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Wuhan Virus Watch: Chinese university researchers believe virus may originate from government laboratory

Wuhan Virus Watch: Chinese university researchers believe virus may originate from government laboratory

“… the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan”

While most early reports indicated a market close to Wuhan was the source of the original COVID-19 infections, there was skepticism about this theory.

Sen. Tom Cotton suggested that Chinese officials misled the public on the origins of the novel coronavirus that has killed at least 362 people and infected more than 17,400 others, saying it may have originated in a “superlaboratory.”

At a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing with US military leaders on Thursday, Cotton described the coronavirus as the “biggest and most important story in the world” and “worse than Chernobyl.”

Cotton, a longtime China hawk, suggested Beijing had not been as forthcoming about the number of infections and was “lying about it from the very beginning” to downplay the seriousness of the epidemic. Chinese officials have been accused of lowering the number of cases and tamping down on reports weeks before it was formally acknowledged by the government.

“They also claimed, for almost two months until earlier this week, that it originated in a seafood market in Wuhan,” Cotton said, referring to a study published by The Lancet. “That is not the case.”

If the market was not the source of the pathogen, what was? Researchers at the Beijing-sponsored South China University of Technology now conclude that the coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.

Chinese scientists believe the deadly coronavirus may have started life in a research facility just 300 yards from the Wuhan fish market.

A new bombshell paper from the Beijing-sponsored South China University of Technology says that the Wuhan Center for Disease Control (WHCDC) could have spawned the contagion in Hubei province.

‘The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus,’ penned by scholars Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao claims the WHCDC kept disease-ridden animals in laboratories, including 605 bats.

It also mentions that bats – which are linked to coronavirus – once attacked a researcher and ‘blood of bat was on his skin.’

So it may be that a sloppy scientist failed to follow proper decontamination protocol before exiting the laboratory. This is especially troubling as researchers who work in the highest level of biosafety containment must undergo vigorous training before using such facilities.

The lab is located 280 metres from the infamous wet market and adjacent to the Union hospital where the first group of doctors was infected.

It read: “It is plausible that the virus leaked around and some of them contaminated the initial patients in this epidemic, though solid proofs are needed in future study.”

A second laboratory, located at approximately 12km from the wet market, was mentioned in the report, as it said: “This laboratory reported that the Chinese horseshoe bats were natural reservoirs for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) which caused the SARS outbreak in 2003.”

The laboratory is said to belong to Wuhan Institute of Virology and is classified as P4, the highest level of biosafety laboratory.

The full report is here, including this conclusion:

In summary, somebody was entangled with the evolution of 2019-nCoV coronavirus. In addition to origins of natural recombination and intermediate host, the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan. Safety level may need to be reinforced in high risk biohazardous laboratories. Regulations may be taken to relocate these laboratories far away from city center and other densely populated places.

Not placing high-level biological containment facilities next to market places seems like a sensible idea.

Once this epidemic is contained and controlled, the Chinese need to take a long, hard look at their approach to bioethics.


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The Chinese lied to cover up their malfeasance.
Who woulda thunk it?

    healthguyfsu in reply to Exiliado. | February 16, 2020 at 8:24 pm

    This report does not suggest malfeasance. It suggests negligence.

    They were studying the virus in bats and containment was breached.

    They could, of course, be lying. However, there’s no evidence to the contrary yet. Keep digging…good article, thanks.

      alaskabob in reply to healthguyfsu. | February 16, 2020 at 9:51 pm

      “Oops…..sorry about that”….right? Chernobyl …. “Oops…sorry about that. “. OK….negligence but there is both responsibility and accountability . Easy for the first but it’s going to require stepping up and dealing with it for the latter. Will they? We will see.

      When they (any Government) pleads incompetence, it is because the truth is far worse.

      The Hill over the weekend tried to taint Sen Cotton with spreading a conspiracy theory about “engineering” the virus.
      The supplied no such quote by Sen Cotton that included the “engineered” meme.

Once this epidemic is contained and controlled, the Chinese need to take a long, hard look at their approach to bioethics.”

The Chinese have bioethics?

    iconotastic in reply to rabidfox. | February 17, 2020 at 1:09 am

    I am certain the Chinese will take every bit as much care with their bio research as they do with their drug and food production–that is to say as little as dishonesty and bribery allow.

this explanation could be a cover up, in that it proposes that the origin of the virus is the incompetence of one individual, perhaps from ordinary viral research.

An alternative explanation is that the virus was purposely manufactured and not the result of a confluence of random incidents.

