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The United States Department of State has released a fact sheet of the activity at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The COVID-19 pandemic which saw its first outbreak in a wet market in Wuhan, China last year has now spread all across the world. However the origin of the virus is not yet clear.

In the factsheet, US claims to have evidence that several researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick in autumn of 2019, before the first identified case of the coronavirus outbreak, with symptoms consistent with the both COVID-19 and common seasonal illness. US maintain its claims that the virus may have escaped the controversial Wuhan lab.

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According to the factsheet , the department says that the virus could have emerged from human contact with infected animals or through a laboratory accident. The report says, “Scientists in China have researched animal-derived coronaviruses under conditions that increased the risk for accidental and potentially unwitting exposure”.

US released the fact sheets as 13 international experts of the World Health Organisation (WHO) arrived in China to probe the origin of the coronavirus.

Major claims

The fact sheet highlights three major elements about the COVID-19 virus- illness inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology(WIV), Research at the WIV and Secret military activity at WIV.

The factsheet claim that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in 2019 before the first outbreak was reported. This raises the questions about the credibility of WIV senior researcher Shi Zhengli’s public claim that there was “zero infection”among the WIV’s staff and students of SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-related viruses, the report says. It also mentioned about how accidental infections in Chinese labs have contributed to previous virus outbreak.

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The US also claimed the involvement of Chinese military in secret military experiments in Wuhan lab since 2017.The report says, “The WIV has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017″. It added, “The United States and other donors who funded or collaborated on civilian research at the WIV have a right and obligation to determine whether any of our research funding was diverted to secret Chinese military projects at the WIV”.

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The US asserted that the WHO investigators must have access to the records of the WIV’s work on bat and other coronaviruses before the coronavirus outbreak.

“As part of a thorough inquiry, they must have a full accounting of why the WIV altered and then removed online records of its work with RaTG13 and other viruses,” the US fact sheet said.