Wall Street Journal report reveals that three scientists from the secretive lab in Wuhan got sick before the pandemic, fueling speculation the coronavirus may have originated there.
By World Israel News Staff
Three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became so sick in November 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, that they were treated in a hospital, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The information came in a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report obtained by the newspaper, adding to previous speculation that the COVID-19 virus that sparked the worldwide coronavirus pandemic may have escaped from the laboratory located in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the apparent original epicenter of infection.
Although a fact sheet released in the final days of the Trump administration claimed that several researchers at the lab became sick in late 2019 “with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness,” the new information confirmed that three scientists were hospitalized a month before China reported the first cases of the virus.
The exposure of the information in the report comes as the World Health Organization prepares to discuss the next stage in the investigation of the pandemic’s origins.
Although the coronavirus vaccines have helped Israel get the pandemic under control locally, the virus is still ravaging many countries in the world, such as India, where there have been almost 27 million confirmed cases and 303,720 deaths, as reported Monday by John Hopkins University.
Worldwide, there have been 167 million confirmed cases and 3.5 million deaths attributed to the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic.
The newly disclosed report provided additional details on the number of researchers affected, including when they got sick and their hospital visits.
“The information that we had coming from the various sources was of exquisite quality. It was very precise. What it didn’t tell you was exactly why they got sick,” an intelligence source told the Journal, which noted that another source cautioned that the report needed “further investigation and additional corroboration.”
The fact that scientists from the virus laboratory became ill in the same city where the first cases of the coronavirus were reported has given a boost to speculation that the outbreak and the lab might be linked. Chinese scientists and officials have consistently denied that the virus was a result of a leak from the research lab.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, rejected the claim that three researchers at the lab had been sick with the virus symptoms, calling the allegations “completely untrue.”
“The United States continues to hype up the lab leak theory,” Lijian said in comments reported by Reuters. “Does it care about traceability, or is it just trying to distract attention?”
World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told Reuters that further investigation was needed into both the lab leak hypothesis and theories that the virus originated at animal markets in Wuhan.