Intelligence on sick researchers showing "COVID-like" symptoms before the outbreak fuels debate on its origin

Beijing also added that the virus could have originated outside of China, clearly mentioning “Fort Detrick Military Base” of Maryland, USA. 

Binayak Karki

Investigative Journalist
File/ BL-En Desk


Three researchers working at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) fell ill of an unknown sickness displaying the symptoms of “COVID-19”. The patients faced "symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses" in November of 2019, a report by The State Department revealed. China, on the other hand, had originally reported the first case of COVID-19 on the 8th of December, 2019. The latest “intelligence” report has cast further shadows upon the assertion that COVID didn’t outbreak due to a lab leakage. 

Details of the origin of COVID-19 go beyond The State Dept.’s reporting that previously came out in the last days of the Trump administration. 

Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images


The State Department’s original reports concluded the presence of “reasons to believe” that the researchers at the “center of research of pathogens including coronavirus” had fallen ill showing symptoms similar to what emerged later that year as a pandemic – short of the exact timing of their hospitalisation.  


Two anonymous officials familiar with the “intelligence”, however, have contrasting opinions regarding the incident with the lab researchers. The current and former “intelligence” officials expressed differing views about the strength of the presence of evidence to confirm the veracity of the new information. One of them told the WSJ that the information needed further investigation as it was obtained from “international partners” but the other official quoted it as “very precise”. The information that we had coming from the various sources was of exquisite quality. It was very precise. What it didn’t tell you was exactly why they got sick,” he added, referring to the WIV lab researchers. 


FeatureChina via AP Images

China’s words: 
China has repeatedly denied the theory of “escaping of the virus from one of its labs”. Chinese Foreign Ministry instead blamed the government of the United States for not showing actual concern to discover the source of the outbreak. The Foreign Ministry, with The WSJ, said: ‘The U.S. continues to hype the lab leak theory. Is it actually concerned about tracing the source or trying to divert attention?’ 

Beijing also added that the virus could have originated outside of China, clearly mentioning “Fort Detrick Military Base” of Maryland, USA. 

American fortification to China’s 'Maryland' claim: 

American scientists quote “no reason to investigate the base” which is continuously supported by the White House: “There are no credible reasons to investigate the base.” 

This makes America, too, score points in the list of suspicious accountable.  

Getty Images/Alex Wong

What do experts believe? 

A significant number of epidemiologists believe that the virus first began to circulate in November of 2019 – each having their own reasons and justifications, while Beijing strictly denies it. Meanwhile, the Wuhan Institute of Virology has yet shared no data or logs regarding its extensive research of coronavirus in bats – adding extra suspicion as the lab being its origin.  


WHO has confirmed the number of ill researchers and the timing of their sickness to come on the eve of a WHO meeting which is also expected to discuss further measures to dive deeper into the origin of COVID-19. 

Meanwhile in American politics regarding its origin: 

Republicans are forcing federal health officials to explain what WIV did with the grant money that was funded earlier last decade from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

Six Republican senators and one congressman signed a letter to National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins on Friday, seeking information on a 2014 ban on funding so-called "gain of function research," in which viruses are manipulated in a lab setting to become more transmissible and harmful. The letter also asked for more detail about the lifting of the moratorium in late 2017 and whether any exceptions were made for programs and researchers connected to the Wuhan lab. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser, has denied that the National Institutes of Health sponsored gain of function research in Wuhan, but Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) accused Fauci of playing "word games" on Sunday. 


Sen. Tom Cotton | Pool / AFP via Getty Images

Cotton told Fox Business Network’s “Sunday Morning Futures”, “The money that the NIH gave went to  which turned around and gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to these Wuhan labs to investigate coronaviruses and yes, to find ways to make them more contagious and more dangerous.” 

He went on to add: “I think that there could be an example here of these public health bureaucrats thinking they know better, that they’re not going to answer to political oversight and accountability … and they went ahead with this research that could be very dangerous,” Cotton added. “That’s why it is imperative that the NIH come clean and tell us exactly what happened.” 



Publish : 2021-05-24 18:00:00

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