Live bats in a cage inside the virology laboratory of Wuhan. The sccop of SkyNews Australia, came into possession of a unreleased movie within the structure from which, some speculate, the virus that started the world pandemic could have escaped, has again sparked the debate on the origin of the virus. The hypothesis of escape from the laboratory had become a taboo in the months whenWorld Health Organization they were carrying out their own investigations in the country, so much so that the WHO leaders themselves had defined them “Conspiracy theorists”. But the new revelation raises new questions to which the world health authorities will have to answer in order to be able to reconstruct the steps that led to the Covid-19 to become a virus that can also be transmitted to humans. In the meantime, Shi Zhengli, the Chinese scientist known as Bat Woman for the more than 15 thousand virus samples collected from bats, in a series of responses given via email to New York Times has again denied any possibility that the coronavirus may have been transmitted from animal to human within the laboratory of the Chinese city.
SkyNews specifies that the images in their possession are extracted from official video of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, where they are seen attendants who feed the bats, shot on the occasion of the launch of the biosafety laboratory in May 2017. The 10-minute video, entitled The construction and research team of the P4 laboratory of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, celebrates the completion of the facility and features interviews with its leading scientists level 4 laboratory, the highest in terms of security ever achieved in China thanks to the support of France. There is talk of “maximum security” precautions in place in the event of an “accident” and “intense clashes” with the government of Paris during its construction.
The images released by the Australian media contrast with the conclusions of the inspections carried out by the mission WHO which many have defined partial because of the low availability of the Beijing authorities to provide information, materials and to guarantee access to the facilities for experts: in the report drawn up on their return, the scientists did not mention the presence of bats inside the laboratory, while in the attachments there is a mention regarding the possibility of accommodate animals. “The room in facility P4 can handle a variety of species, including primate work with SARS-CoV-2,” it reads.
The zoologist Peter Daszak, who was part of the mission, said that suggesting that the bats were raised at the Institute of Virology was nothing more than a simple conspiracy. In a December 2020 tweet he wrote that “no bats have been sent to the Wuhan laboratory for genetic analysis of the viruses collected in the field. We collect bat samples, send them to the lab. We release the bats where we catch them“. This month, however, Daszak appeared to be retracting, admitting that the Institute may have harbored bats and never asked for it, and was harshly criticized for his close relationship with Shi Zhengli.
Just the scientist responded to the latest revelation of SkyNews from the columns of Times: “How can I offer evidence of something for which there is no evidence? – he said referring to the presence of bats in the Institute – I don’t know how the world got to this, constantly pouring mud on an innocent scientist ”, he added.
To investigate the role played in the affair by the Wuhan laboratory, at the behest of the new president Joe BidenUS intelligence agencies have also been in May, with the first report that will be ready in 90 days from the start of the checks. Recently, the laboratory escape theory has regained ground after reports that three researchers of the Institute would have fallen ill in 2019 after visiting a bat cave in the province of Yunnan. According to New York TimesAdditionally, in 2017 Shi and his lab colleagues published research on an experiment in which they created “new hybrid bat coronaviruses by mixing and matching parts of existing ones, including at least one that was nearly transmissible to humans, in order to study their ability to infect and replicate in human cells “. To the American newspaper, the scientist specified that her experiments did not want to make a virus more dangerous, but aimed to understand how the virus could pass from one species to another. “My laboratory has never conducted or collaborated in conducting experiments that increase the virulence of viruses,” he assured.