an animal host that transmitted the pathogen to humans.

The failure to find the host has led many virus experts and intelligence analysts to examine more closely the idea that the virus leaked from the Wuhan laboratory. Skeptics of China’s official version say Beijing authorities have actively tried to keep the world from knowing what happened.

“The Chinese government has destroyed all the evidence from the outbreak because they want to avoid saying it began from a laboratory leak,” said a U.S. official familiar with intelligence reports. “China is trying to sell a story to the world that it began as a naturally occurring event from a wet market in Wuhan.”

Chinese authorities have tried to get WHO investigators to identify a credible animal source during their inquiry.

“Instead of focusing on an animal host that probably doesn’t exist, the WHO team should be focusing on the labs and biosafety,” the official said.

The official said, “It is very likely this was PLA secret work that went awry.”

Read more at The Washington Times

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