Looking at the Wuhan Lab Leak Theory

Olivier Guitta
Olivier Guitta

While the outbreak of Covid-19 goes unabated, having killed almost five million people worldwide, the likelihood of finding a smoking gun about the origin of the pandemic is dramatically decreasing. Nonetheless, the closest thing might have been blurted by none other than Chinese President Xi who just sternly warned Chinese laboratories handling deadly pathogens that they will face closer scrutiny. Why would he say that if the lab leak theory as the origin of Covid-19 didn’t hold any water?

What might have pushed President Xi to talk in disguised words about a possible accident at the Wuhan lab is the accumulation, over the past 18 months of facts, reports and coverups that point towards this explanation. Here is a summary of troubling and sometimes damning elements making a leak at the Wuhan lab the very likely reason for the Covid-19 outbreak:

Unusual Facts:

1)    Labs in Wuhan dramatically increased the procurement of PCR equipment in the second half of 2019, indicating that Covid-19 was spreading virulently months before the Chinese government reported the first case to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in December 2019.

2)    Both the American and British intelligence agencies have been reportedly examining mobile phone data suggesting there could have been an emergency shutdown in October 2019 at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. There was no mobile phone activity in a high-security part of the lab. Why would that be?

Scientific Facts:

1)    A Disused Chinese mine is home to the closest known virus to Covid-19. In 2012, six miners fell sick there and three died with a mysterious illness after entering the mine to clear bat guano. The Wuhan Institute of Virology took samples from bats in the mine.

2)    Researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were doing experiments designed to make coronaviruses infect human cells. China failed to publicly share this crucial information about the sister virus to Covid-19.

3)    A document written in 2015 by 18 Chinese People’s Liberation Army scientists and weapons experts described the weaponization of SARS coronaviruses as a “new era of genetic weapons” that can be “artificially manipulated into an emerging human disease virus, then weaponised and unleashed in a way never seen before”.

4)    A Chinese military scientist filed a patent on behalf of the army for a Covid-19 vaccine before the virus was declared a global pandemic and worked closely with the scientific nicknamed, the ‘bat woman’ at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Chinese officials may have known about the virus much earlier than they admitted. The said scientist died in mysterious circumstances in May 2020, less than three months after filing the patent.

5)    A review of the Wuhan lab’s records reveals the existence of some unspecified classified projects It also talks about the lab’s responsibilities under China’s state secrets law. Some records mention the sealing of some research reports for up to two decades.

6)    Three researchers working at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized with Covid-like symptoms weeks before the first Covid-19 case was confirmed in China.

7)    On 31 Jan 2020, after the SARS-CoV-2 genome had been decoded, the leading virologist Kristian Andersen emailed Dr Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor to the American President, to tell him that there were “unusual features” in the Covid-19 virus. This remarkable email establishes that the team suspected that the virus had been engineered in a lab

Safety Issues:

1)    The security at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) left a lot to be desired. The U.S. State Department was quite alarmed after a visit in 2018: “The new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory,”. The researchers were not vaccinated against the viruses under study, and unsurprisingly according to the State Department, “The U.S. government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses.”

Coverups and Lies:

1)    If there was a natural, innocent explanation as to the origin of the Covid-19 outbreak, why would have China destroyed physical evidence and tried to conceal at all costs? As we have shown here, China lied about the Covid-19 outbreak and actually also decided to impose tough political controls over research into the origins of the virus.

2)    Chinese medics have been filmed admitting they realised quickly the new coronavirus could be transmitted between humans but were told by the government to keep quiet. Beijing is clamping down on brave journalists and citizens that reported the coverup and the lies.

3)    In December, some Chinese laboratories identified a mystery virus as a highly infectious new pathogen, but they were ordered to stop tests, destroy samples, and suppress the news.

