Was Covid-19 a bioweapon? Shocking US govt fact sheet claims Wuhan lab started research on bat virus in 2016

Titled Fact Sheet: Activity at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the document claims the Chinese Communist Party systematically prevented a thorough investigation


                            Was Covid-19 a bioweapon? Shocking US govt fact sheet claims Wuhan lab started research on bat virus in 2016
A healthcare worker gives a girl a throat swab test at a drive-in coronavirus testing center (Getty Images)

Was Covid-19 a bioweapon? Why was the Covid-19 spread kept a secret in its initial stages? Why is China still trying to cover up Covid-19? These questions have been buzzing around in many heads after the deadly virus took millions of lives and halted normal activities across the globe.

A shocking fact sheet released by the United States Department of State now dishes out details about what really happened and how the disease first originated. Titled Fact Sheet: Activity at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the document claims that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) systematically prevented a transparent and thorough investigation of the Covid-19 pandemic’s origin for more than a year.

Demanding transparency from the Chinese government, it reads, “the CCP’s deadly obsession with secrecy and control comes at the expense of public health in China and around the world.”

Listing out the results of its research, the document explains that “the US government does not know exactly where, when, or how the Covid-19 virus — known as SARS-CoV-2 — was transmitted initially to humans.” Was it through contact with infected animals or was it the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan, China? There seems to be no clear answer for that. Here's what we know so far.

A patient is transferred by ambulance to the Infectious Disease Centre of Princess Margaret Hospital (Getty Images)

 

Were WIV researchers sick in Autumn 2019?

According to the fact sheet, the US claims it has “reason to believe” several researchers inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak. This raises questions about the credibility of WIV senior researcher Shi Zhengli’s public claim that there was “zero infection” among the WIV’s staff and students of SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-related viruses.

The sheet also adds: “Accidental infections in labs have caused several previous virus outbreaks in China and elsewhere, including a 2004 SARS outbreak in Beijing that infected nine people, killing one.”

If the document is to be believed, journalists, investigators and global health authorities were not allowed to research or interview those WIV researchers who were ill in the fall of 2019. The document demands interviews with these researchers and a full accounting of their previously unreported illness for a credible inquiry into the origin of the virus.

A technician works in a lab at Sinovac Biotech where the company is producing their potential Covid-19 vaccine CoronaVac (Getty Images)

RaTG13: The Bat Coronavirus Experiments

How did the bat coronavirus come into the Wuhan research lab? Back in 2016, WIV researchers conducted experiments involving RaTG13, the bat coronavirus identified by the WIV in January 2020 as its closest sample to SARS-CoV-2 (96.2% similar) and, according to the document, there was no indication of a stop prior to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Did you know the “RaTG13” was sampled from a cave in Yunnan Province in 2013 after several miners died of SARS-like illness? According to the fact sheet, “The WIV became a focal point for international coronavirus research after the 2003 SARS outbreak and has since studied animals including mice, bats, and pangolins.”

A published record of conducting “gain-of-function” research to engineer chimeric viruses exists but the WIV has not been transparent or consistent about its record of studying viruses most similar to the Covid-19 virus. The sheet stresses how important it is for WHO investigators to have access to the records of the WIV’s work on bat and other coronaviruses before the outbreak.

A model of COVID-19, known as Coronavirus (Getty Images)

Secret military activity at the WIV

The fact sheet also goes on to claim that “secrecy and non-disclosure” have been practiced for many years in Beijing and that the United States has publicly raised concerns about China’s past biological weapons work. According to the document, Beijing has neither documented nor demonstrably eliminated the alleged weapons work, despite its clear obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention.

It further documents, “Despite the WIV presenting itself as a civilian institution, the United States has determined that the WIV has collaborated on publications and secret projects with China’s military. The WIV has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017.”

It adds, “The United States and other donors who funded or collaborated on civilian research at the WIV have a right and obligation to determine whether any of our research funding was diverted to secret Chinese military projects at the WIV.”

Covid-19 restrictions in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China (Getty Images)

Was Covid-19 a bioweapon?

No sooner was the fact sheet shared on Twitter by CBS News reporter Catherine Herridge, it sparked much concern and collected over 9,000 likes. The post sparked a set of mixed comments and many wondered if the connection to the bioweapon theory had any truth to it. 

“There was a rumored stating that Covid-19 was a bioweapon at the start of the pandemic, but was later debunked. Now we see it's actually possible,” one tweet read and another said, No one has eliminated the possibility of a laboratory origin in Wuhan of the virus, & China's reluctance for inspection is suspicious, however, this apparent last-minute bombardment on social media of Trump's supposed achievements is falling flat.”

A user wrote, “They have since deleted the study papers on Covid-19 back in 2015/16... I had previously shared the papers but the website has now deleted them. they were from late 2015 detailing concerns of a covid virus being transferred from bats to humans, they were VERY much aware of it.”

Labeling it “untrustworthy”, a user said, “This is still coming from Donald Trump's administration, Mike Pompeos state department. On top of blaming everything on China, they fabricate all their fact in the back-office. Untrustworthy.”



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

Truth behind claims

Back in March 2020, rumors and conspiracy theories floated around that Covid-19 was a bioweapon. However, it was soon debunked by several medical health experts. A New Jersey Covid-19 Information portal read, “There is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 virus is a biological weapon.”

It added, “Two preliminary studies indicate that the Covid-19 virus could have passed through pangolins ("scaly anteaters"). As more research is conducted, the transmission chain of the Covid-19 virus will become clearer.”

One of Ukraine's top scientists poured scorn on that idea back in May 2020. Sergiy Komisarenko, a professor of molecular immunology professor at the National Academy of Science of Ukraine told CGTN Europe: “So my own opinion, at this very moment, is that this is not an artificially constructed virus."

"By the way, when some of the fake news, or some experts even, are saying that, 'look, China has a very sophisticated, very updated virology institute, which has a collection of coronaviruses'. Yes, it does ... Why? Because the first really dangerous outbreak of a coronavirus was in China in 2002. And there was an international idea to make the research institute in China, which will be looking for coronaviruses and for the possible further outbreaks of coronavirus infection.”

“And they did this, this institute, and it was collaborating and cooperating with scientists from different countries, just recently with France. They were cooperating with US scientists, Australian scientists and with others. Can you imagine it making biological weapons in cooperation with scientists from different countries? No, not at all,” he added.

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.