This Article is From Apr 20, 2020

Inside Asia's Largest Virus Bank In Wuhan, Now Investigated By US

China Coronavirus: Nestled in the hilly outskirts of Wuhan, a Chinese high-security biosafety laboratory is now the subject of US claims it may be the cradle of the pandemic.

Inside Asia's Largest Virus Bank In Wuhan, Now Investigated By US

The Wuhan complex contains Asia's first lab equipped to handle Class 4 pathogens (P4).

Wuhan:

Nestled in the hilly outskirts of Wuhan, the city at the heart of the coronavirus crisis, a Chinese high-security biosafety laboratory is now the subject of US claims it may be the cradle of the pandemic.

Chinese scientists have said the virus likely jumped from an animal to humans in a market that sold wildlife in Wuhan, but the existence of the lab has fuelled conspiracy theories that the germ spread from the facility.

The United States has now brought the allegations into the mainstream, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying US officials are doing a "full investigation" into how the virus "got out into the world".

Here are some key questions about the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV):

What is it?

The institute is home to the China Centre for Virus Culture Collection, the largest virus bank in Asia which preserves more than 1,500 strains, according to its website.

The complex contains Asia's first maximum security lab equipped to handle Class 4 pathogens (P4) -- dangerous viruses that pose a high risk of person-to-person transmission, such as Ebola.

The 300-million-yuan ($42 million) lab was completed in 2015, and finally opened in 2018, with the founder of a French bioindustrial firm, Alain Merieux, acting as a consultant in its construction.

The institute also has a P3 laboratory that has been in operation since 2012.

The 3,000-square-metre (32,000-square-foot) P4 lab, located in a square building with a cylindrical annex, lies near a pond at the foot of a forested hill in Wuhan's remote outskirts.

On a recent visit, AFP saw no sign of activity inside.

A poster outside the complex read, "Strong Prevention and Control, Don't Panic, Listen to Official Announcements, Believe in Science, Don't Spread Rumours".

Is it the source of the coronavirus?

Pompeo said Friday that Chinese authorities themselves, when they started investigating the virus, "considered whether the WIV was, in fact, the place where this came from".

"We know they've not permitted the world's scientists to go into that laboratory to evaluate what took place there, what's happening there, what's happening there even as we speak," he said in a radio interview.

The Washington Post and Fox News both quoted anonymous sources who voiced concern that the virus may have come -- accidentally -- from the facility.

US diplomatic cables seen by The Washington Post revealed that officials were especially concerned about inadequate safety standards related to researchers' handling of SARS-like bat coronaviruses in the high-security lab.

Fox News said the pandemic's "patient zero" may have been infected by a strain of bat virus being studied at the facility that somehow got into the population in Wuhan.

Various conspiracy theories about the alleged origin of the coronavirus in the lab have flourished online.

The institute declined to comment on Friday, but it released a statement in February dismissing the rumours.

It said it received samples of the then-unknown virus on December 30, determined the viral genome sequence on January 2 and submitted information on the pathogen to the World Health Organization on January 11.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Friday rejected allegations that the lab was responsible for the outbreak.

"A discerning person will understand at a glance that the purpose is to create confusion, divert public attention, and shirk their responsibility," said Zhao, who himself promoted conspiracy theories the US army may have brought the virus to China.

What do scientists know about the virus?

Scientists believe the virus originated in bats before being passed to humans through an intermediary species -- possibly the endangered pangolin, whose scales are illegally trafficked in China for traditional medicine.

But a study by a group of Chinese scientists published in The Lancet in January revealed that the first COVID-19 patient had no connection to Wuhan's infamous animal market, and neither did 13 of the first 41 confirmed cases.

Institute researcher Shi Zhengli, one of China's leading experts on bat coronaviruses and the deputy director of the P4 lab, was part of the team that published the first study to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 came from bats.

In an interview with Scientific American, Shi said the SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence did not match any of the bat coronaviruses her laboratory had previously collected and studied.

Filippa Lentzos, biosecurity researcher at King's College London, said while there is currently no proof for the lab accident theory, there is also "no real evidence" that the virus came from the wet market.

"For me, the pandemic origin is still an open question," Lentzos told AFP.

