Story at a glance:
- Chinese state media published a video of Wuhan CDC scientists exploring a bat cave in 2019, even though the organization told the WHO it did not study bat viruses before the pandemic.
- Some experts say the Wuhan CDC was not properly protected from potential viruses.
- None of the Wuhan CDC researchers got COVID-19.
A video released by Chinese state media on Dec. 10, 2019, shows scientists from the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collecting samples of viruses from horseshoe and pipistrelle bats in caves around China's Hubei province. This was a few weeks before officials reported the first coronavirus cases in Wuhan, Insider reported.
But when the World Health Organization (WHO) was investigating the pandemic’s origins in January, the Wuhan CDC told them they hadn’t studied or stored coronavirus or other bat viruses prior to the pandemic. The seven-minute video documentary from December 2019 appears to cast doubt on those claims.
As Changing America previously reported, top U.S. infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci said he is “not convinced” the coronavirus developed naturally, saying that he supports a thorough investigation in China.
Tian Junhua, a Wuhan CDC researcher, presumably unaware of the existence of a deadly form of coronavirus, said in the video documentary, “Among all the known creatures, the bats are rich in various viruses inside. You can find most viruses responsible for human diseases like rabies, SARS, and Ebola."
"It is while discovering new viruses that we are most at risk of infection,” Junhua added.
In the Chinese-released video, it shows Wuhan CDC researchers handling the supposed samples of bat feces with masks and protective gear. However, an expert told Insider he felt the personal protective equipment used was “inadequate.”
Chinese scientist Botao Xiao wrote in a paper last year that the Wuhan CDC "hosted animals in laboratories for research purposes," including bats. Xiao said the Wuhan CDC researchers might have unwittingly made contact with the coronavirus. Xiao would later retract his paper, citing a lack of evidence.
When Insider asked microbiologist Richard Ebright of Rutgers University, he agreed with Xiao’s assessment, criticizing the Wuhan CDC lab staff’s "unsafe operational practices (bare skin on faces, bare skin on wrists, no goggles, no face shields)."
The Washington Post has reported that Tian had drips of blood from the bats on his skin and bat urine had splashed on him before.
Despite that criticism, the WHO said it is satisfied with Wuhan CDC safety precautions, and it is noted that none of its researchers became suddenly ill from their cave exploration. The WHO maintains that it is “extremely unlikely” that the coronavirus leaked from a Wuhan lab.
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