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A call for a new investigation into the theory of coronavirus escaping from a virology lab in Wuhan has been made in light of new evidence.

Image Credit: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

A Wall Street Journal report revealed on Sunday, that US intelligence managed to gather information regarding the earliest hospitalizations with COVID-19 symptoms in China. Back in November 2019, months before the pandemic broke out, three researchers working for China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick with COVID-19 symptoms and had to be subsequently hospitalized. This US intelligence undisclosed information may help to determine the origin of the pandemic.

The details of the undisclosed intelligence report were issued during the last days of the Donald Trump administration. The report specifically says that the researchers became sick in November 2019,

With symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness

US intelligence undisclosed report

This information regarding the timing of the illness of the researchers months before the pandemic broke out comes on the eve of a meeting of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision making body where they will discuss further steps in the investigation of COVID-19 origins. Earlier this year, a WHO team had scrapped the idea that the virus might have leaked out from a lab. The team said that the virus jumped from bats to humans through an intermediary animal. The intelligence report, while it does not confirm that the virus actually leaked out from a lab, will definitely require the WHO to launch a new probe into the origins of the coronavirus. China did not express the same views and criticized the report. The director of the institute’s Wuhan National Biosafey Laboratory, Yuan Zhiming said to the Chinese news media outlet, that the report was a ‘complete lie’.

One of the challenges facing any investigation is access to the lab. The WHO team that was sent there to investigate were denied access for months after the initial outbreak. The investigators were never allowed to view original data logs that they believe would reveal more information critical to discovering the origin of the virus. Most likely, China will never hand out information related to what happened in Wuhan in November 2019, and this will continue to be a mystery, unless according to a person familiar with the underlying intelligence, an answer to the lab-leak theory will be sought through ‘traditional spycraft’.

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