Home Asia Chinese defector virologist Dr Li-Meng Yan publishes report claiming COVID-19 was made...

Chinese defector virologist Dr Li-Meng Yan publishes report claiming COVID-19 was made in a lab

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A virologist who fled China after studying the early outbreak of COVID-19 has published a new report claiming the coronavirus likely came from a lab. Doctor Li-Meng Yan, a scientist who studied some of the available data on COVID-19 has published her claims on Zenodo, an open access digital platform. She wrote that she believed COVID-19 could have been “conveniently created” within a lab setting over a period of just six months, and “SARS-CoV-2 shows biological characteristics that are inconsistent with a naturally occurring, zoonotic virus”.Early reports of the origin of the coronavirus, or “spillover event”, were that the virus jumped from animal to human within a wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan sometime in late 2019.“The natural origin theory, although widely accepted, lacks substantial support,” Dr Yan writes in the report.“The alternative theory that the virus may have come from a research laboratory is, however, strictly censored on peer-reviewed scientific journals. Nonetheless, SARS-CoV-2 shows biological characteristics that are inconsistent with a naturally occurring, zoonotic virus.”RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus coverageRELATED: Coronavirus: Case number NSW needs to be ‘out of the woods’RELATED: Countries that have seen zero virus casesDr Yan’s paper, co-authored by three other doctors, is titled: ‘Unusual Features of the SARS-CoV-2 Genome Suggesting Sophisticated Laboratory Modification Rather Than Natural Evolution and Delineation of Its Probable Synthetic Route’.Dr Yan had been working at Hong Kong University’s public health laboratory sciences division, a World Health Organisation infectious diseases research centre, when her boss was asked to investigate the outbreak in Wuhan.Dr Yan claimed her and her team’s scientific findings were suppressed, and they were told only to report cases linked to the Huanan seafood market. After becoming fearful of her safety, she fled China on a flight bound for Los Angeles in late April.Other scientists have disputed Dr Yan’s claim, including a report from Live Science in March, which definitively claimed “SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus”.Dr Yan’s newly published report echoes claims she made in a recent TV interview, when she appeared on the British talk show Loose Women.During the interview, she said the coronavirus “comes from the lab — the lab in Wuhan and the lab is controlled by China’s government”.She also said widespread reports that the virus originated last year from a wet market in Wuhan are “a smoke screen”.
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