Wuhan Virology Lab Scientists Had CCP Virus-Like Illness in Autumn 2019, US Says

Wuhan Virology Lab Scientists Had CCP Virus-Like Illness in Autumn 2019, US Says
This aerial view shows the P4 laboratory (L) on the campus of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, on May 27, 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)
Ivan Pentchoukov
Several researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill with symptoms similar to those caused by the CCP virus in the autumn of 2019, contradicting claims by a senior researcher from the facility who said there were no infections among the staff scientists.
The revelation is part of a fact sheet released by the U.S. State Department on Jan. 15, which slams the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for excessive secrecy around the origin of the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control reported a cluster of pneumonia-like cases of unknown origin on Dec. 21, 2019. But months later, new evidence emerged suggesting that Chinese authorities were aware of the first CCP virus case on Nov. 17. The U.S. government wasn’t informed about the virus until Dec. 30 of that year from Taiwan.

Little is known about the first patients who caught the virus; the CCP hasn’t eliminated a connection to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which isn’t far from the seafood market that initially was thought to be the origin of the outbreak.

“The U.S. government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses,” the State Department fact sheet reads. “This raises questions about the credibility of WIV senior researcher Shi Zhengli’s public claim that there was ‘zero infection’ among the WIV’s staff and students of SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-related viruses.”

The State Department pointed out that accidental viral outbreaks aren’t new in China, including the 2004 SARS outbreak in Beijing which originated in a lab. The department added that any meaningful investigation of the origins of the outbreak must include interviews with the researchers in the Wuhan lab who fell ill in the fall of 2019.

“The CCP has prevented independent journalists, investigators, and global health authorities from interviewing researchers at the WIV, including those who were ill in the fall of 2019. Any credible inquiry into the origin of the virus must include interviews with these researchers and a full accounting of their previously unreported illness,” the department said.

The State Department claims that the WIV was conducting research on viruses similar to the CCP virus as early as 2016. The regime has been secretive about the research and the State Department is demanding transparency.

“WHO investigators must have access to the records of the WIV’s work on bat and other coronaviruses before the COVID-19 outbreak. As part of a thorough inquiry, they must have a full accounting of why the WIV altered and then removed online records of its work with RaTG13 and other viruses,” the department said.

The WIV, while claiming to be a civil institution, has worked on secret projects with the Chinese military, including classified animal experiments since at least early 2017, the United States has learned.

“The United States and other donors who funded or collaborated on civilian research at the WIV have a right and obligation to determine whether any of our research funding was diverted to secret Chinese military projects at the WIV,” the department said.

The Chinese communist regime took more than two months to alert about the outbreak of the CCP virus. The regime knew about human-to-human transmission in late 2019 but didn’t inform the world until Jan. 20, 2020.
Ivan is the national editor of The Epoch Times. He has reported for The Epoch Times on a variety of topics since 2011.
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