Wuhan virology institute had three live bat coronaviruses: Chinese state media

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: May 24, 2020, 02.20 PM(IST)

Coronavirus through bats Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Wang said in the interview that before it received samples in December, their team had never "encountered, researched or kept the virus." 

The director of Chinese virology institute of Wuhan has said that three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site but none of them match with the novel coronavirus that has wrecked chaos in the world. 

According to scientists around the world, coronavirus was originated in bats and had emerged from Wuhan. 

But the director of the Wuhan lab called Donald Trump's claim that the virus was leaked from the facility a  "pure fabrication".

In an interview that was conducted  on May 13 was aired on Saturday where Wang Yanyi said that the centre has  "isolated and obtained some coronaviruses from bats."

"Now we have three strains of live viruses... But their highest similarity to SARS-CoV-2 only reaches 79.8 per cent," she said, referring to the coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19.

The research teams, led by Professor Shi Zhengli, has been researching bat coronaviruses since 2004 and directed on the "source tracing of SARS", the strain behind another virus outbreak nearly two decades ago.

"We know that the whole genome of SARS-CoV-2 is only 80 per cent similar to that of SARS. It's an obvious difference," she said. 

"So, in Professor Shi's past research, they didn't pay attention to such viruses which are less similar to the SARS virus."

The lab had said that they received samples on December 30, determined the viral genome sequence on January 2 and submitted information on the pathogen to the WHO on January 11.

Wang said in the interview that before it received samples in December, their team had never "encountered, researched or kept the virus." 

"In fact, like everyone else, we didn't even know the virus existed," she said. "How could it have leaked from our lab when we never had it?"
The World Health Organization said Washington had offered no evidence to support the "speculative" claims.

(Inputs from AFP)

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