Wuhan scientists ‘created mutant virus before pandemic’

Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China - ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China - ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Scientists in the Chinese city of Wuhan worked alongside the country’s military to combine the world’s most deadly viruses before the Covid pandemic began, it was claimed on Sunday.

According to investigators who examined intercepted communications and scientific research, Chinese scientists were running the secret project at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

An investigation by The Sunday Times claimed that US investigators believe that one of the reasons why there is no published information on the work is because it was done in collaboration with researchers from the Chinese military.

The newspaper said it had examined hundreds of documents, including confidential reports, internal memos, scientific papers and email correspondence and that the institute in Wuhan was engaged in increasingly risky experiments on coronaviruses it gathered from bat caves in southern China.

Scientists around the world originally believed the outbreak was natural but the lab leak theory has gained credibility in recent years with the FBI backing the theory.

New type of virus

The Sunday Times said that the lab stopped making its findings public in 2016 after researchers discovered a new type of coronavirus in a mineshaft in Mojiang in Yunnan province where people had died from symptoms similar to Sars. The fatalities were not reported.

“The trail of papers starts to go dark,” an investigator told the newspaper. “That’s exactly when the classified programme kicked off. My view is that the reason Mojiang was covered up was due to military secrecy related to [the army’s] pursuit of dual-use capabilities in virological biological weapons and vaccines.”

US investigators are said to believe the classified programme was to make the mineshaft viruses more infectious to humans and may have led to the creation of the Covid-19 virus, and that it leaked into the city of Wuhan after a laboratory accident.

“It has become increasingly clear that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was involved in the creation, promulgation and cover-up of the Covid-19 pandemic,” one of the investigators said.

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