Chinese public health authorities cracked the genetic code of the Covid virus five days before the rest of the world learned of the disease, according to a leading British scientist.
The revelation, confirmed by independent researchers, exposes the scale of Beijing’s cover-up of the Wuhan outbreak, which experts fear has inflamed the spread of the pandemic with disastrous consequences.
The genome sequence, vital for the development of diagnostic tests and vaccines, was finally shared with the rest of the world more than two weeks later by a Chinese scientist who defied the government in Beijing, by which time the sequence had been assembled by several of the country’s private and private companies. public laboratories.
“As more information about the early stages of the pandemic emerges, we are seeing a disturbing pattern of efforts to hide critical information,” said Bryce Nickels, co-founder of campaign group Biosafety Now.
The genetics professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey added that the attempts to manipulate public opinion began in China, but later echoed in the US and other Western countries.
The genome sequence, vital for the development of diagnostic tests and vaccines, was finally shared with the rest of the world more than two weeks after a Chinese scientist deciphered it in defiance of the Beijing government. Pictured: Engineer testing experimental vaccine
At that time it was shared that the sequence had been assembled by several of the country’s public and private laboratories. Pictured: People line up for a coronavirus PCR test, in Shanghai, China, in 2022.
The revelation came in private messages exchanged by four scientists in Australia, Britain and the US as they wrote a controversial journal article that played a central role in the sweeping debate over the possible source of a lab leak.
Their ‘super secret’ discussions of the Slack messaging system stemmed from a US Congressional investigation into the ‘Proximal Origins’ statement in Nature Medicine, which the journal’s editor says should stop ‘conspiracy theories’ .
The landmark article stated unequivocally that the scientists “do not believe that any kind of laboratory-based scenario is plausible,” though the posts reveal their fears that covid could have come from a laboratory even after publication.
Pictured: Journalist Ian Birrell, who has led the way in reporting falsehoods about the source of the Covid virus
Eddie Holmes, a virologist at the University of Sydney and a visiting professor at China’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) when the pandemic began, admitted that Beijing was “definitely trying to rewrite what happened” and “suppress the escape theory.” from the lab.”
He told his fellow authors: ‘The CDC had a genome sequence on December 26 (2019). They told people that it would not pass between humans. Endless cover-ups.
He added a warning: “Don’t be fooled by George Gao,” a reference to the head of the Oxford-educated Chinese body that oversees its response to public health emergencies. Although people had been getting sick in Wuhan since November 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) only learned of the outbreak of a deadly new respiratory disease on December 31.
China did not provide the crucial confirmation of human transmission for another three weeks, even denying it to the WHO in mid-January, despite doctors in Wuhan warning of contagion and taking strict preventive measures with sick patients. One study suggested that if China had responded adequately by the end of December, the number of cases around the world could have been reduced by 95 percent.
Instead, Beijing clamped down on officials who shared their data and silenced doctors who reported wrongdoing.
Gao, who retired last year, told Chinese state media that the genetic sequences were released as soon as possible. However, the first ones were obtained on December 26 with a sample taken from an infected delivery man who was sent to a start-up diagnostic center in Guangzhou, southern China.
Experts fear that Beijing’s cover-up of the Wuhan outbreak intensified the spread of the pandemic with disastrous consequences. Pictured: People queue for Covid tests in Macau, China in 2022
Beijing clamped down on officials sharing their data and silenced complaining doctors. Pictured: Security personnel in protective suits stand at the gate of a residential complex that is closed as the Covid outbreaks continue in Beijing on 22
The company obtained a full set of data the next day and, alarmed by the likely discovery of a deadly new coronavirus, alerted the CDC, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and hospital directors in Wuhan.
One researcher wrote a blog that briefly appeared online detailing how her fearsome company cleaned up its facility, then sent its bosses to Wuhan to reinforce the importance of its findings.
“Everything was under intense, confidential and rigorous investigation,” he wrote. “At that time, the people at the hospital and the CDC already knew that there were many similar patients, and after we told them about the test results, emergency treatment was started.”
Zhang Dingyu, director of Jinyintan Hospital, a center for infectious diseases, told a Chinese journalist that they had brought the sequence to the Wuhan Institute of Virology the same day for “comparison”, saying they thought it looked like a “bat-like coronavirus”. to Sars”. origin’.
Several other labs quickly followed suit by sequencing the genome, including one in Shanghai run by Zhang Yongzhen, a virologist who worked with Holmes and scientists in Wuhan. But everyone was prohibited from sharing results.
Finally, Holmes published the genome in a special forum on January 10, starting the race to develop treatments and vaccines.
Gao told fellow scientists that his organization did not generate a genome until January 3. If the China CDC had sequenced the virus first, they would have said so because it would have been a big feather in their cap,” Holmes said.
Gilles Demaneuf, a member of the Drastic team of independent researchers who completed a comprehensive report on the early days of the outbreak, confirmed the events after the initial genome sequencing on December 26.
“Jinyintan Hospital reviewed the almost complete sequence with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which confirmed the risk of human-to-human transmission,” he said. “By December 28, all the key players knew exactly what they were up against.”