China plans to build dozens of biosafety level three labs and one biosafety level four lab over the next five years as investigators re-examine the possibility that the coronavirus may have escaped from lab to lab. Wuhan, China.
China’s Guangdong Province plans to establish 25 to 30 biosafety level three labs and one biosafety level four lab, the Financial Times reported.
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The Wuhan Institute of Virology is home to a biosafety level four lab accused of conducting gain-of-function research. The director of that lab, Yuan Zhiming, detailed the safety shortcomings of Chinese labs in a 2019 review.
“Several high-level BSLs have insufficient operational funds for routine but vital processes,” Yaun wrote according to the Financial Times. “Due to limited resources, some BSL-3 labs operate with extremely minimal or in some cases no operating costs.”
China has an “average” level of biosecurity readiness compared to the “high” level of the United States, according to the Global Health Security Index. The country passed a new law to improve biosafety last year, and in January 2020, biosafety labs working with Sars-Cov-2 samples were ordered not to disclose information about the virus. without government permission, the Financial Times reported.
The lab leak theory has gained credibility in the United States and abroad in recent weeks after an explosive Wall Street Journal report found that three researchers in a Wuhan virology lab had shown symptoms of COVID-19 in late 2019 – long before the pandemic. But that remains to be proven, as do competing hypotheses about how the virus came to infect a human for the first time.
“We don’t know what happened, but a lot of data has probably been destroyed or gone missing, so it will be difficult to definitively prove the case of a ‘pipe dream’ being the cause of the pandemic.” former head of UK intelligence agency MI6 told The Telegraph.
Gain-of-function research is controversial and involves the manipulation and strengthening of viruses.
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However, whether or not there is physical evidence at hand does not matter.
“We’re not going to go in and see the evidence anyway, no matter if it was there, if it wasn’t,” said the former head of the CIA station in Moscow. Daniel Hoffmanna Fox News contributor said Thursday. “The Chinese aren’t going to give us any evidence, but all that matters is that there was evidence at some point.”
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz, Rich Edson and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.
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