The British spies are now reportedly investigating the theory of a possible leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.(Reuters)
The British spies are now reportedly investigating the theory of a possible leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.(Reuters)

British spies believe Wuhan Covid lab leak theory is ‘feasible’: Report

  • The hypothesis of the introduction of Covid-19 through a laboratory incident had gained a lot of traction in the early days of the pandemic but was largely dismissed as a conspiracy theory.
By hindustantimes.com | Written by Kunal Gaurav | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAY 30, 2021 05:27 PM IST

The controversy around the possible leak of the Sars-CoV-2 virus from the Chinese city of Wuhan has received another boost. According to a Sunday Times report, British intelligence officials believe it is “feasible” that the pandemic began after a virus leak from a Wuhan laboratory. The British spies are now investigating the theory of a possible leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, according to the report.

Quoting people familiar with the development, the British daily said that a recent reassessment of the possible source of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has prompted UK intelligence to investigate the lab leak theory. Sharing renewed concerns over virus origin, American diplomatic sources said that the world is “one wet market or bio lab away from the next spillover”, reported The Sunday Times.

The hypothesis of the introduction of Sars-CoV-2 through a laboratory incident had gained a lot of traction in the early days of the pandemic but was largely dismissed as a conspiracy theory. A global study, convened by the World Health Organization (WHO), also deemed it “extremely unlikely” after international experts visited Wuhan in January this year.

Also Read | Covid-19 has no ‘credible natural ancestor’, created in Wuhan lab, new study claims

But a recent remark by top US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci on virus origin possibilities took the world by surprise, which was followed by a demand for a new “transparent” investigation. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a virtual event that he was not convinced with the theory that the virus “developed naturally.”

"Certainly, the people who investigated it say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but it could have been something else, and we need to find that out. So, you know, that’s the reason why I said I’m perfectly in favour of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus," he said.

According to a Daily Mail report, a study has found that the Sars-CoV-2 has no ‘credible natural ancestor’ and was created by Chinese scientists while working on ‘gain-of-function’ research. The study, which is set to be published in the Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery, claimed that the Chinese scientist also tried to cover their tracks by reverse-engineering the viruses to make it look like they naturally arose from bats, reported Daily Mail.

“I think it’s really important that the WHO is allowed to conduct its investigation unencumbered into the origins of this pandemic and that we should leave no stone unturned to understand why,” UK vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News on Sunday.

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