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People's Daily Online

China refutes accusation of COVID-19 leak from Wuhan lab

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:23, June 18, 2021

BEIJING, June 17 (Xinhua) -- The first identification of the gene sequence of COVID-19 by Chinese scientists does not mean that Wuhan is the source of virus, nor can it be inferred that the virus was made by Chinese scientists, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Thursday.

Spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a press briefing, denouncing the politicizing of the origin-tracing issue of COVID-19.

"If anyone that first published high-quality viral genomes could be accused of making the virus, then professor Luc Montagnier, who first discovered Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), should have been considered the culprit of AIDS rather than awarded the Nobel Prize, and Mr. Louis Pasteur, who discovered microbes, should have been responsible for the disease-causing bacteria all around the globe," Zhao said.

The WHO released in March the origin-tracing study report of the China-WHO joint mission, drawing a clear conclusion that lab leak is extremely unlikely, Zhao said, adding that the report, co-authored by more than 30 top global experts in various fields, is widely representative and highly professional.

Regrettably, some in the United States have chosen to ignore the report, and have been hyping up the "lab leak theory" and politicizing the origin-tracing issue, he said. "This constitutes an affront to WHO-led origin-tracing study, a serious travesty of scientists and the spirit of science, and a major damage to the solidarity of the international community in the fight against the epidemic."

If the United States is truly transparent and responsible, it should be as open as China and immediately invite international experts to Fort Detrick and other places in the United States to conduct a detailed investigation, he said.

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