The Covid Files: How the Red Army oversaw coronavirus research | Daily Telegraph

EXCLUSIVE

China’s People’s Liberation Army has been involved in scientific research, co-funded by the Australian government, into the origins of the coronavirus which has been published in esteemed medical journals.

In an explosive revelation, a study co-funded by the Australian Research Council and the Chinese government, and trumpeted by The University of Sydney as helping to solve the puzzle of how COVID-19 transferred from animals to humans, relied on a key laboratory in an institute in the People’s Liberation Army’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences to conduct its “genetic sequencing” and “virus isolation”.

The director of the microbiology institute, Professor Wu-Chan Cao, who is thanked in the paper’s acknowledgments for his “substantial contribution”, has the rank of colonel and is a Wuhan Institute of Virology board member in a clear conflict of interest.

Left: Yi-Gang Tong and Wu-Chan Cao, of China’s State Key Laboratory of Pathogen and Biosecurity.
Left: Yi-Gang Tong and Wu-Chan Cao, of China’s State Key Laboratory of Pathogen and Biosecurity.

ARMY FACILITIES

Professor Holmes has used this research to call for a ban on wet markets and the trade in wildlife.

The study titled “Identifying SARS-CoV-2 related coronaviruses in Malayan pangolins” was completed and submitted by February 7, 2020 and it was peer-reviewed and published in Nature online on March 26.

“Although bats are likely reservoir hosts for SARS-CoV-2, the identity of any intermediate host that might have facilitated transfer to humans is unknown,” the study states in its summary.

“Here we report the identification of SARS-CoV-2 relate coronaviruses in Malayan pangolins seized in anti-smuggling operations in southern China.”

The Daily Telegraph can reveal that the “sequencing” and “virus isolation” on which the study relied was done by laboratories run by the PLA in China.

In fine print at the very end of the paper in the acknowledgments section, it states: “We thank Prof. Wu-Chun Cao, Dr. Na Jia, Dr. Ya-Wei Zhang, Dr. Jia-Fu Jiang, Dr. Bao-Gui Jiang, and their team in State Key Laboratory of Pathogen and Biosecurity, Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Beijing for their substantial contributions to this study, including co-ordinating among research parties, conducting virus isolation, qPCR and sequencing.”

The State Key Laboratory of Pathogen and Biosecurity is part of the Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, which sits under the Academy of Military Medical Sciences.

The Academy of Military Sciences is the highest-level research institute of the People’s Liberation Army.

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