By C. Douglas Golden
Published April 22, 2020 at 1:00pm
The Wuhan Institute of Virology isn’t a particularly popular popular research institution at present, as you may have heard.
So, in case you aren’t up to speed yet, here’s a TL;DR version: The WIV is an institute in the city where the novel coronavirus began that was doing research on bats and coronaviruses. The current theory is that, instead of coming from edible bats sold at the Wuhan wet market, the virus somehow came from the WIV, which was close to the wet market in question.
More specifically, the theory goes as such: The wet market didn’t sell bats, according to sources, and the bats from which the virus might have come were native to provinces more than 500 miles away from the market. In addition, the WIV had posted several job listings around the time the virus was first spreading that had to do with novel coronaviruses being studied at the lab.
Furthermore, American diplomats claimed the lab “operates at biosecurity level 2, a level significantly less secure than the level-4 standard claimed by the Wuhan Insititute of Virology lab.”
Notice I said “theory” and not “conspiracy theory.” That last part is not information from Infowars or even from a conservative media source, mind you. That’s from The Washington Post.
“Two years before the novel coronavirus pandemic upended the world, U.S. Embassy officials visited a Chinese research facility in the city of Wuhan several times and sent two official warnings back to Washington about inadequate safety at the lab, which was conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats,” The Post reported last week.
“The cables have fueled discussions inside the U.S. government about whether this or another Wuhan lab was the source of the virus — even though conclusive proof has yet to emerge.
“In January 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing took the unusual step of repeatedly sending U.S. science diplomats to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which had in 2015 become China’s first laboratory to achieve the highest level of international bioresearch safety (known as BSL-4). WIV issued a news release in English about the last of these visits, which occurred on March 27, 2018. The U.S. delegation was led by Jamison Fouss, the consul general in Wuhan, and Rick Switzer, the embassy’s counselor of environment, science, technology and health. Last week, WIV erased that statement from its website, though it remains archived on the Internet.”
It’s not just the one article. From a Washington Post editorial, again from last week: “A more troubling explanation is that the coronavirus was inadvertently spread from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which had carried out research on bat coronaviruses and possessed a biosafety level 4 facility, the most secure for handling highly pathogenic and infectious diseases. It is not beyond possibility that an accident or spill occurred.”
It gets worse. Reports indicate a grant from the American government — courtesy of the Obama administration — may have helped fund this research.
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