U.S. vicious slanders on China over COVID-19 origins tracing and the truth (Part 2)

Source: Xinhua| 2021-11-06 12:14:20|Editor: huaxia

◆In November 2020, institutions including the National Cancer Institute in Milan and the University of Milan published research findings showing that 11.6 percent of the blood serum samples collected between September 2019 to March 2020 had developed COVID-19 antibodies, with 23 samples collected in September 2019 being positive for antibodies.



In January 2021, news outlet The Local (Italy) reported that a SARS-CoV-2 in situ hybridization reaction was detected at multiple parts on the skin biopsy sample of an Italian female patient in November 2019.


In July 2021, the University of Milan and other institutions in Italy tested samples and found molecular evidence for SARS-CoV-2 infection in 13 out of 156 cases. Among them, 11 were collected from August 2019 to February 2020, earlier than the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy was officially recognized. Additionally, a urine sample collected on Sept. 12, 2019 from a measles patient in Italy tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. The sequencing result has been uploaded to open databases. These results suggested that the virus may have been circulating in Italy during the late summer of 2019.


◆In May 2020, French medical journal the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents published an essay titled "SARS-CoV-2 was already spreading in France in late December 2019." The researchers selected 14 medical records of ICU patients admitted for influenza-like illness between Dec. 2, 2019 and Jan.16, 2020, performed COVID-19 PCR testing on the samples, and found that one sample taken from a 42-year-old male was positive. The absence of a link with China and the lack of recent foreign travel of the case suggested that the virus was already spreading in France in late December 2019. In addition, openly-available information showed that seroprevalence of neutralizing antibodies in France increased in mid-December 2019, while a throat swab of a French patient with hemoptysis from December 2019 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA.


◆In June 2020, the University of Barcelona in Spain said in a news release that researchers of the university's group on enteric virus detected the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in samples of waste water in Barcelona, collected on Jan. 15, 2020.


2. On the U.S. false claim of a possible virus leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Vicious slander 2: The COVID-19 outbreak may be directly linked to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Facts and truth: The COVID-19 outbreak has nothing to do with the WIV.

◆Wang Yanyi, director of the WIV, told CGTN in May 2020 and NBC in August that year in interviews that speculation of the virus leak from the WIV "is pure fabrication," and the WIV had never "encountered, researched or kept the virus."




◆In March 2021, the WIV issued a statement saying the institute had not been exposed to COVID-19 before Dec. 30, 2019.


◆Authorities in the international scientific community have repeatedly refuted the so-called "Wuhan lab leak theory."

In February 2021, at the press conference of the China-WHO joint expert team on origins tracing of the novel coronavirus, Peter Ben Embarek, leader of the international team of experts to Wuhan, said they had in-depth and candid exchanges with relevant Chinese personnel, took a detailed look at the management of the laboratory, its working practices and recent virus research, and concluded that a "lab leak" was "extremely unlikely".


◆Peter Daszak, a virologist and president of U.S.-based EcoHealth Alliance who has worked with the WIV for 15 years, said in an interview with CNN that the WIV did not have the virus that caused the COVID-19 outbreak, so it is impossible the virus originated from the laboratory.


U.S. media outlet Bloomberg reported in June 2021 that Australian virologist Danielle Anderson, who has worked in the WIV for months, was "dumbfounded by the portrayal of the lab by some media outside China, and the toxic attacks on scientists that have ensued."



In July 2021, 24 internationally-renowned scientists published an essay in The Lancet, noting there is no scientifically validated evidence directly supporting the theory that the virus could have leaked from a Chinese laboratory.

Also in July, scientists from the United States, Britain and Australia published a preprint paper on Zenodo, a European research data-sharing platform, pointing out that no evidence showed the virus originated from the Wuhan lab. It also said that there is no evidence that "any early cases had any connection to the Wuhan Institute of Virology," or that "the WIV possessed or worked on a progenitor of SARS-CoV-2 prior to the pandemic."

◆In August 2021, 21 virologists from the United States, Canada, Britain, China, Australia, and Austria published a paper in the Cell journal, concluding that "there is no evidence that any early cases had any connection to the WIV ... nor evidence that the WIV possessed or worked on a progenitor of SARS-CoV-2 prior to the pandemic." Coronaviruses are more likely to have spread from animal hosts to humans, the paper said, adding "the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 bears several signatures of these prior zoonotic events."

◆In September 2021, a study posted on Research Square, a preprint platform of British journal Nature, found that coronaviruses in rhinolophus bats in some caves in northern Laos share key similarities with SARS-CoV-2, suggesting that there are viruses closely related to SARS-CoV-2 in nature. The paper said researchers took samples from rhinolophus bats in some caves in northern Laos, and found in the samples three coronaviruses whose receptor-binding domain (RBD) are highly identical to that of SARS-CoV-2.

Researchers pointed out that the viruses named BANAL-52, BANAL-103 and BANAL-236 are more similar to SARS-CoV-2 than any known viruses. Among them, BANAL-236 has almost identical RBD as SARS-CoV-2.

Marc Eloit, an author of the paper and a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said the three coronaviruses may have contributed to the origin of SARS-CoV-2 and may intrinsically pose a future risk of direct transmission to humans.



◆In June 2021, an open letter written by former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Ford was published, which revealed how the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance (AVC) of the U.S. Department of State have cooked up the lab leak theory. According to this open letter, from December 2020 to early January 2021, under the direction of then U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Miles Maochun Yu, member of the U.S. State Department's policy planning staff, instructed Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas DiNanno in the AVC and adviser David Asher to bypass biological scientists and biological weapon experts to brief the false argument inside the Department that the coronavirus is a biological weapon agent deliberately unleashed upon the world by the Chinese government. After Ford sent several emails to remind DiNanno and Asher to establish an "expert vetting group or process" that would involve scientists, the AVC held a panel discussion in January this year, where the panelists pointed out key flaws in relevant documents. Ford later sent emails about the panel to a number of his senior State Department colleagues, saying that the assertions AVC had been making seemed to have major problems. Ford suspected it is because of this that the argument about biological weapon was not mentioned in the "Fact Sheet: Activity at the Wuhan Institute of Virology" issued on Jan. 15 by the high-level officials of the State Department. Instead, they put forward in the fact sheet the speculative argument of whether COVID-19 had originated at the laboratory. (more)

KEY WORDS: US,China,Origins Tracing