2020-04-19 › Director of Wuhan Laboratory Dismisses Claims COVID-19 Originated There
In line with Chinese government and Communist Party officials, the director of Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory has aggressively dismissed claims that it could be the source of the coronavirus outbreak, calling it "impossible" and labeling them as “conspiracy theory.”
In an interview Saturday with the English-language state broadcaster CGTN, Yuan Zhiming said "there's no way” the virus spread from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, specifically its P4 laboratory, which handles dangerous viruses.
"From my personal understanding of virology, there is no evidence to prove that the virus has trace of artificial or synthetic origins,” Yuan said. “Besides, some scientists believe that to synthesize a virus requires extraordinary intelligence and workload, which exceed the intelligence of normal humans and exceed what the current human society can handle. So, I have never believed that we humans now have the capability at this time to synthesize such a virus."
None of the institute’s staff had been infected, Yuan said, adding the "whole institute is carrying out research in different areas related to the coronavirus."
Beijing has been criticized for lack of transparency in its handling of the pandemic, with the United States investigating whether the virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a high-security biosafety laboratory, where Yuan is also a researcher.
The official tally of infections in Wuhan has been questionable from the very beginning, with the government frequently changing its counting criteria at the peak of the outbreak. Finally, last week, Wuhan authorities admitted mistakes about counting the death toll and raised the figure by 50 percent.
Although the origin of COVID-19 is yet to be determined, some scientists suspect the virus was transmitted to humans from animals at a wet market in Wuhan.
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