Beijing, May 24 (EFE).- China denied Monday that three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology became ill in November 2019 with symptoms similar to those of Covid-19, shortly before the outbreak of the pandemic.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), citing US intelligence sources, published an article recently claiming that as per a US State Department report three researchers at the Wuhan laboratory had Covid-19 like symptoms in autumn 2019, raising fresh doubts about the origin of the coronavirus.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press conference that there were no Covid-19 cases at the Wuhan center in the autumn of 2019 and that the news was totally fake, according to Chinese state media.
The report referred to in the WSJ was prepared in the last days of the Donald Trump administration and claims that the researchers’ symptoms were consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal diseases.
China told the World Health Organization that the first patient with Covid-19-like symptoms was registered in Wuhan on Dec.8, 2019.
However, many epidemiologists and virologists believe that it was in November 2019 that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus began to circulate in the city of Wuhan, in central China, whereas Beijing maintains that the first confirmed case was a man who became ill on Dec. 1.
WSJ underlined that the Wuhan Institute of Virology has not shared raw data, safety records and laboratory records on its extensive work with the coronavirus in bats, which many consider to be the most likely source of the virus.
The US intelligence report supports the theory that the virus probably originated naturally, based on contact between animals and humans.
However, it does not exclude the possibility that its spread in Wuhan was the result of an accidental leak from the Institute of Virology, where research was being carried out on the coronavirus in bats.
China has repeatedly denied that the virus leaked out from one of its laboratories. EFE