Wednesday 14 June 2023

‘Patients Zero’ Were Wuhan Lab Researchers Working On Coronavirus Gain-Of-Function, Journalists Say

 Three journalists investigating the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, say the first three patients who contracted the virus were lab researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).

The report, compiled by Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi, and Alex Gutentag, identified researchers Ben Hu, Yu Ping, and Yan Zhu as “patients zero,” citing anonymous U.S. government officials involved in the origin investigation.

“According to multiple U.S. government officials interviewed as part of a lengthy investigation by Public and Racket, the first people infected by the virus, ‘patients zero,’ included Ben Hu, a researcher who led the WIV’s ‘gain-of-function’ research on SARS-like coronaviruses, which increases the infectiousness of viruses,” the report said.

Hu worked closely with Shi Zhengli, the journalists wrote. “Shi is known as ‘the bat woman of China” and led the gain-of-function research at the WIV, according to Alina Chan, a molecular biologist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

“He was her star pupil. He had been making chimeric SARS-like viruses and testing these in humanized mice. If I had to guess who would be doing this risky virus research and most at risk of getting accidentally infected, it would be him,” Chan told the journalists.

Taibbi also reported that the Directorate of National Intelligence is expected to put out once-classified material on the virus’ origin later this month that may include the names of the three researchers.

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden signed a bill that calls for the release of the names and roles of the sick researchers at the WIV, their symptoms, and date of symptom onset, and whether these researchers had been involved with or exposed to coronavirus research.

Back in March, the U.S. Energy Department reportedly concluded that the COVID virus likely leaked from the Wuhan lab. Even though the agency said it was a “low confidence” conclusion, the pronouncement elevated the once-conspiracy theory and appeared to vindicate those who had at least questioned the virus’s origin.


But another new report says U.S. investigators suspect COVID was the product of Chinese military bioweapon research.

State Department investigators probing the origins of COVID are highly suspicious of the People’s Liberation Army’s role at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), several investigators told the U.K.’s The Times. The Chinese military partnered with the lab to experiment with viruses in 2016 after the lab started to have some success mutating pathogens.

The Times cited an anonymous State Department official who reportedly said, “It has become increasingly clear that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was involved in the creation, promulgation and cover-up of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The new reports run counter to what Dr. Anthony Fauci said just this past February when he expressed doubt about the origin of the virus. Fauci, the former White House chief medical adviser, said there is no consensus and concluded, “We may never know” the source of the outbreak.

“I don’t see any data for a lab leak. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t have happened,” Fauci said then.

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