WORLD China urges probe into US bio-lab over coronavirus 'lab-leak' theory

WORLD

China urges probe into US bio-lab over coronavirus 'lab-leak' theory

Xinhua

08:12, August 24, 2021

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Monday urged the United States to stop levelling unwarranted accusations against other countries concerning coronavirus origins tracing and conduct investigations on its own laboratories.

A soldier guards outside the Fort Detrick. (Photo: AFP)

Wang made the remarks at a daily press briefing in response to continuous media focus on the bio-lab in the University of North Carolina (UNC) and Ralph Baric for the former's poor safety record and the latter's techniques in artificial synthesis of coronavirus.

For quite some time, Wang said, the United States has been persistently hyping up the so-called "Wuhan Institute of Virology lab leak theory" in disregard of the conclusion in the WHO-China study report that "a laboratory origin of the pandemic was considered to be extremely unlikely." It has gone so far as to ask the intelligence community to fabricate a so-called report on origins investigation.

"However, the United States can not whitewash itself by smearing China. The United States keeps alleging that the virus came from a lab leak, but actually, no one merits a proper investigation more than the United States," Wang said.

The United States was the first to start research in recombinant virus and possesses unrivalled strength in this area. It has also funded and conducted more research in coronaviruses than any other country, he said, citing research conducted and interviews given by Baric.

"An investigation into Baric's team and lab is all it takes to clarify whether coronavirus research can create or has created novel coronavirus," Wang said.

He also said the United States has the world's worst bio-lab safety records, citing reports of lab incidents involving genetically engineered organisms by the University of North Carolina, and the fact key details like the nature of the genetic modifications and how the incidents were handled were deliberately deleted from incident reports.

Baric collaborates closely with the two institutes involved in research on high-risk viruses and coronaviruses at Fort Detrick, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), and the Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick (IRF-Frederick), he added.

Wang said the United States has been going to great lengths to try to prove that the novel coronavirus was leaked from the Wuhan lab. However, WHO experts have paid two visits there and concluded that a lab leak from a Wuhan lab is extremely unlikely.

"I wonder when the United States plans to invite WHO experts to investigate the UNC bio-lab and USAMRIID? We suggest that the United States stop slinging mud at others and instead find out what happened in its own labs first," said the spokesperson.

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