CHINA has shipped samples of South Asian virus-infected bats to Wuhan as new bombshell evidence could help solve the search for the origins of Covid.
In September, researchers discovered a virus in Laos with a surprising similarity to Covid – but how a virus transmitted by bats from the South Asian country could have ended up triggering an outbreak in Wuhan remained a mystery.
The viral strain – named Banal-52 – shares 96.8% of its genome with Covid, making it more similar than any other virus.
And now, leaked emails between EcoHealth Alliance and US government funding agencies have revealed bat samples being collected in Laos and returned to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The Chinese lab – a high-security facility specializing in coronaviruses – has been in the eye of the storm as questions rage over whether Covid could have escaped it.
The emails, uncovered by the White Coat Waste Project, suggest that viral DNA from “bats and other high-risk species” was sent to Wuhan between June 2017 and May 2019.
Matt Ridley, co-author of Viral: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19, told The Sun Online: “Documents from the White Coat Waste Project show there is a link between Laos and the Institute of Virology from Wuhan.
“When EcoHealth Alliance collected samples, it sent them to Wuhan. It is not a responsible thing to do. You don’t want to send samples to China.
“It is extremely important to note the connection. “
The documents also suggest that bat samples were shipped to Wuhan from laboratories in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand as part of an EcoHealth Alliance project.
Evidence of a lab leak has accumulated over the past 18 months as virologists, scientists and governments seek clues to the origins of the pandemic.
Mr Ridley said: ‘We don’t know the answer – but the evidence is strong enough to warrant an investigation into a lab leak. “
The researchers said the newly discovered link between Laos and Wuhan has now raised the possibility of a “research accident” by Chinese scientists tinkering with bat coronavirus samples from Laos.
Gilles Demaneuf, member of the group of pandemic origin DRASTIC, wrote in a recent blog: “We now have a very plausible direct route from Laos to Wuhan, a route with two options.
“Number one, a bat sampler from Wuhan infected on a field sampling trip. Number two, a research accident in Wuhan while handling a Laos Banal-type bat coronavirus. “
Mr Ridley said it was an ‘interesting possibility’ that Covid may have originated in Laos, rather than China.
According to the Telegraph, Mr Ridley told the Institute of Economics in London: ‘Banal-52 is not close enough to be the ancestor, it is still not the smoking gun, but rather it is good. So maybe this virus started in Laos, not China. Interesting possibility.
“But we got a leak of a document showing the EcoHealth Alliance sampling bats in Laos.
“They say in the document that because it would be complicated to come back and ask the US government for permission to give part of the grant to a Laotian laboratory, they would like to send all these samples to a laboratory that can analyze them for. them.
“It was in a place called Wuhan.
“The epidemic therefore occurred in a city with the largest research program in the world on coronaviruses transmitted by bats, whose scientists have visited at least two places where these Sars-type viruses live. CoV-2. “
Mr Ridley believes the world will eventually discover the origins of the devastating coronavirus pandemic.
He told The Sun Online: “Even if it takes a decade, I think we’ll find out what happened.
“There are a lot of pessimists who say we won’t know. First of all, there is evidence from other countries that we can look at.
“We saw it from the EcoHealth Alliance leaks – how they planned to insert furin cleavage sites into viruses.
“As soon as we can get transparency on what the EcoHealth Alliance knows, we will know a lot more.
“As for China, there will be a lot of people who will know what really happened, and they will one day be able to tell us what happened. “
Former intelligence chiefs and diplomats have claimed the virus was leaked from the lab in the “cover of the century” which is “worse than Watergate”.
China and the lab have furiously denied any allegations, but former intelligence chiefs said evidence of a lab ‘crash’ was obvious – and there had been a calculated cover-up ‘from day one’ .
Sharri Markson What really happened in Wuhan uncovered a series of clues pointing to Beijing’s “comprehensive and well-thought-out” efforts to hide the evidence.
And the new bombshell book says Covid appears to have been “tailor-made for the carnage” and may have escaped the lab after a scientist was bitten by an infected monkey.
China refused to cooperate with a full-scale investigation into the origins, and experts said the cover-up continues today.