Is the Chinese virologist’s claim that COVID was intentionally released credible?


Fact Box

  • Chinese virologist, Dr. Li-Meng Yan, a former researcher at the Hong Kong School of Public Health, stated that COVID-19 was human-made in a lab in China. In her research, she claims how SARS-CoV-2 could be “conveniently created” in a laboratory setting in six months.
  • Dr. Yan was labeled as a “whistleblower” and Twitter suspended her account, which had approximately 60,000 followers.
  • SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh coronavirus known to infect humans after an earlier version mutated and jumped to people. The previous virus is supposed to originate from bats.
  • Dr. Yan's report has not been published in a scientific journal or approved by scientists.  

Bill (Yes)

Chinese virologist Li-Meng Yan's claim that COVID was intentionally released is credible. Dr. Yan has impressive credentials in medicine and research, as she holds both an MD and a Ph.D., and her research topics include infectious diseases, universal influenza vaccine, and COVID-19. She was also directly involved in studying the coronavirus outbreak at a World Health Organization infectious diseases research center shortly before the outbreak was first reported. Moreover, she has published research on COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 in 2020. Dr. Yan's expertise in her field is well-established. 

Dr. Yan ran afoul with Chinese authorities when her research findings challenged the Chinese government's official narrative that the virus originated in a Wuhan, China wet market (i.e., where bat meat is sold) and was traced to bats, based on the similarities in the virus's genetic sequence. Specifically, Dr. Yan suspects that the virus may have been genetically engineered to be especially infectious and lethal to humans.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of Dr. Yan's research is her belief that China 'covered up' coronavirus data. Powerful global organizations (including Big Pharma) have a vested interest in preserving the official Chinese narrative of COVID because vaccines are an easier sell to a fearful public if the bogeyman is an exotic bat virus. Vaccines are big business with estimated revenues of $59.2 billion in 2020. Two of the four largest donors to the World Health Organization are both Bill Gates-funded entities with the stated purpose of accelerating access to vaccines. When viewed in the context of the external forces driving the COVID narrative, it's easy to see that Dr. Yan's claims are credible.

Kevin (No)

The evidence presented by Dr. Li-Meng Yan does not appear to hold up to scientific vigor. As user Kevin Bird pointed out on Twitter, the study 'cites other conspiracy work' as evidence and 'includes huge unjustified leaps in logic and glaring omissions.' Conversely, according to findings published in the journal Nature Medicine, there is substantial scientific evidence to show that the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan last year, and which has since led to a pandemic affecting more than 70 countries, is 'the product of natural evolution.' 

Additionally, people have pointed out that Lan's 'study preprint mentions the Rule of Law Society and the Rule of Law Foundation on its front page,' two organizations founded by China hawk and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon. Notably, the 'source of funds' for a $1 million contract between Bannon and a movement connected to the Rule of Law Society is currently under investigation by the FBI.

It should perhaps also be mentioned that were this a credible claim, China has other rivals and critics in the international community who would likely be glad to amplify this story--yet, they haven't. As Steven Erlanger reported in the New York Times, the coronavirus situation has created a 'global backlash' and has added to the 'growing mistrust of China.' The USA's own intelligence community is not exactly friendly towards China, and even they say that the virus 'was not manmade or genetically modified.' For all these reasons, Dr. Li-Meng Yan’s claim does not seem credible. 

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