There are some indications "that could point to a potential lab accident from basic scientific research", she said.

"But all of this needs considerable investigation for anyone to say anything with any certainty on the pandemic origins."

David Heymann, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, also said there was no evidence about its origin but it is "closely related to a bat virus".

"There are many theories of how humans could've been infected, and I don't think any of them are able to be substantiated at present."

World

67,66,26,741Cases
62,55,79,027Active
4,41,65,703Recovered
68,82,011Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 200 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 67,66,26,741 and 68,82,011 have died; 62,55,79,027 are active cases and 4,41,65,703 have recovered as on March 28, 2023 at 9:30 am.

India

4,47,07,525 1565Cases
10,981 681Active
4,41,65,703 888Recovered
5,30,841 -4Deaths
In India, there are 4,47,07,525 confirmed cases including 5,30,841 deaths. The number of active cases is 10,981 and 4,41,65,703 have recovered as on March 28, 2023 at 8:00 am.

State & District Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
DistrictCases
Akola757
Aurangabad1974
Dhule228
Jalgaon1039
Mumbai45478
Mumbai Suburban5363
Nagpur692
Nashik1575
Palghar1421
Pune9920
Satara629
Solapur1291
Thane13660
Yavatmal150
Ahmednagar190
Amravati291
Beed54
Bhandara41
Buldhana88
Chandrapur32
Hingoli208
Jalna201
Kolhapur646
Latur139
Nanded176
Nandurbar42
Parbhani78
Raigad1462
Ratnagiri350
Sangli145
Gadchiroli42
gondia69
Osmanabad125
Sindhudurg114
Wardha11
Washim13

8142059 205

2212 95

7991412 110

148435

DistrictCases
Chittoor319
Guntur511
Krishna557
Kurnool795
Sri Potti Sriramulu Nell*296
Anantapur428
East Godavari356
Prakasam104
Srikakulam183
Visakhapatnam103
West Godavari199
Y.S.R.205
Vizianagaram23

2339144 2

35

2324376 2

14733

DistrictCases
Bengaluru Rural40
Bengaluru Urban529
Mysuru107
Bagalkote103
Ballari60
Belagavi337
Bidar219
Chikkaballapura149
Dakshina Kannada179
Dharwad61
Gadag45
Kalaburagi669
Mandya346
Tumakuru36
Uttara Kannada95
Vijayapura201
Chamarajanagara0
Chikkamagaluru19
Chitradurga14
Davangere204
Hassan205
Haveri24
Kodagu4
Kolar29
Koppal5
Raichur369
Ramanagara3
Shivamogga67
Udupi1176
Yadgir538

4076465 117

812 20

4035332 97

40321

DistrictCases
North Goa57
South Goa69

259521 32

227 15

255281 17

4013

DistrictCases
Chengalpattu1314
Chennai23324
Kanchipuram503
Madurai322
Namakkal83
Ranipet133
Thanjavur130
Thiruvallur774
Thiruvarur67
Tiruppur116
Vellore71
Virudhunagar185
Ariyalur444
Coimbatore188
Cuddalore477
Dharmapuri15
Dindigul175
Erode75
Kallakurichi324
Kanniyakumari110
Karur88
Nagapattinam99
Perambalur133
Pudukkottai53
Ramanathapuram119
Salem258
Sivaganga46
Tenkasi103
The Nilgiris17
Theni129
Tiruchirappalli119
Tirunelveli433
Tirupathur45
Tiruvannamalai496
Tuticorin333
Villupuram509
Krishnagiri43

3596311 102

634 26

3557627 76

38050

DistrictCases
Kannur357
Kottayam73
Alappuzha76
Idukki40
Kasaragod333
Kollam118
Kozhikode90
Malappuram119
Palakkad224
Pathanamthitta98
Thiruvananthapuram104
Thrissur106
Ernakulam60
Wayanad36

6834246 342

2662 191

6759978 147

71606 4

DistrictCases
Raipur46
Korba100
Balod41
Baloda Bazar85
Balrampur17
Bastar2
Bemetara21
Bijapur2
Bilaspur100
Dantewada0
Dhamtari6
Durg31
Gariyaband10
Janjgir-Champa56
Jashpur77
Kabirdham52
Kanker19
Kondagaon0
Korea39
Mahasamund54
Mungeli87
Narayanpur0
Raigarh47
Rajnandgaon52
Sukma0
Surajpur9
Surguja14

