(Beijing) The Wuhan virology laboratory, suspected of having leaked the virus causing COVID – 16, defends its security procedures, in a report broadcast by Chinese television.
France Media Agency
The P4 laboratory, which works on particularly dangerous strains of virus in the city where the new coronavirus appeared at the end of last year, does subject to multiple assumptions that it is the cause of the epidemic.
But on public television CCTV, the director of the National Biosafety Laboratory, Yuan Zhiming, denied such a possibility, mentioned in particular by US President Donald Trump .
“Without authorization, even a mosquito could not enter the lab”, assures Mr. Yuan in this report, apparently the first made inside of the site since its inauguration in 2017. “None of our lab technicians could get out even a drop of water or a piece of paper,” he added.
“People who imagine that we could get out of the laboratory animals for sale or that they could escape from them have no idea of how we work, ”says the director.
The most commonly accepted theory about the origin of the virus is that a bat would have infected another animal, perhaps a pangolin, before let him not pass it on to humans.
The most likely place of initial contamination would be a market in Wuhan where wild animals were sold live.
The epidemic has since contaminated near 12 millions of people worldwide, including more than half a million fatally.
M. Yuan said it was “natural” that his laboratory was suspected because it was the closest to the epicenter of the epidemic. But he said he was confident that “the rumors will gradually dissipate.”
“There has never been a leak of pathogens or human contamination” in the laboratory, built with the collaboration of France, did he rocks.
If the site can give the impression of being “a secret black box”, it is in fact “very open and transparent”, declares M. Yuan, who hopes to welcome foreign researchers in the future in order to become “an international exchange platform”.
Despite repeated requests, AFP has not been allowed to visit the laboratory since the start of the COVID epidemic – 16.
China has been accused of a lack of transparency in its management of the epidemic and the United States and Australia have asked for an international investigation on the subject, angering Beijing.