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Report reveals Wuhan virologist who researched on bat coronaviruses had ties with Chinese military scientists

ANI | Updated: Jun 30, 2021 15:16 IST

Beijing (China) June 30 (ANI): A top Chinese Virologist from Wuhan Institute of Virology has ties to military scientists of China who had been helping her in coronavirus research.
One of these two military scientists has been listed as deceased. In March, Dr Shi Zhengli, a Wuhan-based virologist who was accused of performing dangerous experiments with bat coronaviruses, denied claims that Wuhan Institute conducted studies with the military but several pieces of evidence was found that proved Dr Shi's links with the military scientists, Fox News reported citing US MEDIA.
Dr Shi, along with military scientist Ton Yigang, researched on coronavirus back in 2018. Later Shi also worked with another military scientist Zhou Yusen in 2019. Zhou was declared dead in the footnote of an article published in 2020 but the reason for his death is still unknown.
Amid the resurgence of lab leak theory of COVID-19, a new report has revealed that China deleted early coronavirus data in a possible bid to conceal its origins -- hence impeding the World Health Organization's (WHO) investigation of the virus.
Earlier, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) investigation had found that China resisted international pressure for a probe that it saw as an attempt to assign blame. China delayed the probe for months, secured veto rights over participants and insisted its scope cover other countries as well.

Moreover, the WHO-led team that traveled to China in early 2021 to investigate the origins of the virus struggled to get a clear picture of what research China was conducting beforehand, faced constraints during its visit and had little power to conduct thorough, impartial research without the blessing of the Chinese government.
The team had initially declared that a lab accident was an extremely unlikely cause of the pandemic. However, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus later called for further investigation into the lab-leak hypothesis.
Chinese authorities had refused to provide WHO investigators with raw data on confirmed and potential early COVID-19 cases that could help determine how and when the coronavirus first began to spread in China. Chinese researchers also directed a US government archive to delete gene sequences of early COVID-19 cases, removing an important clue.
The WHO team found no proof of live mammals being sold at the Wuhan market, which was linked to early COVID-19 cases, and quoted market authorities saying that there was no illegal trade of wildlife there. A study later suggested that the Wuhan market was the site of widespread trading in illegal caged wildlife, providing evidence that the virus could have jumped naturally from market animals to humans.
In the meantime, scientists around the world and organizations such as the American Red Cross and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are looking for new clues in frozen blood, searching for COVID-19 antibodies or signs of infection.
Other independent scientists are also trying to piece together a picture of how the virus could have been evolving before it exploded in late 2019. (ANI)