The Chinese language virology institute within the metropolis the place COVID-19 first emerged has three reside strains of bat coronavirus on-site, however none match the brand new contagion wreaking chaos internationally, its director has stated.
Scientists assume COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed some 340,00zero individuals worldwide — originated in bats and will have been transmitted to individuals through one other mammal.
However the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology advised state broadcaster CGTN that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others the virus might have leaked from the power had been “pure fabrication”.
Within the interview filmed on Might 13 however broadcast Saturday evening, Wang Yanyi stated the centre has “remoted and obtained some coronaviruses from bats.”
“Now we now have three strains of reside viruses… However their highest similarity to SARS-CoV-2 solely reaches 79.eight %,” she stated, referring to the coronavirus pressure that causes COVID-19.
Certainly one of their analysis groups, led by Professor Shi Zhengli, has been researching bat coronaviruses since 2004 and targeted on the “supply tracing of SARS”, the pressure behind one other virus outbreak almost twenty years in the past.
“We all know that the entire genome of SARS-CoV-2 is just 80 % much like that of SARS. It is an apparent distinction,” she stated.
“So, in Professor Shi’s previous analysis, they did not take note of such viruses that are much less much like the SARS virus.”
Conspiracy rumours that the biosafety lab was concerned within the outbreak swirled on-line for months earlier than Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo introduced the idea into the mainstream by claiming that there’s proof the pathogen got here from the institute.
The lab has stated it obtained samples of the then-unknown virus on December 30, decided the viral genome sequence on January 2 and submitted info on the pathogen to the WHO on January 11.
Wang stated within the interview that earlier than it obtained samples in December, their workforce had by no means “encountered, researched or stored the virus.”
“In actual fact, like everybody else, we did not even know the virus existed,” she stated. “How might it have leaked from our lab after we by no means had it?”
The World Well being Group stated Washington had provided no proof to help the “speculative” claims.
In an interview with Scientific American, Shi stated the SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence didn’t match any of the bat coronaviruses her laboratory had beforehand collected and studied.
© 2020 AFP
— to www.rfi.fr