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Friday, January 28, 2022

Covid-19 Wuhan lab leak ‘plausible’, US gov study claims


Genetic fingerprint of novel coronavirus allude to belief that Covid-19 was leaked from a Wuhan lab, according to US government study.

A US governmental laboratory report analysing the origins of Covid-19 has found reason to believe that the hypothesis of a virus leak from a Wuhan lab warrants further investigation, the Wall Street Journal said.

The study was prepared last year in May by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and was used as a reference by the US State Department when it conducted an investigation into the origins of the global health crisis.

The US-based lab’s assessment took a look at the genetic fingerprint of CoV-2, the novel coronavirus responsible for Covid-19, and aimed to decipher whether the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s work intentionally supercharged viruses to increase lethality.

When looking at genetic sequencing, scientists found that the CGG-CGG combination of nucleotides that was present in CoV-2 has never been found naturally in the entire class of coronaviruses.

This suggests that microbiologists at Wuhan may have manipulated the genetic makeup of the virus by splicing this special sequence in a certain location of the genome, which increased its virulence, or the severity or harmfulness of the disease.

Last month, US President Joe Biden ordered aides to review the origins of the virus that caused Covid-19 and brought much of the world to a standstill.

In a White House statement in May, Biden said his national security adviser tasked the Intelligence Community in March to prepare a report on their analysis of the origins of the virus as well as theories regarding the transmission from human contact with an infected animal as well as claims of an alleged laboratory accident.

“I received that report earlier this month, and asked for additional follow-up. As of today, the US Intelligence Community has ‘coalesced around two likely scenarios’ but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this question,” said President Biden, adding that there is still no sufficient information on its origin.

Read also: Biden orders US intelligence to review coronavirus origins

The two scenarios in question were that the virus either resulted from a laboratory accident or that it emerged from human contact with an infected animal.

The US also reported a lack of cooperation with China into a global investigation. As a response, Biden asked the Intelligence Community to “redouble” their efforts into the probe and to report back to him in “90 days”.

“The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence,” added Biden.

A still-classified US intelligence report during former President Donald Trump’s term in power alleged that three researchers at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became so ill in November 2019 that they needed to seek hospital care.

The Republican report said “significant circumstantial evidence raises serious concerns that the Covid-19 outbreak may have been a leak” from the institute, suggesting that the lab was involved in biological weapons research. The report also said that Beijing reportedly attempted to “cover up” the virus’ origins.

Earlier this year, the WHO sent a group of 13 international specialists to central China for a scientific field mission to investigate the origins of the coronavirus. The team consisted of 13 specialists: epidemiologist, virologist, clinicians and veterinary surgeons.

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