By Wan Yu, People’s Daily
It has become a general consensus among scientists and scholars that the novel coronavirus originated naturally, and scientific evidence has already disproven the “lab leak” theory, stressed a professor of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, where it has been claimed that the virus might have escaped from.
Yuan Zhiming, also director of the National Biosafety Laboratory (NBL) at the WIV, made the remarks at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office of China on July 22, in response to a question on the COVID-19 origins asked by a reporter who cited an article published by some scientists on the peer-reviewed academic journal Science in May, in which they pointed out that it is necessary to consider the possibilities that the virus either arose naturally or escaped from a lab.
On July 5 this year, 24 world-renowned experts once again published a paper in The Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal, in which they stressed that there is no scientific evidence to support the theory that the novel coronavirus leaked from a Chinese lab, Yuan noted.
Later on July 7, experts from the U.S., the U.K, and Australia published a preprint of their findings on Zenodo, a European platform for scientific data sharing, pointing out that there is no evidence that the virus came from a Wuhan lab, the early cases were connected to the WIV in any way, or that the WIV had or studied ancestors of the COVID-19 before the outbreak of the pandemic.
Just a few days ago, 22 Chinese and foreign scientists published an article in a Chinese academic journal Science China, in which they demonstrated convincingly why the virus could only have evolved naturally and couldn’t be man-made with classical evolutionary theory and methods and refuted the “lab leak” conspiracy theory with scientific evidence.
The NBL, a P4 or biosafety level-4 (the highest level) lab, is as good as any other P4 labs in operation in the world in terms of hardware facilities, management, team composition and working protocols, Yuan said.
Since it was officially put into operation in 2018, the NBL has not had any incident of leakage or staff infection, according to Yuan.
Designed, constructed and operated according to international requirements and the national standards of China, the NBL has not only been equipped with stable and reliable biosafety protection facilities, but established a complete biosafety management system and a professional team to support, manage and maintain its operation.