That mystery that surrounds the Wuhan laboratory

CHINA – More than a year and a half has passed since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and still, at more or less regular intervals, we continue to talk about the origin of the virus responsible for the death of millions of people around the world.

Despite the denials coming from authoritative voices in the medical and scientific fields, the doubt that the virus has no natural origin but is the result of a laboratory experiment, and of a human error, tends to become more and more relevant with the passage of time.

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First Trump, then Biden – There are many, first of all the President of the United States Joe Biden, who have asked for an independent investigation that can clarify within three months, on what happened in the Wuhan laboratory, the Chinese city where it spread, in November 2019, a ‘strange’ bilateral pneumonia later identified as an effect of the Sars-Cov2 virus.

According to what has always been claimed by a large slice of public opinion, supported recently by more and more political leaders and medical authorities, the virus would be the result of an experiment, which later got out of hand, conducted in the Wuhan laboratory.

Among the first to support these theses was Donald Trump who scornfully defined Covid as “the Chinese virus” but, for a few weeks, the theory of human error has returned to vogue and social networks such as Facebook have decided not to censor more user posts in which explicit reference is made to the virus as the result of a laboratory experiment.

“In light of the investigations wanted by President Biden – said a spokesman for Facebook to CNN – and after consulting public health experts we have decided not to remove the messages that support the human origin of the spread of the virus”.

And Beijing makes a wall – The Institute of Virology in Wuhan therefore remains in the crosshairs of the interested international media even if the Beijing government has not welcomed the news of the investigation wanted by Biden: “The WHO joint investigative team sent to Wuhan in January believed The theory of a “laboratory leak” is “extremely unlikely” – said Zhao Lijan, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry – and this is an official, formal and scientific conclusion ».

According to Zhao Lijan, the United States is trying to use the need for a new investigative investigation to cover up the “dark” activities of its secret services. China, therefore, does not intend to give the good cheer to new investigations by closing the speech of the possible human error of the Wuhan scientists as the cause of Covid-19.


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The ten-year history of a laboratory – A microbiology laboratory has existed in Wuhan since 1956, which became a virology laboratory in 1978. Following the outbreak of the SARS epidemics in 2002 and the Avian disease in 2003, China has decided to build a virology laboratory of maximum security, with the support of France, led by Jacques Chirac at the time.

The construction work of the Wuhan Virology laboratory, as a Chinese level 4 biosecurity laboratory, Bsl-a, was completed at the end of 2014. Its construction, which took place in collaboration with the French laboratory CIRI Lab, cost 300 million yuan, equivalent to 44 million dollars. The training of Chinese scientists destined to work at the Wuhan laboratory also took place at this prestigious laboratory. Its facilities were accredited by the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity in 2017 and became operational in 2018, after the United States took turns to France as the project’s financiers.

Life at risk, every day – As mentioned, the Wuhan laboratory has a level 4 of biosecurity, which is the maximum level of safety in the containment and isolation of pathogens. The acquisition of the highest level of safety is necessary to be able to work with dangerous and exotic agents that present a high risk of transmitting infections with agents capable of causing fatal diseases such as the Ebola virus, Congo-Crimean or Bolivian-Argentine hemorrhagic fever and smallpox.

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Scientists must therefore wear fully encapsulating, positive pressure personal suits and have a separate air supply via a TTPP helmet and a suspension tube. Watertight and sealable access gates, ultraviolet light chambers and a special waste disposal system.

The life of scientists is in fact constantly in danger because, dealing with viruses for which, in
some cases, a vaccine is not yet known, a small defect in the suit or an error in the sanitation procedure is enough to condemn those who work there to contamination.

These high safety standards had been questioned by Donald Trump who referred to the photographic material present on the site of the Wuhan Institute, and subsequently removed, in which scientists were shown intent on taking samples of genetic material in Yann’s bats. wearing minimal protective gear.

Secrecy at the highest level – Despite the construction of the facilities of the Wuhan laboratory was accomplished thanks to the financing and training of two Western institutes, such as the Ciri Lab in Lyon and the American National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease, led since 1984 by Anthony Fauci , no foreign scientist has ever had access to the internal structure of the laboratory despite the formal existence of a collaboration agreement.

The secrecy of the activities carried out within it, combined with the fact that the investigation conducted
by the WHO on the origin of the virus was mainly based on data provided by the Chinese government, continues to feed the thesis according to which the pandemic was triggered by a human error made in the Wuhan laboratory.

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Hypothesis on the origins of the coronavirus – The only truth, for now, ascertained is that according to which since 2005 scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology have participated in a study on the origin of Sars-Cov discovering that the horseshoe bats present in China are natural reservoirs of this type of virus. In 2015, a group of scientists from the Institute published a study on the possibility of creating a bat coronavirus capable of infecting HeLa cancer cells.

A hybrid virus was then created in the same laboratory by combining a bat virus with a mouse Sars virus, capable of infecting human cells. In 2017, an Institute team first speculated that the progenitor of the human SARS virus originated in coronaviruses found in horseshoe bats in a Yunnan cave, warning of the “risk of relapse in people and the onset of a sickness similar to Sars ».

At the outbreak of the pandemic at the end of 2019, researchers from the Wuhan Institute found that the new virus responsible for Covid-19 was 96% identical to a sample taken by its researchers from the successful iron bats, in February 2020. , to identify, name and share with scientists around the world the genetic sequence of the new coronavirus Sars-Cov2.

Was it human error? – Currently there are no new elements, if not circumstantial, that can shed light on the origin of the pandemic but it is true that, if at first it was certain that the infection had originated in a leap of animal-human species, now the theory of human error seems to be reinvigorating.

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Among the illustrious supporters of the latter theory, two British scholars have recently been added, the British oncologist Angus Dalgleish and the Danish virologist Birger Soransen, who published a study in the scientific journal Quarterly Review of Biophysics reaching the conclusion that the coronavirus was artificially obtained in the laboratory through a “gain-of-function” method.

In practice, these are interventions with which the genome of a virus is modified to obtain a more infectious strain. According to the two scientists, therefore, the Sars-Cov2 virus has no “credible natural ancestors”. In practice, as Emmanuel Macron said, “things have happened in China that we do not know” and which, probably, will only come to light with the passage of time. Or not.

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