1177840 5

28 5

1163665

14147

DistrictCases
Hyderabad2475
MedchalMalkajgiri75
Ranga Reddy183
Suryapet87
Vikarabad40
Warangal Urban32
Adilabad22
Jagitial77
Jangoan8
Jayashankar Bhupalapally9
Jogulamba Gadwal40
Kamareddy11
Karimnagar17
Khammam26
Kumuram Bheem Asifabad8
Mahabubnagar30
Mancherial43
Medak11
Nalgonda33
Narayanpet3
Nirmal21
Nizamabad76
RajannaSircilla16
Sangareddy26
Bhadradri Kothagudem5
Mahabubabad10
Mulugu3
Nagarkurnool8
Peddapalli5
Siddipet7
Wanaparthy1
Warangal Rural4
YadadriBhuvanagiri40

842416 21

152

838153 21

4111

DistrictCases
Baleshwar190
Bhadrak137
Jajapur322
Dhenkanal36
Kalahandi33
Kendrapara164
Khordha238
Koraput16
Sundargarh102
Anugul26
Balangir129
Bargarh16
Boudh34
Cuttack155
Deogarh33
Gajapati61
Ganjam581
Jagatsinghapur91
Jharsuguda8
Kandhamal28
Kendujhar34
Malkangiri20
Mayurbhanj73
Nabarangpur2
Nayagarh86
Nuapada69
Puri103
Rayagada2
Sambalpur16
Sonepur29

1336826 12

92 5

1327529 7

9205

DistrictCases
Barwani60
Bhopal1880
Dewas140
Dhar132
East Nimar266
Gwalior211
Indore3839
Jabalpur276
Ujjain799
Agar Malwa15
Alirajpur3
Betul35
Burhanpur351
Chhindwara16
Dindori29
Harda4
Hoshangabad37
Khargone196
Mandsaur112
Morena109
Raisen71
Ratlam51
Sagar228
Shajapur39
Shandol14
Sheopur26
Tikamgarh18
Vidisha37
Anuppur22
Ashoknagar13
Balaghat9
Bhind87
Chhatarpur35
Damoh26
Datia12
Guna8
Jhabua14
Katni3
Mandla15
Narsinghpur17
Neemuch319
Niwari0
Panna20
Rajgarh31
Rewa39
Satna24
Sehore12
Seoni2
Shivpuri15
Sidhi17
Singrauli13
Umaria10

1055070 5

53 2

1044240 3

10777

DistrictCases
Ahmadabad17125
Anand107
Arvalli134
Banas Kantha147
Bhavnagar146
Gandhinagar410
PanchMahals107
Surat2311
Vadodara1555
Bharuch56
Botad55
Chhotaudepur37
Dang5
Dohad43
GirSomnath45
Jamnagar63
Kachchh99
Kheda98
Mahesana159
Mahisagar125
Narmada25
Naysari35
Patan105
Rajkot135
SabarKantha101
Surendranagar55
Tapi6
Valsad47
Amreli16
DevbhumiDwarka22
Junagadh31
Morbi4
Porbandar11

1280766 301

1849 152

1267864 149

11053

DistrictCases
Ajmer379
Banswara91
Bharatpur563
Jaipur2177
Jhalawar329
Jodhpur1748
Kota503
Nagaur500
Alwar90
Barmer34
Bhilwara250
Bikaner112
Chittorgarh188
Churu81
Dausa61
Dholpur60
Dungarpur374
Hanumangarh31
Jaisalmer53
Jhunjhunu64
Karauli17
Pali352
Rajsamand140
SawaiMadhopur26
Sikar231
Tonk171
Udaipur724
Baran59
Bundi5
Ganganagar8
Jalore164
Pratapgarh14
Sirohi130

1315966 14

212 5

1306093 9

9661

DistrictCases
Faridabad867
Sonipat404
Ambala93
Bhiwani60
CharkiDadri43
Fatehabad38
Gurugram2950
Hisar98
Jhajjar114
Jind38
Kaithal48
Karnal104
Kurukshetra55
Nuh68
Palwal120
Panchkula39
Panipat78
Rohtak145
Sirsa50
Yamunanagar19
Mahendragarh47
Rewari56

