THE Wuhan Institute of Virology was given permission to engage in experimental research involving highly-pathogenic viruses just 10 days before the first recorded case of COVID-19.
A Sky News special investigation can reveal the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s level 3 laboratory, where Shi Zhengli is director, had just been given permission by the Chinese Government to conduct even risker experiments on November 7, 2019.
This was 10 days before the South China Morning Post cites the first recorded case of COVID-19 on November 17, and weeks before the outbreak of the pandemic.
The new level of research is confirmed in three documents, including a statement from the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which states:
“Wuhan National Biosafety (Level 3) laboratory was officially qualified for experimental activities, and has the ability and conditions to carry out experimental activities of highly pathogenic microorganisms”
A separate document from the Chinese Academy of Sciences states: “On November 7, 2019, the National Health Commission formally approved the Wuhan National Institute of Biological Safety (Level 3) Laboratory of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences to engage in experimental activities of highly pathogenic pathogenic microorganisms.
“The application has undergone data review and on-site evaluation and demonstration, and approved the activity qualification.”
Shi Zhengli is the vice-chairwoman of the level 4 laboratory as well as the director of the level 3 laboratory.
It is understood that most coronavirus research takes place in level 3 laboratories.
The order meant the laboratory could start to engage in more experimental activities with “highly pathogenic microorganisms” such as the “Ebola virus, Niba virus, Marburg virus, Lassa fever virus… the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Bacillus anthracis and the tick-borne encephalitis virus.”
Sky News is not suggesting that the laboratory is responsible in anyway for the outbreak.
It comes as the director of China’s Centre for Disease Control, Gao Fu, told Chinese state media that the wet market played a role in spreading the virus but it was not the origin of the outbreak.
“At first, we assumed the seafood market might have the virus, but now the market is more like a victim,” he told the Global Times.
He said samples collected from animals in the market in early January did not contain traces of the virus.
“The novel coronavirus had existed long before.”