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Chinese virologist makes debunked claim that COVID-19 was made in Wuhan lab

Chinese virologist makes debunked claim that COVID-19 was made in Wuhan lab

Chinese virologist makes debunked claim that COVID-19 was made in Wuhan lab
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By CNBCTV18.com Oct 12, 2020 3:09 PM IST (Updated)

Dr Li-Meng Yan, a Chinese virologist has claimed that the new coronavirus was created in a government-controlled laboratory in Wuhan

Dr Li-Meng Yan, a Chinese virologist has made a now-debunked claim that the new coronavirus was created in a government-controlled laboratory in Wuhan, according to a news report on Hindustan Times.

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The virologist vowed to publish proof that supports her allegations, the report said. During her task of looking into a cluster of Sars-like cases coming from parts of China, she claimed to have unraveled a "cover-up operation" and added that the Chinese government knew about the spread of the virus in advance.
Specialising in virology and immunology at the Hong Kong School of Public Health, Dr Li-Meng said she had to flee to the United States over concerns for her safety concerns, the HT report said.
In an interview on the British talk show “Loose Women” Dr Li-Meng said: "The genome sequence is like our human fingerprint. So, based on this you can recognise and identify this thing. So, I used the evidence existing in the genome sequence of Sars-CoV-2 to tell people why this came from China, why they are the only one who made it,” according to the HT report.
In her research and findings, the virologist claimed: "There are two reports, the first one will come in several days and it will tell people about the scientific evidence. Anyone, even those without any knowledge of biology, can read it."
Dr Li-Meng had also stated that she was given threats to “maintain silence or else she would be made to disappear”.
However, health news fact-checking website debunked the claims made by Dr Li-Meng.
"The genetic features of SARS-CoV-2 are common in other coronaviruses that occur in nature and have animal reservoirs. Therefore, these features do not prove in any way that the virus was constructed in a laboratory or genetically modified," the website said.
The fact checker added Dr Li-Meng did not provide evidence to support her claim that the virus causing COVID-19 was created in a lab.
"The pre-print “cherry-picks” data and overlooks alternative hypotheses about the virus evolving in nature. Contrary to the claim, the most likely scenario is that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was transferred to humans from bats or other animal reservoirs, similar to how other viruses were transferred to humans like the SARS-CoV-1 virus (a coronavirus closely related to SARS-CoV-2) and Ebola," it said.
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