A prominent Chinese virologist has been linked to at least two Chinese military scientists who have collaborated with her on coronavirus research in the past, including one now listed as deceased, a report said on Tuesday.
In March, Dr Shi Zhengli, the Wuhan-based virologist who was accused of conducting risky experiments with bat coronaviruses, flatly denied claims that the Wuhan Institute of Virology conducted studies. with the military, according to an NBC News report.
But the network reported finding evidence linking Shi to military scientists. She collaborated with Ton Yigang, a military scientist, on coronavirus research in 2018, and then with Zhou Yusen, another military scientist in December 2019. Zhou who was listed as deceased in the footnote of an article released in 2020, according to the report. The report said he could not confirm the cause of his death.
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David Asher, a former State Department adviser who co-authored a fact sheet last January on activities inside the lab, told NBC News he was “confident” that the military Chinese was funding a “secret program” involving coronaviruses.
He defended his theory by saying that he had received information from several foreign researchers inside the laboratory who had seen researchers there in military uniform. The report pointed out that the lab insists that this facility is only used for civilian purposes. Asher and the WIV did not immediately respond to Fox News emails.
China has called claims that the virus escaped the lab “absurd”.
“Some people in the United States have fabricated and peddled absurd stories claiming a leak from the Wuhan laboratory, which China is gravely concerned about,” a Chinese official said earlier this month. “China urges the United States to respect the facts and science, refrain from politicizing the search for the origin of COVID-19, and focus on international cooperation against the pandemic. “
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The United States and others have accused China of failing to provide the raw data and access to sites that would allow further investigation into the origin of the virus and how it initially spread.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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