A US-based scientist who formerly worked at a contentious research facility in Wuhan, China, has claimed that COVID-19 was a “man-made virus” that escaped from the establishment.
According to the New York Post, which cited a remark made by US-based researcher Andrew Huff in the British daily The Sun, COVID was released from Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), a state-funded and managed research centre, two years ago. Epidemiologist Huff argues that the epidemic was brought on by the US government’s support of coronaviruses in China in his most recent book, “The Truth About Wuhan.” Huff’s book excerpts have appeared in the UK tabloid The Sun.
Huff is a former vice president of the EcoHealth Alliance, a New York-based non-profit organisation that researches infectious illnesses, according to the New York Post article.
According to the New York Post, Huff asserts in his book that China’s gain-of-function studies were carried out with insufficient security, leading to a leak at the Wuhan lab.
With both Chinese government authorities and lab staff disputing that the virus originated there, the Wuhan facility has been the focus of contentious discussions on the origins of COVID.
“Foreign laboratories did not have the adequate control measures in place for ensuring proper biosafety, biosecurity, and risk management, ultimately resulting in the lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” Andrew Huff, said in his book.
The organisation has established tight relations with the Wuhan lab and has been researching several coronaviruses in bats for more than ten years with support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The NIH is the main US government organisation in charge of biological and public health research.
During his tenure with EcoHealth Alliance, which spanned 2014 to 2016, Huff said that the organisation helped the Wuhan lab for years to build the “best existing methods to engineer bat coronaviruses to attack other species”
“China knew from day one that this was a genetically engineered agent,” Huff wrote. ”
The transfer of risky biotechnology to China is the responsibility of the US government. “I was terrified by what I saw,” he told The Sun, as per New York Post. “We were just handing them bioweapon technology.”
The Post also notes that the WIV is where China’s riskiest coronavirus research is conducted, per a recent investigation by ProPublica/Vanity Fair. The Chinese Communist Party, which is in power, has put great pressure on this research organisation to advance science despite its limited funding in order to boost its stature internationally.