The Chinese language lab eyed as a possible supply of COVID-19 has admitted having three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site — however insisted none are the supply of the worldwide pandemic.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology has since 2004 “remoted and obtained some coronaviruses from bats,” its director Wang Yanyi stated in an interview that aired Saturday, in accordance to Agence France-Presse.
“Now we’ve got three strains of live viruses… However their highest similarity to SARS-CoV-2 solely reaches 79.eight %,” Yanyi stated, referring to the coronavirus pressure that causes COVID-19.
“It’s an apparent distinction,” she stated, in accordance to AFP.
Yanyi rejected the concept the pandemic began in her lab — one pushed by President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — as “pure fabrication.”
Her scientists had by no means “encountered, researched or saved the virus” till it obtained samples on December 30, when it had already unknowingly taken maintain on Wuhan, the contagion’s epicenter, she stated.
“In reality, like everybody else, we didn’t even know the virus existed,” she stated of the brand new virus that as of Sunday had contaminated greater than 5.three million and killed greater than 340,000 worldwide.
“How might it have leaked from our lab after we by no means had it?”
Chinese language scientists have all the time stated that the virus first emerged at a moist market promoting live animals in Wuhan.
However US authorities raised suspicions over the lab on the coronary heart of the epicenter — claims that the World Well being Group has insisted are purely “speculative” with out proof being supplied.
Chinese language Overseas minister Wang Yi on Sunday claimed US politicians selected to “fabricate rumors” concerning the origins to “stigmatize China.”
He stated China can be “open” to worldwide cooperation to determine the supply of the novel coronavirus, so long as any investigation is “free of political interference.”
With Submit wires