A laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan has broken its silence to deny accusations that the novel coronavirus originated there.
Yuan Zhiming, vice director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, told Chinese state broadcaster CGTN, that this was a “conspiracy theory” designed to “confuse” people. He also denied the virus was manmade.
It is the first time anyone from the institute has spoken publicly.
“As people who carry out viral study, we clearly know what kind of research is going on in the institute and how the institute manages viruses and samples. As we said early on, there is no way this virus came from us,” said Yuan, a microbiology and biotechnology expert who trained and worked in France, Denmark, and the U.S. for several years.
“We have a strict regulatory regime and code of conduct of research, so we are confident,” he added.
Yuan said he understood why some people might link the outbreak with the $44-million laboratory, founded in 2014, because it was based in Wuhan. But that it was wrong to deliberately mislead people, he added.