Emails Further Support Wuhan Lab Leak Theory

( )- Recently obtained emails between EcoHealth Alliance and government funders could lend even more credence to the COVID lab-leak theory.

In September, researchers in Laos discovered a viral strain called Banal-52 which shares 96.8% of its genome with Sars-CoV-2. This initially led credence to the natural origin theory of COVID-19 rather than a lab leak. But it begged the question, how did a bat-borne virus from Laos end up igniting an outbreak over a thousand miles away in Wuhan, China?

The answer to that question may be in these emails.

According to the emails obtained through a FOIA request from the White Coat Waste Project, scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were studying viral samples obtained from high-risk bat species in Laos – the country where the closest relative to the COVID-19 virus has been found.

The emails suggest that viral DNA from “high-risk species” including bats were being shipped to the Wuhan lab from June 2017 through May 2019.

Before Banal-52 was found, the closest virus to COVID-19 was discovered in cave bats in Yunnan, China where EcoHealth Alliance was looking for viruses and sending the samples to the Wuhan lab. The genetic sequences for both the Yunnan virus and the virus from Laos were kept in an online database at the Wuhan Institute until September 2019 when the data was removed.

From the FOIA emails, the White Coat Waste Project determined that EcoHealth Alliance asked the US government for permission to allocate grant money to a Laotian lab so they could send their samples to Wuhan to be analyzed.

Advocates of the lab leak theory believe these emails which provide the direct link between Laos and Wuhan make their theory more plausible.

According to Gilles Demaneuf, a researcher and member of DRASTIC, either a Wuhan bat sampler was infected while out collecting samples, or there was some kind of accident in the lab as researchers were manipulating the Laos Banal-52 virus.

Documents leaked to DRASTIC earlier this year showed scientists were hoping to introduce “human-specific cleavage sites” to bat coronaviruses to make it easier for the virus to enter human cells.

Part of the plan was to take sequences from naturally-occurring coronaviruses and use them to create a new sequence that was an average of all the strains.

Genetics experts have long maintained that if COVID-19 had been produced using this method, it would explain why no close match has ever been found in nature.