A report from Republicans on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee of the U.S. Congress has said the “preponderance of evidence proves” the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology “sometime before September 12th, 2019”.
The Telegraph summarises some of the main points of evidence.
The Republican report cited what it called under-reported information about laboratory safety protocols.
It detailed a request in July 2019 for a $1.5million overhaul of a hazardous waste treatment system, which was less than two years old. That request included maintenance on an “environmental air disinfection system”.
It raised questions about how well such systems were working in the months leading up to the outbreak, the report said.
The report said: “Such a significant renovation so soon after the facility began operation appears unusual.”
According to the report, satellite data in October showed a jump in visits to hospitals in Wuhan, along with a rise in people searching the internet for symptoms that could be linked to the virus.
It suggested the virus spread through Wuhan shortly before the Military World Games was held there in late October 2019.
In November, that event became an “international vector spreading the virus to multiple continents around the world” as athletes returned home, the report said.
- Medical doctor Steven Quay and Emeritus Professor Richard Muller wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal in which they set out what they believe to be “the most compelling reason to favour the lab leak hypothesis”: the fact that SARS-CoV-2 has a genetic feature, a “double CGG” furin cleavage site, that has never been observed in natural SARS-like coronaviruses, but which is the preferred feature for scientists when engineering viruses in the lab because it is simpler and more familiar to engineer and can then be used as a tell-tale marker of the engineered virus when tracking it.
- Virologist Dr David Baltimore explains: “When I first saw the furin cleavage site in the viral sequence, with its arginine codons, I said to my wife it was the smoking gun for the origin of the virus. These features make a powerful challenge to the idea of a natural origin for SARS2.”
- Dr Angus Dalgleish has argued that: “The laws of physics mean that you cannot have four positively charged amino acids in a row. The only way you can get this is if you artificially manufacture it.”
- When the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s “bat woman” Dr Shi Zhengli and colleagues published a paper in February 2020 with the virus’s partial genome, the double-CGG furin cleavage site section was in the part of the genome omitted (though could be seen in the accompanying data).
- The U.S. National Security Council, after reading an April 2020 paper in which Chinese military researchers studied SARS-CoV-2 using humanised mice, deduced that the mice involved must have been engineered some time during summer 2019. “Humanised” mice are typically repeatedly exposed to an engineered virus in order to accelerate the process of adaptation to humans. SARS-CoV-2 has been noted for how well it was already adapted to humans when it was first identified in Wuhan.
- On September 12th 2019 the main WIV database of sequences and samples was taken offline without warning or explanation and all requests to restore access to it have been refused. All 16 WIV virus databases were subsequently removed.
- A high-security part of the WIV appears to have had an emergency shutdown on October 7th 2019 for 18 days.
- WIV researcher Huang Yanling disappeared in late 2019 and the WIV falsely claimed she had not worked at the institute since 2015. The U.S. has suggested she may be “patient zero”.
- A leaked Chinese report looked back at hospital records and suggested the first patients infected with COVID-19 were being admitted to Wuhan hospitals in October.
- A U.S. military intelligence dossier which came to light in April 2020 documented a runaway epidemic in the Hubei region (of which Wuhan is the capital) in November (though the Pentagon has denied the existence of this dossier). Regional newspaper reports also suggest Covid was already circulating in Hubei in mid-November.
- In the U.K., the first official fatal infection was caught in England in December 2019, while the team behind Imperial College’s REACT study has reconstructed the infection curve in England from antibody data and symptom reports and found infections occurring throughout December 2019 and also back into November.