If you have kept abreast of the coronavirus outbreak in China, an influenza threatening to spread to other parts of the globe, you may be aware that some investigators who believed the virus came from a laboratory rather than a wet market were ridiculed for being anti-Chinese and conspiracy theorists.
It now seems that events may vindicate them.
On February 16, the Daily Mail reported that scholars at the state-sponsored South China Institute of Technology believe the coronavirus may have started in the Wuhan Center for Disease Control (WCDC). The WCDC is located 300 yards from the wet market first blamed by Chinese officials for the outbreak of coronavirus and is next door to a hospital. According to the Daily Mail and other sources, the writers of this paper, Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao, also suggest that the virus may have originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
Researchers in both institutes study viruses, using diseased animals as their subjects. Those animals include bats, deemed by scientists as the most likely carrier of the deadly virus. The WCDC, for example, houses 605 bats.
But there is a world of difference between the purpose and function of the WCDC and the WIV. The former investigates various diseases, including certain viruses, with the goal of combating them in the future.
The WIV, however, is the first Chinese laboratory to meet biosafety-status-4 standards, which means it can handle the study of the most dangerous of pathogens. Workers in such facilities wear hazmat suits and special gloves, and must take extraordinary precautions in their work.
Some observers suspect that the researchers at the WIV may be working to develop pathogens that might be used in bio-warfare. In his online article “Is the Coronavirus a Bioweapon?” Steven W. Mosher, an internationally recognized authority on China, takes a close look at the WIV, points to evidence that this laboratory is aiming to produce bioweapons, and then asks, “With its lies and evasions, is the Party simply trying to cover up its incompetence in controlling the outbreak? Or are its leaders also trying to hide something much more serious: their criminal complicity in the outbreak’s origins?”
Nearly two months have passed since Chinese officials announced the outbreak of this virus. For the Chinese people, both those infected by the virus and those quarantined and living daily in fear, we can feel only pity. They are the innocent victims of this story.
As for the Chinese Communist Party, however, I feel only contempt. From the beginning of this epidemic, the CCP has tried to conceal as many details of the virus as possible. The doctors who first discovered it – one of whom is now dead from the virus – were forced to sign a paper denying their findings. We now know that the wet market first blamed by authorities as the source for the outbreak did not sell bats to its customers.
And now those same authorities seem to believe that a bat in a research facility caused the outbreak of coronavirus.
But is it not also possible that this constitutes another duplicitous move, designed by the government to turn eyes away from the more dangerous biological research being done at the WIV? Is it truth or one more act of camouflage?
As I mentioned in an Intellectual Takeout article, a disaster like this one – the virus may well spread around the globe – affects all humanity. We should be fighting it as we might oppose some alien invasion, human beings standing shoulder to shoulder against a common enemy.
Chinese officials took a different route. They hushed up doctors, then blamed the contagion on a meat market. They built 1,000-bed hospitals in record time, even though they have an enormous military and could have sent field hospitals and medics to the stricken area. Some believe the government feared being embarrassed by taking that step. They now have allowed the issuance of a report that biomaterial from bats in a research lab are culpable for the outbreak. Strangely, the Party, which has strict control over the country’s communications, has allowed rumors to circulate on the Internet that the United States is responsible and is conducting biowarfare on the Chinese people.
Why all the deceptions and obfuscation? Is it simply an attempt to avoid responsibility for a breakdown in protocol, allowing a virus from an infectious bat to escape the laboratory? Or is something more sinister at play here?
[Image Credit: Pixabay]
Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.