A WORRYING scientific report claims coronavirus is “uniquely adapted to infect humans” raising fears it may have been made in a Chinese lab.
A team of top researchers have now said those looking into the origins of the outbreak should probe allegations it “leaked” from a science hub in the city of Wuhan.
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Professor Nikolai Petrovsky, who headed the Australian team, said the virus was not typical of a normal animal-to-human infection as it had the “exceptional” ability to enter human bodies immediately.
And the expert said the “remote” possibility it may have somehow escaped from a testing lab could not be ruled out.
Petrovsky, a professor of medicine at Flinders University in Adelaide, runs a research unit which will start human trials for a vaccine next month.
He told The Mail on Sunday when a new virus crosses over from animals to humans it normally strengthens as it adapts to its new host.
However, for reasons which cannot yet be explained, the new coronavirus seems perfectly adapted to infect humans.
The Professor said the most closely related known viruses were studied at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“The implications may not be good for scientists or global politics, but just because the answers might cause problems, we can’t run away from them,’ he said.
“There is currently no evidence of a leak but enough circumstantial data to concern us. It remains a possibility until it is ruled out.”
And he said the lab should not be overlooked in the ongoing search for the origins of the outbreak.
He added: “This is either a remarkable coincidence or a sign of human intervention. It is possible the virus was a fluke event and it turns out humans were the perfect host.”
Richard Ebright, a top biosecurity expert, told the Mail on Sunday the odds of coronavirus naturally containing such unusual features were “possible – but improbable.”
The claims will spark fears the deadly virus was manufactured in a laboratory in order to penetrate human cells.
Today’s reports come after it was claimed analysis of mobile phone data showed the Wuhan lab shut down in October.
US and UK intelligence agencies were said to be examining the report, which adds weight to the theory the coronavirus accidentally escaped from the lab after jumping from bats to humans.
The data report, obtained by the NBC News in London, said there was no phone activity in a high-security portion of the Wuhan Institute of Virology from October 7 to October 24, 2019.
It indicates that there may have been a “hazardous event” sometime between October 6 and October 11.
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It offers no direct evidence of a shutdown, or any proof for the theory that the virus emerged accidentally from the lab.
If there was such a shutdown, it could be seen as evidence alluded to by Trump administration officials that the novel coronavirus spread from bats to humans at the lab.
However, the Wuhan lab lied about taking safety precautions when collecting bat samples, The Sun revealed
Shocking leaked photos – which reveal a scandalous lack of safety – were deleted from the website of under-fire science hub.
US and British intelligence officials suspect bungling scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology accidentally spread the killer disease during risky coronavirus tests on bats.
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It was claimed that Covid-19 was “developed in the Wuhan lab as China hoped to prove it’s greater than the US at battling deadly diseases”.
However, many scientists are sceptical of the lab links, arguing that the more likely explanation is that the virus was transmitted to humans through animals in a Wuhan live produce market.
And the World Health Organisation has said it believes the “wet” market played a role in the spread of the disease.
China has also denied claim the virus originated in the lab and has hit out at the US for spreading what it calls false news.