• Wednesday, Jul 08, 2020
  • Last Update : 02:58 am

Chinese state media: Wuhan lab had 3 live bat coronaviruses

  • Published at 10:27 am May 24th, 2020
The Wuhan lab at the heart of the US-China virus spat.jpg
This file photo shows an aerial view of the P4 laboratory (L) at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on April 17, 2020 AFP

Scientists think Covid-19 originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal

The Chinese virology institute in the city where Covid-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking chaos across the world, its director has said.

Scientists think Covid-19 -- which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed some 340,000 people worldwide -- originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal.

But the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster CGTN that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others the virus could have leaked from the facility were "pure fabrication".

In the interview filmed on May 13 but broadcast Saturday night, Wang Yanyi said the centre has "isolated and obtained some coronaviruses from bats."

"Now we have three strains of live viruses... But their highest similarity to Sars-Cov-2 only reaches 79.8 percent," she said, referring to the coronavirus strain that causes Covid-19.

One of their research teams, led by Professor Shi Zhengli, has been researching bat coronaviruses since 2004 and focused on the "source tracing of SARS", the strain behind another virus outbreak nearly two decades ago.

"We know that the whole genome of Sars-Cov-2 is only 80 percent similar to that of Sars. It's an obvious difference," she said. 

"So, in Professor Shi's past research, they didn't pay attention to such viruses which are less similar to the Sars virus."

Conspiracy rumours that the biosafety lab was involved in the outbreak swirled online for months before Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brought the theory into the mainstream by claiming that there is evidence the pathogen came from the institute.

The lab has said it received samples of the then-unknown virus on December 30, determined the viral genome sequence on January 2 and submitted information on the pathogen to the WHO on January 11.

Wang said in the interview that before it received samples in December, their team had never "encountered, researched or kept the virus." 

"In fact, like everyone else, we didn't even know the virus existed," she said. "How could it have leaked from our lab when we never had it?"

The World Health Organization said Washington had offered no evidence to support the "speculative" claims.

In an interview with Scientific American, Shi said the Sars-Cov-2 genome sequence did not match any of the bat coronaviruses her laboratory had previously collected and studied.

72
71
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail