Chinese lab released Coronavirus by accident: ex MI6 chief

An ex British spymaster has claimed that the coronavirus was leaked by a Chinese lab into the world accidentally. He cited a research paper, which he said was heavily edited, concluding the same. This is the latest allegation by the Western world on China, as they turn the heat up on China's handling of the coronavirus.

Chinese lab released Coronavirus

A new peer-reviewed study shows that the Covid-19 outbreak started as a faulty experiment in China, the ex-head of MI6 says. The paper he cited was reportedly “watered down” to remove accusations against Beijing. This is the latest in a slew of allegations by Western nations against China, who claim that the coronavirus was a biological weapon being developed by China in a laboratory near Wuhan.

“I do think that this started as an accident,” Sir Richard Dearlove, who led Britain’s top spy agency, MI6, from 1999 until 2004, told the Telegraph’s Planet Normal podcast.

It raises the issue, if China ever were to admit responsibility, does it pay reparations? I think it will make every country in the world rethink how it treats its relationship with China and how the international community behaves towards the Chinese leadership.

Chinese lab released Coronavirus ‘accidentally’

Dearlove suggested that the virus was not released deliberately, but rather accidentally leaked when Chinese scientists were experimenting on bat coronaviruses. To back up his claims, he cited a recently-published peer-reviewed study by a British-Norwegian team which claimed to have found “inserted sections placed on the SARS-CoV-2 Spike surface” that allow the virus to come into contact with human cells.

Read more: Was Coronavirus engineered in lab?

The ex-MI6 chief told the Telegraph that the study was rewritten several times. The research paper originally said that the novel coronavirus should be called the “Wuhan virus” – the name of the Chinese city where it was first recorded – and claimed to have proven that the virus was “engineered,” the newspaper reported, citing an earlier draft of the study.

The Telegraph also said that researchers from the Francis Crick Institute and Imperial College London rejected the study’s conclusions, while “leading academic journals” such as Nature and the Journal of Virology found the study unsuitable for publication.

The report says that one of the study’s original authors had withdrawn his name from the research before the paper was “watered down” to remove any explicit allegations against Beijing. However, intelligence officials reportedly looked through its findings before publication.

Since the first weeks of the Covid-19 outbreak, media reports and some Western politicians have alleged that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may have originated from a high-profile virology lab in Wuhan. US officials have been particularly keen on blaming China, with President Donald Trump saying that the country must compensate for the damages caused by the outbreak.

Beijing has repeatedly denied these claims.

Trump also believes that the Coronavirus originated from a Chinese lab

Earlier, US President Donald Trump had said that the US is looking into reports that the novel coronavirus “escaped” from a virology laboratory in China’s Wuhan city.

The US had announced that it has been conducting a full-scale investigation into whether the deadly virus “escaped” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The pandemic has killed 150,000 people globally with most deaths in United States.

Read more: Virus may have escaped from Wuhan Lab, says President US

Nestled in the hilly outskirts of Wuhan, the city at the heart of the coronavirus crisis, a Chinese high-security biosafety laboratory is now the subject of the US claims it may be the cradle of the pandemic.

Chinese scientists have said the virus likely jumped from an animal to humans in a market that sold wildlife in Wuhan, but the existence of the lab has fuelled conspiracy theories that the germ spread from the facility.

The United States has now brought the allegations into the mainstream, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying US officials are doing a “full investigation” into how the virus “got out into the world”.

In late April, the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence stated that the virus “was not manmade or genetically modified.” Likewise, intelligence sources told the Guardian last month that there is no evidence that the coronavirus was released from a Chinese lab, or that a possible leak could have caused the pandemic.

Coronavirus: the damage so far

As of today, the global number of people infected by the Novel Coronavirus and suffering from the associated diseases COVID-19 has crossed 6.29 million. There have been 380,000 deaths associated with the disease.

COVID-19 associated lockdowns have caused a slowdown in the international economy, with experts saying that it will shrink by as much as 6% this year. Estimates of its recovery do not show it recovering before 2022.

RT with additional input by GVS News Desk

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