1057208 68

280 37

1046214 31

10714

DistrictCases
Agra933
Aligarh215
Amroha80
Bareilly17
Bijnor157
Bulandshahr166
Firozabad190
Gautam Buddha Nagar1119
Kanpur Nagar286
Lucknow386
Mathura129
Meerut504
Moradabad252
Muzaffarnagar117
Rae Bareli78
Rampur203
Saharanpur298
Sant Kabeer Nagar132
Varanasi243
Auraiya37
Ayodhya120
Azamgarh138
Baghpat68
Bahraich73
Balrampur49
Banda27
Basti214
Bhadohi60
Budaun23
Etah52
Etawah46
Ghaziabad794
Ghazipur159
Gonda59
Gorakhpur166
Hapur225
Hardoi49
Jalaun41
Jaunpur194
Jhansi41
Kannauj69
Kasganj16
Kaushambi6
Mainpuri46
Mau48
Mirzapur22
Pilibhit15
Pratapgarh15
Prayagraj30
Sambhal116
Shamli40
Shravasti23
Sitapur32
Sultanpur97
Unnao42
Ambedkar Nagar92
Amethi206
Ballia60
Barabanki168
Chandauli38
Chitrakoot4
Deoria143
Farrukhabad36
Fatehpur3
Hamirpur3
Hathras43
Kanpur Dehat4
Kheri72
Kushi Nagar67
Lalitpur3
Maharajganj85
Mahoba3
Shahjahanpur25
Siddharth Nagar159
Sonbhadra10

2128610 28

262 16

2104698 12

23650

DistrictCases
Central4817
East2472
New Delhi3405
North3059
North East1914
North West5463
Shahdara1580
South2329
South East2446
South West2391
West4768

2008847 115

538 10

1981785 105

26524

DistrictCases
Dhubri30
Goalpara19
Marigaon50
Baksa14
Barpeta28
Biswanath16
Bongaigaon12
Cachar80
Charaideo29
Chirang6
Darrang20
Dhemaji47
Dibrugarh61
Dima Hasao86
Golaghat203
Hailakandi57
Hojai89
Jorhat24
Kamrup42
Kamrup Metro276
KarbiAnglong13
Karimganj85
Kokrajhar37
Lakhimpur57
Majuli2
Nagaon143
Nalbari23
Sivasagar20
Sonitpur27
South SalmaraMancachar4
Tinsukia84
Udalguri28
West KarbiAnglong5

746104

4

738065

8035

DistrictCases
East District3
North District0
South District3
West District0

44338

6

43832 1

500

DistrictCases
Buxar134
Gaya115
Munger188
Patna279
Rohtas256
Arwal52
Aurangabad75
Banka134
Begusarai243
Bhagalpur266
Bhojpur103
Darbhanga143
Gopalganj123
Jehanabad178
Kaimur (bhabua)105
Lakhisarai72
Madhepura82
Madhubani199
Nalanda123
Nawada122
PurbiChamparan138
Purnia135
Saran101
Siwan139
Vaishali87
Araria68
Jamui47
Katihar175
Khagaria253
Kishanganj75
Muzaffarpur96
Pashchim Champaran57
Saharsa88
Samastipur139
Sheikhpura118
Sheohar20
Sitamarhi73
Supaul87

851452 1

19 1

839130

12303

DistrictCases
24 Paraganas North1031
24 Paraganas South281
Darjeeling97
Howrah1435
Jalpaiguri88
Kalimpong18
Kolkata2777
Maldah235
Medinipur East153
Medinipur West159
Hooghly604
Murshidabad125
Nadia139
Paschim Bardhaman70
Purba Bardhaman130
Alipurduar39
Bankura116
Birbhum206
Coochbehar210
Dinajpur Dakshin50
Dinajpur Uttar216
Jhargram9
Purulia66