I have heard conflicting reports – if the virus *were* manufactured, would the biological signature reveal that it was?

    beagleEar in reply to mochajava76. | February 16, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    I don’t know much biology, but I can logic. If you were making bio-weapon, you’d make something that
    a) quickly incapacitates or kills military age men and
    b) fizzles out before it gets back to you.
    This one fails both a and b.

    OTOH, incompetence is universal. The average person does not have the discipline to deal with high-level hazmat, and hiring might not screen out all of the average people. Above average people have off days, perhaps off months. Scenario: A supposedly super-secure facility studying relatives of SARS has one worker who gets lazy for one week, or even one day and procedures in place do not provide enough layers to catch lapses. They’re studying wild animal virii and the lab is near a live animal market. A little bit of virus is tracked out on hands, clothing or trash lands on fertile territory, then Boom.

      beagleEar in reply to beagleEar. | February 16, 2020 at 8:22 pm

      hm. It could also have been a step in bio-weapon research, not designed for release as a weapon but part of the process of discovering one. I still thing it’s either Nature, which has a vast bag of tricks, or the lab collecting and fooling with Nature and “oops, now keep that one quiet”. Notice the first local instinct was to punish the first MDs to talk of the epidemic, not to try stopping it.

        the lab collecting and fooling with Nature
        It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!
        Also: You were so busy wondering if you could you didn’t stop to think if you should.

      healthguyfsu in reply to beagleEar. | February 16, 2020 at 8:26 pm

      b is dependent upon the goals of the designer

      If someone like those crazy ecoterrorists that want to reduce the world’s population made a virus, then they would not want it to fizzle out easily.

      China could stand to lose some population, and some in China could even want it that way.

      No tinfoil hat here, but your logic isn’t bulletproof; it’s not even really logic, just conjecture.

      There was some chatter about few children under 15 being infected by the virus. The mean age is around 58.

    Sanddog in reply to mochajava76. | February 17, 2020 at 3:23 am

    If the virus escaped the facility, it was due to human incompetence. Someone decided for whatever reason, established rules didn’t apply to them.

It’s been a few days since I’ve heard anyone pontificate that plausible speculation like this is “ignorant hysteria”. So what happened?

The country where factory overseers dose food products with melamine?

[…]China… sickened at least 54,000 babies and killed four babies.

[…]baby formula, powered milk, ice cream, yogurt and candy sweets were found to contain high levels of melamine.

Lotta “plausible speculation” in the news these days.

Perhaps it is my military background, or my natural sceptical outlook on biological pathogen research. As information seeps slowly out of China questions arise in my mind.
Was this an experiment for immunotherapy or a biopathonogic weapon? Given that this is a new strain of a common pathogen it could be either. Why is China trying to cover-up the origin and spread? Why is China refusing help from the US CDC?

As a side note I wonder if the open borders crowd understand the ramifications associated with unrestricted international migration given this example.

    JMaldaner in reply to Shadow5. | February 16, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    I’m curious to know the number of viruses with a 14-day incubation period.

      Shadow5 in reply to JMaldaner. | February 16, 2020 at 8:21 pm

      Given that viruses mutate rapidly and that even the CDC doesn’t list all the possible variations I doubt we will ever know.

        JMaldaner in reply to Shadow5. | February 16, 2020 at 8:32 pm

        My point being, I bet few, if any, naturally occurring viruses have such an incubation period. But, a manufactured virus, a weapon, would benefit from such a long incubation period. If this is a manufactured virus, one next wonders if it was carelessness, or intent, that unleashed it. Not many protestors in the streets in China these days!

      IS it 14 days, though?

      That cruise ship wandering around, unable to port anywhere, was at sea for 14+ days when it finally was allowed to disembark their passengers in Cambodia. Should be all safe, right? 14 days and no one with the virus?

      Until they got everyone off, and one of the passengers promptly showed signs of the virus. They’re now isolated.


    alaskabob in reply to Shadow5. | February 16, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    Look no further than the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill for parts of the virus …which was developed there with help of Chinese scientists.

Folks eating bats at a market or a leak from a high level biofacility handling rare infectious material less than 300 yards away – I think Occam’s Razor comes into play here

    Shadow5 in reply to tlcomm2. | February 16, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    Occam’s Razor (while appropriate in many instances) does not factor in politics or human agression. And biological warfare goes back to medieval times. An accidental release is logical in both scenarios. Refusal of trained assistance is suspect.

    Bill West in reply to tlcomm2. | February 16, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    I read earlier that the nearest natural horseshoe bat population is 500 miles away and people in that area don’t eat bats. This should change the answer the razor gives you.

