Increasing claims a maximum security laboratory in China’s coronavirus ground-zero city of Wuhan is the source of the deadly global pandemic were rejected outright Saturday by the institute’s director.
Yuan Zhiming, vice director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, called the accusations a “conspiracy theory” in an interview with Chinese state broadcaster CGTN Saturday.
“As people who carry out viral study, we clearly know what kind of research is going on in the institute and how the institute manages viruses and samples. As we said early on, there is no way this virus came from us,” said Yuan, a microbiology and biotechnology expert.
“We have a strict regulatory regime and code of conduct of research, so we are confident.”
Beijing has come under increasing pressure over the lack of transparency in its handling of the pandemic, with the U.S. leading calls for an open and honest investigation into the matter.
The existence of the Wuhan facility adds weight to the theories the germ spread from the local Institute of Virology, specifically its P4 laboratory which is equipped to handle dangerous viruses, however direct evidence is yet to be produced to back the claim.
When asked if the research suggested the virus could have come from the institute, Yuan said that because the P4 laboratory is in Wuhan “people can’t help but make associations”, but that some media outlets are “deliberately trying to mislead people.”
Although the assertions against the lab have yet to be fully tested, what is known is that authorities in Wuhan initially tried to cover up the outbreak and there have been questions about the official tally of infections with the Chinese communist government repeatedly changing its counting criteria at the peak of the outbreak.
This week authorities in the city admitted mistakes in counting its death toll and abruptly raised the figure by 50 percent, as Breitbart News reported.
Earlier this month Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) introduced the Stop COVID Act, which would allow the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the origins of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.
Gooden’s legislation, the Stop China-Originated Viral Infectious Disease (COVID) Act of 2020, would amend the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) to allow the DOJ to investigate the coronavirus pandemic and allow the DOJ to file claims against the Chinese Communist Party in the United States.