New evidence has emerged that the coronavirus ravaging the globe may have escaped from a poorly equipped lab in Wuhan, China, where researchers were conducting risky viral disease experiments in the years leading up to the pandemic.
In March 2018, the US dispatched science diplomats to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, who issued two “sensitive” diplomatic cables about inadequate safety measures at the lab, the W ashington Post reported, citing intelligence sources.
The first cable warned the experiments conducted in the lab on coronavirus in bats “represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic,” according to the report.
The cable, written by two US-China embassy officials, said there is a “serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory,” the New York Post reported.
The Wuhan lab was receiving aid from US organisations, including a laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch, but the cable suggested the US should provide additional support because the research was so dangerous.
The cables were meant to “sound the alarm” about safety conditions in the lab — and the embassy officials were calling for more support of the lab to help fix its problems, sources said.
There’s no evidence to suggest the coronavirus currently cutting its way across the globe was engineered in a lab — but that does not exclude the possibility it escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology or another similar laboratory miles away in the Chinese city.
President Trump said the US was investigating the origins.
“More and more we’re hearing the story … we are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation,” he said.