Friday, 1 May 2020

China's brilliant virology discoveries and the fugitive viral escape

President Trump at his latest White House media conference on April 30 told the assemble press corps he had “seen evidence” to substantiate the hitherto unproven theory that the coronavirus originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The President added “We’re going to see where it comes from. We have people looking at it very, very strongly. Scientific people, intelligence people,  and others. We’re going to put it all together. I think we will have a very good answer eventually..”

“Trump claims to have evidence coronavirus started in Chinese lab but offers no details,” Maanvi Singh and Helen Davidson, April 30; )

The Guardian diplomatic editor, Patrick Wintour, added that Trump had said, when pressed to explain what evidence he had seen that the virus originated in a Chinese lab: “I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that.” (“US intelligence agencies under pressure to link coronavirus to Chinese labs,” May 1;

Meanwhile, US intelligence agencies’ revealed presently their conclusion that the virus was “not manmade or genetically modified”.

So, what evidence could the US Intelligence community have obtained; and from where?

We know US virologists from the Galveston National Laboratory (GNL) on Infectious  Disease Research for Global Health Security collaborated with their Chinese colleagues on joint projects, having helped establish the Wuhan high security virology laboratory in 2017.(

In a media release on April 16 GNL stated: “Through our Biosafety Training Center, UTMB has provided laboratory safety and security training for scientists and operations personnel in more than 70 countries, including China.  The relationship with Wuhan Institute of Virology and the GNL dates back to 2013 and has been facilitated through an ongoing dialogue co-sponsored by the Chinese Academies of Science and U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, with cooperation from the Chinese CDC and others. (

GNL is led by Dr Kenneth Plante, who is the  Curator, World Reference Center for Emerging Viruses and Arboviruses.(

GNL describes itself as “a sophisticated high containment research facility that serves as a critically important resource in the global fight against infectious diseases. The GNL is located on the campus of the University of Texas Medical Branch and operates under the umbrella of UTMB’s Institute for Human Infections and Immunity.”

GNL is internationally known for  high level expertise working with pathogens including Ebola and Marburg, emerging infectious diseases like MERS, and mosquito borne viruses like Zika and Chikungunya.

It adds: “The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) provides funding for the BSL4 laboratories and operations at the GNL, and the lab’s top priority is research to develop diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines to combat the most dangerous diseases in the world”.

BSL4 ( biosecurity laboratories level 4 ) Labs, including the Wuhan Virology Research Lab, are the globally the most secure and are certified by the World Health Organization (WHO).

GNL has collaborated with China’s virology research community, which has been  has been heroic and innovative in its extraordinary research done on the coronavirus.

But hey have been marginalised and temporarily silenced by their own Government in Beijing, unable to make public their increasing concerns in late 2019, over a fugitive  viral spread in Wuhan.

Tthe Chinese Government in Beijing  did inform the WHO of a viral break out on 31 December, but this warning came after the nationalist Government in Taiwan  said they reported this to both International Health Regulations (IHR) -a WHO ‘framework for exchange’  of epidemic prevention and response data between 196 countries, and Chinese health authorities - on December 31.

Taipei said many of its doctors had heard from mainland colleagues that medical staff were getting ill — a sign of human-to-human transmission- during December 2019, weeks before the wet food market in Wuhan had been identified as possible cause of the fugitive viral escape. But the warning was not shared with other countries.

The IHR’s internal website provides a platform for all countries to share information on the epidemic and their response. But none of the information shared by Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control was posted, because the WHO does not recognize the international status of Taiwan as a separate nation.

In 2018, the Chinese state Nanjing Military Research Institute published details research on a new bat virus they had found near Zhoushan city, in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang.

Building on this, the celebrated female virologist, Dr Zhi Zhengli of the Wuhan Virology  Research Institute (WVRI) did complex research on ‘splitting’  the Sars virus, producing four key papers [published in Western science journals], that looked into the possibility of  developing self-replicating synthetic coronaviruses ( assessing the c so-called “S” protein)

One key paper from WVRI virologists, published in the UK medical journal, The Lancet on  24 January 2020, explains from their micro-analysis of early reported Covid cases, that 14 out of 41 (ie around a third) examined could not be traced at all to the wet food market.

Two days later, the United States’ Government Centers for Diseases Control published a paper on viral transfer from bats. Nature journal followed this up on 3 February with an analysis of the link to bats of the coronavirus by now spreading widely worldwide

They found the new virus – whose full ‘genome sequence’  had been published by the Chinese Government on 10 January -  was not one  found in the kind of bats sometimes on sale at the Wuhan  wet food market.

Five weeks ago, the youngest new MP in Parliament, Nadia Whittome, representing Labour in Nottingham East, asked the department of health if it would initiate research into the security control of viruses under investigation at the Wuhan State Institute of Virology, only to be dismissed bluntly by heath minister Jo Churchill with: "We have no plans to authorise research into the security control of viruses under investigation at the Wuhan State Institute of Virology." (Written answer, 26 March 2020; Number 29268)mmons

Which leaves the unanswered question: what was the original source of the fugitive virus in Wuhan, if not the market?

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