Lab leak theory a ‘lie’ cooked up by anti-China forces: FM
Published: Jun 10, 2022 07:33 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The lab leak theory on COVID-19 origins is a 'lie' cooked up by anti-China forces for political purposes which is not scientific at all, and the World Health Organization's (WHO) virus origins team should first investigate highly suspicious labs in Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina in the US, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, after a new COVID-19 origins report released by a team of international scientists under the WHO suggested assessing the possibility of a lab incident. 

Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at Friday's media briefing that China always supports and participates in global scientific tracing of the coronavirus pandemic, but firmly opposes any form of political manipulation. 

China has twice hosted international experts from the WHO to carry out cooperation on virus origins tracing in China, producing an authoritative joint research report and laying a solid foundation for global work on virus origins investigation, Zhao said, noting that since the WHO formed the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO), China has nominated an expert to join the group and has organized experts to share research results with the group.

China is the only country that has invited the WHO international expert team to track the origins, and the only country that has organized experts to share the progress of the tracing with the advisory group on many occasions, Zhao said. 

WHO. Photo: VCG

WHO. Photo: VCG

The joint report released after the WHO experts visited labs in Wuhan has clearly stated that the possibility of a lab leak theory was extremely unlikely.  

Zhao stressed that if SAGO called for an investigation of biological labs around the world where early cases occurred, the next step should be to investigate highly suspicious labs in the US including in Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina. 

SAGO, a 27-member body convened by the WHO last year, released a preliminary report on the coronavirus pandemic origins on Thursday, recommending assessing the possibility of the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 to the human population through a breach in biosafety and biosecurity measures through a laboratory incident.

The report said additional investigations should be carried out with the staff of labs in Wuhan and potentially with labs located worldwide where early COVID-19 cases had been retrospectively detected before 2020. 

However, the report mentioned that three members of SAGO, including Chinese member professor Yang Yungui, did not agree with the inclusion of further studies evaluating the possibility of laboratory incident due to the fact that from their viewpoint, there is no new scientific evidence to question the conclusion of the WHO-convened global study of origins of SARS-CoV-2: China Part mission report published in March 2021.

Chinese observers told the Global Times previously that the form of SAGO has been doubted by some as international scientists have bended to political manipulation before in tracing the virus origins and even the WHO came under great pressure from its benefactors who want to have a say in this purely scientific matter. As a result, the authority has decided to put the "hot potato"on SAGO. The WHO and its members should act carefully with this SAGO and not let it fall prey to political manipulation, observers warned.

Zhao said that the SAGO and WHO should also pay attention to possible risks of emerging infectious diseases and pandemics in the future, and the WHO must take action as soon as possible on monkeypox and the unexplained hepatitis for children in the US and UK. 

He said the SAGO should adhere to an objective and impartial stance to make its due contribution to global scientific research and solidarity in the battle against COVID-19. 

Global Times