Meet the Chinese Virologist Who Claims to Have Proof that Coronavirus Came from a Wuhan Lab


Meet the Chinese Virologist Who Claims to Have Proof that Coronavirus Came from a Wuhan Lab

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Six months after the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, there have been multiple theories floating around its origin. While the popular belief remains that the virus first came from an animal (possibly a bat), and spread through Wuhan’s wet market, a few others have held that there was something more sinister at play.

A scientist in China has now fuelled this speculation after making the stunning claim in an interview that the coronavirus was created in a government laboratory in Wuhan. The former virologist, Dr Li-Meng, even offered to provide evidence of this claim in conversation with UK’s ITV channel.

In a segment called “Loose Women”, Dr Li-Meng said that the virus was highly mutated, and “not from nature”. She also adds that the belief that it originated from China’s infamous seafood market was a smokescreen to divert attention.

The scientist and whistleblower said she first stumbled on this discovery in December 2019, when she was tasked with looking into a number of SARS-like viruses reported from mainland China. It was during her investigations that she discovered a cover-up operation, and came to the conclusion that the Chinese government knew about the spread of the novel virus much before it publicly acknowledged it.

Dr Li-Meng told the channel that she conducted two research experiments on the “new pneumonia” between December and January, results of which she shared with her supervisor, a World Health Organisation consultant. She went on to add that she expected her supervisor to do the “right thing” but was instead informed that she should “maintain silence or she would be made to disappear.”

The doctor, who specialised in virology and immunology at a health institute in Hong Kong, subsequently fled to America over safety concerns.

This isn’t the first time Dr Li-Meng has decided to speak out since, however. In January, she spoke with a Chinese YouTuber in the US, with whom she shared similar revelations, including that human-to-human transmission already existed, that the Chinese government was covering up reports, and that the wet markets were just a smokescreen.

“This virus is not from nature. This is based on the China Military Institute that discovered and owned some bad coronavirus named CC45 and ZXC41. Based on that, after lab modification becomes a novel virus,” she was quoted as saying to the YouTuber.

And she isn’t the only one to have made this claim. Back in April, a French Nobel prize winning scientist Luc Montagnier had raised similar concerns, only to face widespread condemnation from his peers and colleagues.

Dr Li-Meng has said now that she will work with a group of top scientists to publish her findings. “There are two reports, the first one will come in several days and it will tell people about the scientific evidence,” she said, adding that these findings would be accessible to those even without a background in biology.

This study, when released, is likely to have some large-scale geopolitical implications, considering the source of the virus still hasn’t been officially determined. It will also validate a number of conspiracy theorists who will no doubt jump at the opportunity to say, “I told you so”.