Lucifer Morningstar | February 16, 2020 at 6:54 pm

Gee, what a surprise. The COVID-19 virus might come from a government lab (WuHan Center for Disease Control) that’s actually not even a half-kilometer from the wet market where the Chinese claimed the disease originated. Actually, not much of a surprise. The Chinese government has been lying about COVID-19 from the very beginning. Just wish they’d admit this was the result of a viral gain of function experiment gone horribly awry and was released into the general population.


I stopped buying edibles (human or pet) from China long ago. Check your bottle of powdered garlic. It’s possible but difficult to avoid China made.

    Anacleto Mitraglia in reply to rhhardin. | February 17, 2020 at 7:46 am

    You won’t easily buy chinese food in markets (powdered garlic? Seriously? Tastes like sh**). But you better avoid chinese restaurants.
    In Italy most have converted to Japanese restos, being those more trendy and profitable, and counting on the fact that we can’t tell chinese from japanese folks, which is basically true.
    Can yoy imagine eating RAW fish in places run by chinese? Have you seen how filthy their fish markets are?

Raccoon City? There is a correlation through proximity.

Just remember, there’s a Chinese CDC lab right across Huangxing Rd. from the seafood market that the virus supposedly originated from.

Once this epidemic is contained and controlled, the Chinese need to take a long, hard look at their approach to bioethics.
Once we’ve got it contained to China, we need to nuke all of these facilities so it doesn’t happen again.

Also, is this maybe a limited hang-out for Xi? Figuring the world will eventually know anyway, so it should be his people who come out with it and they can claim “honesty” and “transparency”?

    Valerie in reply to GWB. | February 16, 2020 at 11:12 pm

    That won’t work. Coronavirus was on the list of known threats because it had, and has, the ability to boil away in an animal population, mutate, and jump across species. It is just like avian flu in that regard.

The paper has no comparison between the viral sequences of the disease and those being studied in the labs. This is a disease that made a cross-species jump. The sequences hold the the answer, and should be located in the lab records.

It is the nature of bureaucratic organizations to mislead outsiders, even insiders who are not deemed sufficiently reliable to the organization. China’s government is lying maybe even to itself at least initially.

Put yourself in the place of the poor SOB in charge of that lab. Are you going to fess up immediately? If so to what exactly? Are your subordinates telling you the whole story? Do you wait to report initial information, which is always incomplete and may be wrong? Maybe you wait to report until you have a little more information and by then it’s too late.

It isn’t in the best interests of China for a deliberate release into their own nation. The economic disruption of this on the heels of the tariffs will be huge. As more US voters realize how much of their daily medication are manufactured nearly exclusively in China that will be eye opening for the politicians. Yes, lots of generic drugs are made in India but with precursor chemicals supplied by China. Also those disposable medical supplies; latex gloves, surgical sheet and yes surgical masks and ‘SARS’ masks are manufactured nearly exclusively in China. Obviously there is going to be a public outcry to ‘onshore’ manufacturing of these and other items.

Personally, I think the obvious answer here is that the virus was developed in and exited the lab, most likely by a confluence of small errors that individually wouldn’t be a major issue but collectively and in that particular sequence and timing led to the release.

Conspiracies are fun as a thought experiment but reality is usually less entertaining. Someone or a series of people made a series of mistakes. The longer this goes the more corporations will be accelerating changes to supply chains. Coupled with USMCA this could result in much earlier gains to the U.S. economy as a result. China does not benefit from this.

Regulations may be taken to relocate these laboratories far away from city center and other densely populated places.

Maybe the lab was intentionally located in proximity to a wet market in order to provide plausible cover for the release (accidental or otherwise) of a biological agent.

You know when they won’t allow the CDC into their country to help them, that something isn’t right and they are hiding what really is happening.

Johnny Rebellion | February 17, 2020 at 9:58 am

Dig a little deeper. The management at the Wuhan lab would sell the infected animals at the local market or just dump them instead of cremating them. They were doing it to make a few bucks.

So it may be that a sloppy scientist failed to follow proper decontamination protocol before exiting the laboratory
maybe not.
some businesses are feeling the pinch now due to supply chain issues now driven off the china problems.
just keep an open mind to all possibilities.
with that being said you are probably correct though.

“The Eyes of Darkness” (1981) features a Chinese military lab in Wuhan that creates a virus as a bioweapon; civilians soon become sick after accidentally contracting it

Before I retired, the firm I was working for was designing a massive siren warning system for a facility in China which produced, as a by-product, the gas hydrogen sulfide. It is as poisonous as hydrogen cyanide gas, the toxin once used for ‘gas chamber’ executions.
The plant was located very close to a large city. If there was a large gas release the death toll would have been at least in the tens of thousands.
China doesn’t seem to understand (or care) about basic safety.

Wuhan has an offensive bio-weapons lab. And has had one since 1993. I suspect this is a soft release.