Chinese scientists uploaded a sequence of the COVID-19 virus to a U.S. database on December 19, 2019, two weeks before the virus was shared across the world, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
The information was discovered in a series of documents obtained from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
China shared the COVID-19 virus sequence with the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 11, 2020.
According to Jessee Bloom, a virologist at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, the two-week difference “underscores how cautious we have to be about the accuracy of the information that the Chinese government has released.”
“It’s important to keep in mind how little we know,” Bloom continued.
He added that the submission to the database shows that in fact, at least by Dec. 28, 2019, scientists within China did know this pneumonia was being caused” by a new coronavirus.
A Chinese Embassy spokesperson said, “China has kept refining our COVID response based on science to make it more targeted. China’s COVID response policies are science-based, effective, and consistent with China’s national realities. They can stand the test of history.”
Had the WHO known the virus sequence two weeks, earlier, it “would have helped in the early stages of the outbreak,” said Richard Ebright, a microbiologist at Rutgers University.
American Faith reported that Chinese scientists connected with the military have reportedly engineered a lethal coronavirus strain with a 100% mortality rate in mice.
The new strain, GX_P2V, allegedly killed all infected mice within eight days, prompting the researchers to investigate further.
The virus, cloned from a strain similar to COVID and found in pangolins, was used to infect mice genetically modified to express a human protein, simulating human reactions.
The researchers highlighted the alarming “spillover risk of GX_P2V into humans” after reportedly cloning and storing the virus in a Beijing lab, where it continued to evolve.