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October 26, 2021
A report by Sky News Australia revealed on Sunday that the Wuhan Institute of Virology kept live bats on its premises, contradicting the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), which has maintained that such suggestions are baseless.
The revelation came the same day that the W.H.O. said that “all hypotheses still remain on the table” as to the origins of the COVID-19 virus, a direct challenge to Beijing’s claims that it is not responsible for the global pandemic and theories that say the virus was man made are wrong. Sky News Australia obtained video footage from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ launch of the new biosafety level 4 laboratory in May 2017, which addresses security precautions in place if “an accident” occurs.
The video shows bats being held in a cage on the premises. A scientist can be seen feeding a bat with a worm. The 10 minute clip, titled “The construction and research team of Wuhan P4 laboratory of Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences,” features interviews with the lab’s leading scientists. The original W.H.O. report investigating the origin of the coronavirus failed to mention that any bats had been kept on the premises, with only the annex of the report referring to animals being housed at the institute. The report states, “The animal room in the P4 facility can handle a variety of species, including primate work with SARS-CoV-2.”
Zoologist Peter Daszak, who was a member of the W.H.O. team investigating the pandemic’s origins in Wuhan, said it was a conspiracy to suggest that bats were held at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and no evidence existed to support the allegation. In one tweet from December 2020, he said: “No BATS were sent to Wuhan lab for genetic analysis of viruses collected in the field. That’s now how this science works. We collect bat samples, send them to the lab. We RELEASE bats where we catch them!” Other W.H.O. members were quick to join him in downplaying any questions about the biosafety of the Wuhan facility.
The video shared by Sky News Australia forms part of the investigation that underpins the book What Really Happened in Wuhan. On Sunday, W.H.O. Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that more “transparency” was needed from China in the ongoing investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 virus. Speaking at a G7 summit briefing, Tedros said a lab leak had not been ruled out and that “every hypothesis should be open.” He estimated that some 3.75 million people had died from the coronavirus and at least another 174 million were confirmed to have contracted the disease. “I think the respect these people deserve is knowing what the origin of this virus is so that we can prevent it from happening again,” Tedros said.
ARTICLE: CHLOE CHANDLER
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NPR