2118957 12

71 7

2097353 5

21533

DistrictCases
South Andamans33
Nicobars1
North And Middle Andaman1

10751

0

10622

129

DistrictCases
Pondicherry111
Karaikal2
Mahe4
Yanam0

176012

40

173996

1976

DistrictCases
Anjaw0
Changlang31
Dibang Valley0
East Kameng0
East Siang1
Kamle0
KraDaadi0
KurungKumey0
Leparada0
Lohit3
Longding0
Lower Dibang Valley0
Lower Siang0
Lower Subansiri0
Namsai2
PakkeKessang1
Papum Pare8
Shi Yomi0
Siang0
Tawang1
Tirap0
Upper Siang1
Upper Subansiri0
West Kameng0
West Siang1

66891

0

66595

296

DistrictCases
Dimapur20
Kiphire3
Kohima7
Longleng0
Mokokchung0
Mon8
Peren2
Phek1
Tuensang3
Wokha0
Zunheboto0

35988

0

35206

782

DistrictCases
Dadra And Nagar Haveli20

11591

0

11587

4

DistrictCases
Ranchi148
Bokaro16
Deoghar5
Dhanbad32
Garhwa80
Giridih19
Hazaribagh110
Jamtara2
Koderma58
Simdega48
Chatra1
Dumka5
East Singhbum170
Godda2
Gumla28
Khunti10
Latehar14
Lohardaga8
Pakur4
Palamu27
Ramgarh75
Sahebganj0
SaraikelaKharsawan20
West Singhbhum21

442612 2

18

437262 8

5332

DistrictCases
Gomati74
North Tripura14
Dhalai196
Khowai24
Sepahijala174
South Tripura53
Unakoti49
West Tripura45

108034

0

107094

940

DistrictCases
Kargil77
LehLadakh43

29433

2

29200 2

231

DistrictCases
Anantnag395
Bandipora175
Shopian255
Srinagar300
Baramulla271
Budgam110
Ganderbal37
Jammu138
Kathua53
Kulgam295
Kupwara231
Rajouri39
Ramban151
Reasi26
Samba25
Udhampur155
Mirpur0
Muzaffarabad0
Doda27
Kishtwar10
Poonch35
Pulwama108

479640 9

74

474781 10

4785

DistrictCases
Chamba29
Hamirpur117
Kangra105
Sirmaur11
Solan32
Una41
Bilaspur21
Kinnaur2
Kullu4
Lahaul And Spiti0
Mandi21
Shimla10

313557 126

495 80

308846 46

4216

DistrictCases
Jalandhar297
Ludhiana293
Patiala132
Amritsar485
Barnala25
Faridkot74
Firozepur50
Gurdaspur154
Hoshiarpur140
Kapurthala44
Mansa31
Moga65
Pathankot86
S.A.S Nagar137
Sangrur107
Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr)99
Sri Muktsar Sahib71
Tarn Taran163
Bathinda60
Fatehgarh Sahib57
Fazilka53
Rupnagar (Ropar)74

784757 31

142 19

765326 12

19289

DistrictCases
Haridwar94
Dehradun370
Nainital323
Almora71
Bageshwar31
Chamoli36
Champawat45
PauriGarhwal36
Pithoragarh43
Rudraprayag30
Tehri Garhwal110
Udam Singh Nagar83
Uttar Kashi24

449586 18

26 4

441805 14

7755

DistrictCases
Bishnupur7
Chandel5
Churachandpur32
Imphal East10
Imphal West21
Jiribam3
Kakching2
Kamjong5
Kangpokpi26
Noney1
Pherzawl3
Senapati6
Tamenglong2
Tengnoupal9
Thoubal18
Ukhrul4

139924

0

137775

2149

DistrictCases
Chandigarh313

99428 5

33 1

98212 4

1183

DistrictCases
East Khasi Hills22
East Garo Hills0
East Jaintia Hills0
North Garo Hills1
Ribhoi0
South Garo Hills0
South West Garo Hills4
South West Khasi Hills0
West Garo Hills5
West Jaintia Hills1
West Khasi Hills1

96791

3

95163

1625

DistrictCases
Aizawl10
Champhai0
Hnahthial0
Khawzawl0
Kolasib11
Lawngtlai2
Lunglei2
Mamit8
Saiha0
Saitual1
Serchhip0

238969

0

238243

726

DistrictCases
Lakshadweep District0

11415

0

11363

52

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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