Devastating coronavirus pandemic linked to deaths in China EIGHT years ago

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The outbreak has crippled countries across the world and at the time of writing, has led to over 533,000 deaths, with over 11 million infections. The epicentre of COVID-19 has long been debated with many stating it originated in Wuhan. However, new evidence has alleged a relative of the virus originated in southern China in 2012 despite Beijing’s claims.

According to the evidence seen by The Sunday Times, scientists identified a deadly new virus in 2013 which is the closest known match to COVID-19.

A small team of scientists discovered the virus strain located in bat droppings in a copper mine in the Yunnan province, in the south of the country after six miners contracted severe pneumonia in 2012. 

Three of the miners who had operated in the cave all died after suffering from pneumonia with doctors concluding they had antibodies against a yet unknown Sars-like coronavirus.

Researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) later researched the virus strain and with a team of local scientists from the caves, classified the new strain as RaBtCOV/4991.

Led by Shi Zhengli, a leading expert in China, the scientists penned a paper entitled “Coexistence of multiple coronaviruses in several bat colonies in an abandoned mineshaft” in 2016.

Crucially, however, the paper did not mention the deaths of three miners, why the report was conducted or their pneumonia.

In 2018, Shi’s team and their research was then investigated by officials from the US embassy in Beijing.

The US officials travelled to the Wuhan institute, which was certified as biosafety level 4, the highest level of safety which can be given.

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Leaked documents in the Washington Post, said: “The researchers also showed that various Sars-like coronaviruses can interact with ACE2, the human receptor identified for Sars-coronavirus.

“This finding strongly suggests that Sars-like coronaviruses from bats can be transmitted to humans to cause Sars-like diseases.

“During interactions with scientists at the WIV laboratory, they noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory.”

The World Health Organisation is set to send a team of officials on a scoping mission in order to evaluate the cause of the virus.


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Director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the WHO said: “Knowing the source of the virus is very, very important.

“We can fight the virus better when we know everything about the virus, including how it started.”

Donald Trump has even accused Beijing of a cover-up – and the nation has faced allegations of not acting quick enough to stop the spread of coronavirus.

China has repeatedly denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

However, Professor Richard Ebright, of Rutgers University’s Waksman Institute of Microbiology in New Jersey, believes it is now unlikely Beijing will allow a transparent investigation.

He said: “It’s unfortunate.

“And that largely reflects the poor handling of the matter by the US President, who chose to push this in a way that made it unlikely that there could be an open investigation.”

It comes as one of China’s top researchers, Wang Guangfa has insisted the WHO should also go to Spain when trying to establish the cause of the outbreak.

The senior Chinese official referenced researchers in Barcelona who stated they’d detected COVID-19 in ‘wastewater’ in March last year.

Chief of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Zeng Guang also said: “It does not matter which country the scientific identification work starts with, as long as it involves all related countries and is fairly conducted.”

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