Three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) — China’s only Biosafety level-4 laboratory — were hospitalized in November 2019 with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report.
“The details of the reporting go beyond a State Department fact sheet, issued during the final days of the Trump administration, which said that several researchers at the lab, a center for the study of coronaviruses and other pathogens, became sick in autumn 2019 ‘with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness,'” The Wall Street Journal reported. “The disclosure of the number of researchers, the timing of their illnesses and their hospital visits come on the eve of a meeting of the World Health Organization’s decision-making body, which is expected to discuss the next phase of an investigation into Covid-19’s origins.”
Communist China claims that the first confirmed case of the coronavirus came on December 8, 2019. Chinese officials have repeatedly tried to dismiss accusations that the pandemic could have originated in the Wuhan lab, which is where Chinese researchers worked on bat coronaviruses. The South China Morning Post reported in March 2020 that, according to Chinese government data observed by the publication, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 occurred on November 17, 2019.
David Asher, the State Department’s former lead investigator who oversaw the Task Force into the COVID-19 virus origin, has worked for Democrat and Republican administrations on some of “the most classified intelligence investigations” for the U.S. government.
Asher says that he is “very doubtful that three people in highly protected circumstances” working on coronaviruses all became sick enough with influenza-like symptoms that they were hospitalized in “severe conditions all in the same week, and it didn’t have anything to do with the coronavirus.”
Asher told Fox News in March that he not only believes that the coronavirus escaped the Wuhan Institute of Virology, BSL-4 lab, but he believes that the Chinese military was conducting bioweapons research at the lab.
Fox News reported:
The Chinese, according to Asher, stopped talking publicly about the research into coronavirus “disease vectors which could be used for weapons” in 2017, at the same time its military began funding the research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“I doubt that that’s a coincidence,” Asher said.
“Motive, cover-up, conspiracy, all the hallmarks of guilt are associated with this. And the fact that the initial cluster of victims surrounded the very institute that was doing the highly dangerous, if not dubious research is significant,” Asher said.
A person familiar with the intelligence that the U.S. government has told The Wall Street Journal that “the information that we had coming from the various sources was of exquisite quality” and that it was “very precise.”
The Wuhan Institute of Virology has not shared data and lab records of its working on coronaviruses.
Robert Redfield, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in March that he believes that the pandemic originated from the lab in Wuhan.
“Normally when a pathogen goes from a zoonotic to a human, it takes a while for it to figure out how to become more and more efficient in human-to-human transmission,” Redfield told CNN during an interview. “I just don’t think this makes biological sense.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.