4)    Wuhan’s Mayor acknowledged that he was not allowed by Beijing’s authorities to reveal the truth about the virus. In January, two Chinese citizen journalists began to expose what was really going on in Wuhan by posting videos on YouTube- that is banned in China-, sharing pictures and writing about the dramatic situation they were witnessing. They knew that what they were doing was dangerous and sadly they were right. Three weeks later they conveniently disappeared.

5)    On 7 February 2020, a Wuhan doctor named Li Wenliang that got famous for having first raised alarms about the pandemic in December, died of the new Coronavirus. Within hours, his death sparked a spectacular outpouring of collective grief on Chinese social media. The Chinese censors went to work and in just fifteen minutes, deleted almost 20 million searches on the doctor’s death.

6)    The Wuhan database of viral strains was taken offline just prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, meaning it is impossible to check which viruses the team was working on or had created.

7)    Chinese researchers directed the U.S. National Institutes of Health to delete gene sequences of early Covid-19 cases from a key scientific database, raising concerns that scientists studying the origin of the pandemic may lack access to key pieces of information.

 

Complicity of the WHO:

1)    China exerted ultimate control over the WHO investigation into the origins of Covid-19 appointing its chosen experts and negotiating a backroom deal to water down the mandate.

2)    In September 2021, The Sunday Times investigation revealed that China secured votes at the who to install its chosen candidates as director-general, the Ethiopian Marxist Dr Tedros. The WHO’s leadership prioritised China’s economic interests over halting the spread of the virus when Covid-19 first emerged.

3)    The WHO Chief Investigator is now admitting that WHO investigators were forced to conclude that a lab leak was “extremely unlikely” in their official report to avoid further arguments with China. But in fact, a Chinese scientist may have been Patient Zero after being infected with the virus while collecting bat samples. He said this was a “likely hypothesis”.

4)    An advisory board member of the WHO said that China’s “massive cover-up” of Covid-19 is still happening today as the Wuhan lab leak origin theory gains credibility. This coverup includes destroying samples, hiding records, silencing Chinese scientists, and imprisoning Chinese citizen journalists.

5)    Finally, under pressure and accumulating facts, even Dr Tedros, the head of the WHO said it was “premature” to rule out the possibility that Covid-19 leaked from a lab. The WHO is “asking actually China to be transparent, open and cooperate, especially on the information, raw data that we asked for at the early days of the pandemic,”

Reports:

1)    Science Closes In on the origins of Covid-19. Four studies, including two from the WHO, provide powerful evidence favouring the Wuhan lab-leak theory.

2)    In a very recent exhaustive account of the viral possibilities published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Wuhan laboratory is described as the most likely source of the pandemic.

3)    A report released by the U.S. Republicans members sitting on Congress  foreign affairs select committee said the “preponderance of evidence proves” the virus leaked from the Wuhan lab “sometime before September 12, 2019”. The report added, “When they realised what happened, China’s Communist Party officials and scientists at the Wuhan lab began frantically covering up the leak, including taking their virus database offline in the middle of the night and requesting more than $1Million for additional security.”

4)    26 out of the 27 scientists who penned a letter in the scientific paper, The Lancet, dismissing the possibility that #Covid19 could have come from a lab in Wuhan, were linked to its Chinese researchers, their colleagues or funders.

While we may never know for sure if Covid-19 leaked from a Wuhan lab, the case we made here is rather compelling. As one of the first to evoke the lab leak theory in March 2020, the Washington Post columnist David Ignatius wrote back then:” The Chinese government has no one to blame but itself for this explosive debate. They have put the truth on lockdown.”

The crucial fact remains: even if one dismisses the lab leak theory, had China taken proactive measures to contain the pandemic in December 2019, the number of Covid-19 cases could have been mitigated by up to 95 %. For this, the international community needs to severely punish China for the coverup and lies that has cost millions of lives.

 

This Article was originally published in Arabic by Akhbaralaan

by: Olivier Guitta

Olivier Guitta is the Managing Director of GlobalStrat, a security and geopolitical risk consulting company for companies and governments. Olivier tweets @OlivierGuitta

Olivier Guitta