The Trump administration will present 'dramatic new evidence' that the virus which causes COVID-19 leaked from a Wuhan lab, according to the Daily Mail, which adds that outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will make a "bombshell" announcement that SARS-CoV-2 did not naturally jump from bats to humans through an intermediary species - and was instead cultured by scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), where both Chinese and foreign experts have warned of shoddy bio-security for years.
The Britsh government (Daily Mail and all), meanwhile, dismissed the claims in advance - saying that 'all the credible scientific evidence does not point to a leak from the laboratory.'
This is of course patently false, as several prominent microbiologists - including one who worked in the Wuhan lab - have said it was likely created there and likely escaped. Two weeks ago, US National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger said there was a "growing body of evidence that the lab is likely the most credible source of the virus," while French intelligence warned of the possibility of a 'catastrophic leak' from the lab due to poor bio-security over a decade before the outbreak.
The lab’s highest security ‘P4’ section was built with French help in a deal signed off by Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. But after it opened in 2015, the French contingent due to work there were pushed out by China’s military. -Daily Mail
Meanwhile, China scrubbed "hundreds of pages of information" spanning over 300 studies conducted by the WIV, including some which discuss passing diseases from animals to humans. Totally normal behavior from innocent people, we're sure.
Pompeo is also set to cite close links between the Institute and the People’s Liberation Army.
He will point out its highest security section has always had a ‘dual use’ military and civilian purpose.
He is also expected to accuse the World Health Organisation of assisting in a Chinese cover-up by refusing to probe the lab’s possible role.
Its ten-person team tasked with investigating the pandemic’s origins will arrive in Wuhan tomorrow – but there is no mention of the lab in its official terms of reference. -Daily Mail
"We don’t know whether this virus was natural or artificially created, and if it came from the lab, whether this was an accident or deliberate. It would be immoral and foolish to allow any sort of cover-up," said former Brexit Secretary David Davis, who added that it was 'vital' that the WHO team investigate.
"If it emerges the virus did come from the lab, China will become the pariah of the world," he added.
That said, MIT / Harvard doctor Alina Chan, who has been investigating the origins of the pandemic, doesn't think the WHO is suited to conduct any investigation.
"We have to take the necessary steps to do a proper investigation and, based on the available information, I don’t think the WHO is up to the task," said Chan. Stanford professor of microbiology David Relman, meanwhile, has voiced fears that the WIV was genetically engineering natural viruses to make them more transmissible - writing in November that "If SARS-CoV-2 escaped from a lab to cause the pandemic, it will become critical to understand the chain of events and prevent this from happening again."
According to Sam Armtrong, China expert with the Henry Jackson Society think-tank, "The global public has a right to know exactly what was going on prior to the emergence of this deadly pandemic. The question cannot be shirked."
And as Edward Lucas writes via the Mail, "All the evidence points to cover-up...(but the truth can't be hidden for ever):
* * *
Secrets, lies and thuggery are the hallmark of the Chinese Communist regime. And in the mystery of the devastating Wuhan virus, all three are combined.
The strongest evidence of a crime is a cover-up. And the Chinese authorities have provided that.
They have fought ferociously to prevent an international inquiry into the pandemic’s origins.
Their repeated obstruction of the World Health Organisation’s fact-finding missions has provoked even that notoriously supine body to protest.
Even now, WHO investigators are being prevented from accessing the vitally important laboratory in Wuhan that is likely to be at the heart of America’s allegations.
Experts have been questioning the Chinese authorities’ account of events for a year. Now, it appears, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is to make a direct accusation.
Was it really pure chance the virus first attacked the human race in the only city in China with a research lab specialising in manipulating the world’s most dangerous viruses?
That would be as odd as a new disease emerging in the surroundings of Britain’s top-secret biological defence research establishment of Porton Down in Wiltshire.
To this day, scientists who support the theory that the virus is a mutation that emerged from Wuhan’s ‘wet market’ have not been able to find a convincing candidate for the animal in which this mutation actually occurred.
The official explanation is the new virus was 96 percent identical to a bat virus, RaTG13, found in Yunnan province in southern China.
But as Chinese professor Botao Xiao pointed out in a paper in February, no such bats are sold at the city’s markets. And the caves where they live are hundreds of miles away.
That paper disappeared from the internet. Mr Xiao — perhaps mindful of the fate that awaits those in China who promote inconvenient truths — disavowed it.
Many scientists privately assumed an engineered virus released via a laboratory accident was at least as likely as the idea of a series of stunningly unfortunate chance mutations.
After all, Shi Zhengli, the Chinese scientist nicknamed ‘Bat Woman’ was a regular visitor to those caves. When news of the outbreak broke, she initially feared that a leak from her research institute was to blame.
That thought alone should have prompted a full-scale and searching inquiry. Instead, the Chinese Ministry of Education issued a diktat: ‘Any paper that traces the origin of the virus must be strictly and tightly managed.’
But even the Chinese regime cannot hold back the truth forever. Over the past twelve months independent research, official leaks and news reports have strengthened the lab-leak hypothesis.
In February a Taiwanese professor, Fang Chi-tai, highlighted a curious feature of the virus’s genetic code, which would make it more effective in attacking targeted cells. This was unlikely to be the result of a natural mutation, he suggested.
Much scientific research involves modifying viruses to understand how they function. Many observers have worried for years that the risks of such experiments are not properly thought through.
Lab safety procedures are riddled with potential loopholes and flaws: breakages, animal bites, faulty equipment or simple mis-labelling can all lead to a deadly pathogen reaching its first human victim. If so, such carelessness has now cost tens of millions of lives.
Yet we should be clear. The Chinese authorities are ruthless. But even they would not unleash a global plague.
Only in the fevered imagination of conspiracy theorists is Beijing deliberately waging biological warfare on the West.
Paradoxically, such speculation — promoted by among others President Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon — may have hampered the search for the truth, by making the lab-release theory seem racist and politically toxic.
In February, in Britain’s politically correct medical journal, the Lancet, scientists published an open letter denouncing ‘conspiracy theories and rumours’, urging solidarity with Chinese colleagues.
Yet it was just those colleagues who were bearing the brunt of the regime’s frantic attempts to censor the truth about the outbreak.
The Chinese regime prizes self-preservation above all — certainly over the truth, or the health of its own people, let alone the lives of foreigners.