The director of the controversial research lab in Wuhan, China – widely accepted as the location where the coronavirus currently spreading around the world originated from – has now denied responsibility for the outbreak, according to the New York Post.
Yuan Zhiming, director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, told state media that “there’s no way this virus came from us,” while admitting that his lab was studying “different areas related to the coronavirus.”
His denial comes in the face of widespread reports that the virus was originally an experiment of the WIV, but escaped from the facility by accident, possibly due to a breach of safety protocol, and subsequently infected the nearby wet market, which began the global spread.
Zhiming claimed that such reports are “deliberately trying to mislead people.” However, the WIV has a history of inadequate safety measures that were even criticized by officials in the past; in March 2018, a group of “science diplomats” sent to the institute on behalf of the United States ultimately reported that the lab was not doing enough to protect against the specimens contained within. One communication even explicitly declared that the experimenting going on in the lab, if it were to break free, would constitute “a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic.”