April 20 2020
A maximum-security laboratory in Wuhan, China has rejected claims that it could be the source of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The existence of the facility in the city where Covid-19 was first detected late last year has fueled conspiracy theories that the virus was leaked from there.
Professor Yuan Zhiming, the director of Wuhan Institute of Virology’s P4 laboratory, which is equipped to handle dangerous viruses said that “there’s no way this virus came from us”.
He said in an interview that none of the staff at the laboratory had been infected and that, the “whole institute is carrying out research in different areas related to the coronavirus”.
“As people who carry out viral studies we clearly know what kind of research is going on at the institute and how the institute manages viruses and samples,” he said.
He said that because the P4 laboratory is in Wuhan “people can’t help but make associations”, but that some media outlets are “deliberately trying to mislead people”.
Washington Post and Fox News had quoted anonymous sources who voiced concern that the virus may have come from the laboratory in Wuhan.
Yuan said those reports were “entirely based on speculation” without “evidence or knowledge”.
The institute had already dismissed the theory in February, saying it had shared information about the pathogen with the World Health Organization in early January.
However, the United States has highlighted it again this week as it accused China of not being transparent about its handling of the outbreak.
Beijing has come under increasing pressure over the transparency issue as many are beginning to doubt Chinese scientists’ suggestion that the virus had jumped from an animal to humans in a Wuhan market.