Covid-like virus from bat-infested mine was sent to Wuhan lab in 2013, report says


In May, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology said there was no living copy of the virus in the laboratory.

Virus samples sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology seven years ago closely resemble Covid-19, according to a Sunday Times report that highlights unanswered questions about the origins of the global pandemic.

In 2013, scientists sent frozen samples to the Wuhan laboratory of a former copper mine infested with bats in southwest China after six men who had cleared out bat droppings severe pneumonia, the newspaper said.

Three of them died and the most likely cause was a bat-borne coronavirus, the Sunday Times reported, citing a doctor whose supervisor worked in the emergency room who treated the men. The same mine in Yunnan province was then studied by Shi Zhengli, an expert in SARS-type coronaviruses of bat origin at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Shi, nicknamed “bat woman” for her bat cave expeditions, described Covid-19 in a February 2020 article, saying it was 96.2% similar to a coronavirus sample called RaTG13 obtained in Yunnan in 2013. The Sunday Times said that RaTG13 is “almost certainly” the virus that was found in the abandoned mine.

The differences between the samples can still represent decades of evolutionary distance, according to dissident scientists cited in the article. The Sunday Times said the Wuhan lab did not answer his questions.

In May, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology said there was no living copy of the RaTG13 virus in the laboratory, so it would have been impossible for him to leak. There is no evidence that the laboratory was behind the global epidemic that started in Wuhan. But U.S. President Donald Trump said in May that he had seen evidence of the theory, contradicting the intelligence services.

(With the exception of the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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