WASHINGTON DC :
AMID the resurgence of lab leak theory of COVID-19, a new report has revealed that China deleted early coronavirus data in a possible bid to conceal its origins -- hence impeding the World Health Organisation’s investigation’s (WHO) probe of the virus. The so-called “lab leak” theory, once dismissed by the mainstream media, has gained traction after a series of revelations. It has become the subject of renewed public debate after several prominent scientists called for a full investigation into the origins of the virus. According to a scientific paper published on Wednesday, over a dozen coronavirus test sequences that were taken during the pandemic’s early months were removed from an international database used to track the virus’ evolution.
This revelation was made in a report authored by Jesse Bloom, a virologist and evolutionary biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, ‘New York Post’ reported. The researcher has argued that China likely deleted the data from the National Institutes of Health’s Sequence Read Archive in order to “obscure their existence.” “The fact that such an informative data set was deleted has implications beyond those gleaned directly from the recovered sequences. Samples from early outpatients in Wuhan are a gold mine for anyone seeking to understand the spread of the virus,” Bloom wrote in the paper, titled “Recovery of Deleted Deep Sequencing Data Sheds More Light on the Early Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 Epidemic.”
“There is no plausible scientific reason for the deletion ... It, therefore, seems likely the sequences were deleted to obscure their existence,” the report states. The researcher even went on to recover “deleted files from the Google Cloud” linked to the international database and reconstructed “partial sequences of 13 early epidemic viruses.” According to Bloom’s research, the virus was circulating in Wuhan before it was detected at local wet markets -- including the Huanan Seafood Market, which is the focus of a WHO-led investigation into the origins of the virus.