Amid suspicion of a possible virus leak in a lab accident, the Wuhan Institute of Virology has been nominated for China’s top science award, a local media outlet reported.
As per sources, the Wuhan Institute of Virology was nominated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences for conducting “the most comprehensive and systematic identification research on the etiology of Covid-19."
“The project’s results have laid an important foundation and platform for the follow-up research on the origin, epidemiology, and pathogenic mechanism of the Covid-19 virus," the Chinese Academy of Sciences was quoted saying.
Shi Zhengli, known as batwoman for her work on coronaviruses in bats also received a special mention from the academy. However, the virologist has repeatedly dismissed the claims of a possible lab leak.
China has been making headlines for the past few weeks for its alleged involvement in unleasing the deadly Covid-19 virus upon the world. The hypothesis of the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 through a laboratory incident has gained momentum with a renewed demand for a new “transparent” investigation into the virus origin.
Meanwhile, China has wholly rejected the “lab leak" theory and has instead accused the US and others of peddling conspiracies and politicizing the pandemic to divert attention after the US National Institutes for Health (NIH) published a study that showed at least seven people in five states were infected with Sars-CoV-2 weeks before the country reported its first official cases.
Zeng Guang, the chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has demanded the second phase of investigation into the origins of Covid-19 should be conducted in the United States.
The genesis of the lab leak theory lies in reports that six miners fell ill in 2012 and three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick in 2019 after visiting a bat cave in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan.