The secretive Chinese Wuhan Institute of Virology has admitted they were performing experiments on “three live bat coronaviruses.”
The director of the Wuhan laboratory of virology has spoken out which has caused political turmoil over the secretive institute.
Wang Yanyi who spoke to Chinese state media confirmed that the Wuhan institute held three strains of coronavirus at the laboratory.
Beijing have repeatedly denied claims of a cover up, but these fresh admissions has sparked fresh speculation over China’s denials.
But she said that none of the live bat viruses matched coronavirus, and rebuked claims that the virus leaked out of the lab.
In an interview on Saturday, Wang told CGTN state broadcaster that the Wuhan lab had “isolated and obtained some coronaviruses from bats.”
She said, “Now we have three strains of live viruses but their highest similarity to SARS-CoV-2 only reaches 79.8%.
“We know that the whole genome of SARS-CoV-2 is only 80% similar to that of SARS. It’s an obvious difference.”
She added that the experiments on the live bats were only focused on the “source tracing of SARS” which broke out some 20-years ago.
She refuted theories the virus was made as a bioweapon and could have leaked from the Wuhan lab.
President Trump and the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo have previously claimed they have evidence that coronavirus came from the institute of virology.
Wang added, “We didn’t even know about the existence of the virus, so how could it be leaked from our lab when we didn’t have it?”
However, despite Wang’s claims suspicions were raised after China admitted destroying early samples of the virus in January, and President Xi Jingping knew about the virus on 7 January and did nothing until weeks later.
Meanwhile, Beijing have said that relations with Washington are on “the brink of a new Cold War” due to knife edge tensions over the global pandemic.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sunday Washington are infected with a “political virus” and that Beijing are open to find an international effort to find the source of the virus.
The Chinese Foreign Minister told reporters, “It has come to our attention that some political forces in the US are taking China-US relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a new Cold War.”
Tensions have grown over the months as the US President Donald Trump has accused China over starting the global pandemic which has killed more than 5m people globally.