A Chinese virologist who fled her home country after studying the early outbreak of COVID-19 has published a new report that says the novel coronavirus likely originated in a laboratory. Doctor Li-Meng Yan, a scientist who studied some of the available data on COVID-19 has published her claims on Zenodo, an open access digital platform, news.com.au reports.
Source: News Corp
Virologist who fled China says virus likely came from lab
In her report she writes that she believes COVID-19 could have been “conveniently created” within a lab setting over a period of just six months, and “SARS-CoV-2 shows biological characteristics that are inconsistent with a naturally occurring, zoonotic virus”.
Early reports of the origin of the coronavirus, or “spillover event”, were that the virus jumped from animal to human within a wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan sometime in late 2019.
“The natural origin theory, although widely accepted, lacks substantial support,” Dr Yan writes in the report.
“The alternative theory that the virus may have come from a research laboratory is, however, strictly censored on peer-reviewed scientific journals. Nonetheless, SARS-CoV-2 shows biological characteristics that are inconsistent with a naturally occurring, zoonotic virus.”
Dr Yan says reports that the virus originated in a wet market in Wuhan are a “smoke screen.’’
Dr Yan’s paper, ‘Unusual Features of the SARS-CoV-2 Genome Suggesting Sophisticated Laboratory Modification Rather Than Natural Evolution and Delineation of Its Probable Synthetic Route’, is co-authored by three other doctors.
Dr Yan had been working at Hong Kong University’s public health laboratory sciences division, a World Health Organisation infectious diseases research centre, when her boss was asked to investigate the outbreak in Wuhan.
Dr Yan claimed her and her team’s scientific findings were suppressed, and they were told only to report cases linked to the Huanan seafood market. After becoming fearful of her safety, she fled China on a flight bound for Los Angeles in late April.
Other scientists have disputed Dr Yan’s claim, including a report from Live Science in March, which definitively claimed “SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus”.
Source: Sky News