Three researchers from the Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China fell ill in November 2019 seeking hospital care, a US intelligence report shows.
This report may have a weight in the wave of increased calls for full investigation into suspicions that the virus may have come out of laboratories, reports “The Wall Street Journal”. The media article in question states that the details of the report go beyond a US State Department document, released during the last days of the Trump Administration.
The researchers fell ill in the fall of 2019 with “persistent symptoms of Covid-19”. The discovery of the sick researchers, their illness time and hospital visits, comes on the eve of the WHO meeting, where it is expected to discuss the next phase of investigations into the origin of Covid-19. Officials and former intelligence-related officials expressed differing views on the strength of the evidence.
One person said he was provided by an international partner and was potentially important, but still needed further investigation and additional confirmations. Another official considered the intelligence test as strong. “The information that came to us from different sources was qualitative. It was extremely accurate. “What was not said was exactly why they got sick,” he said, referring to the researchers.
November 2019 is roughly the time when many epidemiologists and virologists believe that Sars-Cov-2 started circulating for the first time around the Chinese city of Wuhan, where Beijing confirmed the first case on December 8th.
The Wuhan Institute has not shared preliminary data, safety records and laboratory data on its extensive work with coronaviruses in bats, which many consider the most likely source of the virus.