German scientist says 99.9% chance coronavirus leaked from Wuhan lab.
A new study based on a year of research by a German physicist has concluded that the Wuhan coronavirus started with an accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
Dr. Roland Wiesendanger, who specializes in nanoscience at the University of Hamburg, on Feb. 18 published a 105-page report on ReasearchGate titled “Study on the Origin of the Coronavirus Pandemic.” The study was carried out from January to December 2020 based on scientific literature, print articles, online media, and correspondence with international researchers.
In his report, Wiesendanger listed six “significant indications” that the coronavirus pandemic started with a leak from the WIV.
No natural host found
Wiesendanger points out that unlike SARS and MERS, no intermediate host between bats and humans has been found more than a year since the start of the pandemic. Thus far, there is no evidence for the zoonotic theory to explain the outbreak.
Indeed, during the joint China-WHO reportissued on Feb. 9, Liang Wannian, head of the Chinese National Health Commission’s Expert Panel of COVID-19 Response, stated that 50,000 samples of wild animals from 300 different species (including bats) as well as 11,000 farm animals in 31 Chinese provinces — taken between November 2019 and March 2020 — had all tested negative for SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.
Well-suited for hACE2 receptors
The researcher claimed that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is “astonishingly effective” at binding to human receptor cells (hACE2). He said this is due to its special hACE2 binding domains paired with the furin cleavage sites of the virus’ telltale spike protein.
He stated that this is the first time a coronavirus has exhibited both characteristics and that it points to a “non-natural origin.” Within the betacoronaviruses of sarbecovirus lineage B, the polybasic furin cleavage site is unique to SARS-CoV-2, according to News Medical Life Sciences.
Wrong bats in Wuhan
Wiesendanger noted that there were no bats sold at the infamous Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, where the first known superspreader event began. Liang has stated that no animals or “animal products” had tested positive for the virus there and that individuals who contracted COVID early on had not visited the market.
The types of bats endemic to Wuhan do not carry the kinds of coronaviruses associated with SARS and COVID-19. Those coronaviruses are only found in horseshoe bats nearly 2,000 kilometers away in the caves of Yunnan Province.
What Wuhan does have, however, is the WIV, which holds “one of the largest collections of bat pathogens in the world,” observed Wiesendanger. He asserted that it is “extremely unlikely” bats made the 2,000-km journey to Wuhan and started an outbreak that just happened to be near the WIV and at least two other labs researching bat viruses in the city.
History of making chimeras
The scientist then mentioned that a research group, which is headed by Shi Zhengli , also known as “Bat Woman,” has since 2007 been researching how spike proteins in natural and chimeric SARS-like coronaviruses bind to the ACE2 receptors in the cells of humans, bats, and other animals. Wiesendanger alleged that the goal of this research is to make these viruses “more infectious, more dangerous, and more fatal.”
Lax safety measures
Wiesendanger wrote that the safety measures had been “documented as being insufficient” before the start of the coronavirus epidemic. In early March of last year, photos taken in 2018 from within the lab surfaced showing a warped seal on the door to a freezer holding pathogens.
In 2017, Chinese state-run TV released a video showing WIV scientists talking about being bitten by bats. Other footage from the program shows scientists collecting potentially infectious bat feces while wearing short sleeves and shorts and with no noticeable personal protective equipment other than porous nitrile gloves.
Direct indications of lab leak
Wiesendanger then cites several incidents that are indicative of a lab accident, such as reportsthat a young researcher in the lab, identified as Huang Yanling, was allegedly “patient zero” and had disappeared after contracting the disease. The WIV and Chinese government have vehemently denied she was infected, but over a year later, her whereabouts are still unknown, and all information about her has been scrubbed from the WIV website.
He also touched on analysis by American intelligence agencies of a private report purporting to have found evidence of a “shutdown” and “hazardous event” allegedly taking place at the WIV in October 2019. More recently, on Jan. 15, the U.S. State Department released a report stating that several scientists inside the lab had become ill with “symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses” in the fall of 2019.
In an interview with the German newspaper ZDF, the scientist claimed he is “99.9 percent sure” that the coronavirus emerged from the laboratory. He did, however, concede that the current body of evidence pointing to a lab leak, although extensive, is currently “circumstantial.”
During an interview on “Face the Nation” on Sunday (Feb. 21), former Deputy National Security Advisor (DNSA) Mathew Pottinger said that the “Chinese military was doing secret classified animal experiments in that same laboratory” as early as 2017. He added that there is “good reason to believe” an outbreak of a “flu-like illness” had occurred among the scientists at the WIV in the fall of 2019, just before the first cases of a new type of pneumonia were being reported in Wuhan.
In an interview with CBS on Sunday (Feb. 21), former Deputy National Security Advisor (DNSA) Mathew Pottinger said the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had been carrying out experiments in Wuhan for years and tried to cover up the COVID-19 outbreak.
In an episode of “Face the Nation” that aired on Sunday, when the show’s host Margaret Brennan asked Pottinger if he was alleging that the pandemic had started from a lab leak in Wuhan, Pottinger said that based on the circumstantial evidence the “ledger on the side of an explanation that says that this resulted from some kind of human error,” far outweighs the side of the scale that would point to a natural outbreak.
Pottinger said that U.S. intelligence sources have strong reason to believe that the “Chinese military was doing secret classified animal experiments in that same laboratory [Wuhan Institute of Virology]” as early as 2017. He added that there is “good reason to believe” that an outbreak of a “flu-like illness” had occurred among the scientists in the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in the fall of 2019, just before the first cases of a new type of pneumonia were being reported in Wuhan.
When asked if there was evidence that a COVID-like disease was already being transmitted in the fall of 2019, Pottinger said “There is.” He emphasized that a State Department fact sheetreleased on Jan. 15 was meant to make the case for further investigation into the WIV’s activities leading up to the outbreak in the city.
The statement pointed out that although the WIV bills itself as a “civilian institution,” U.S. intelligence has determined that the lab has collaborated on publications and secret projects with China’s military. It went on to allege that the lab has undertaken “classified research, including laboratory animal experiments,” on behalf of the PLA since 2017.
When asked why the U.S. health officials or U.S. intelligence did not know about the outbreak sooner, he said that the U.S. was too reliant on China’s CDC. However, he said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) put the PLA in charge of handling the outbreak in Wuhan.
The former security advisor claimed that China’s CDC was left in the dark and that even the center’s director “did not know this thing was circulating until the last day of December.” He concluded that the Chinese CDC had been left out of the loop as the PLA tried to “cover this thing up, to try to contain it until it was too late.”
After the scope of the global disaster become more apparent in April, Pottinger said he sought advice from senior officials in Taiwan on how to deal contain the virus. He then asked if they had any facemasks available and the Taiwan government then swiftly sent 500,000 masks.
Pottinger said that the majority of the masks were placed in the national stockpile to be used by frontline healthcare staff. He also directed a box to be delivered to the White House, where it was distributed through the NSC and White House medical unit.
By May 11, key figures in the White House were seen wearing “Made in Taiwan” masks at a press conference in the Rose Garden for the first time that day. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner were all spotted wearing surgical masks with the label “Made in Taiwan” clearly visible on the lower-left corner.