The laboratory at the centre of scrutiny over the pandemic has been carrying out research on bats from the cave which scientists believe is the original source of the devastating outbreak.
Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday show the Wuhan Institute of Virology undertook coronavirus experiments on mammals captured more than 1,000 miles away in Yunnan – funded by a $3.7 million grant from the US government.
Sequencing of the Covid-19 genome has traced it to bats found in Yunnan’s caves.
It comes after this newspaper revealed last week that Ministers here now fear that the pandemic could have been caused by a virus leaking from the institute.
Senior Government sources said that while ‘the balance of scientific advice’ was still that the deadly virus was first transmitted to humans from a live animal market in Wuhan, an accident at the laboratory in the Chinese city was ‘no longer being discounted’.
According to one unverified claim, scientists at the institute could have become infected after being sprayed with blood containing the virus, and then passed it on to the local community.
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