At the time when the Coronavirus cases are escalating across the globe along with anger against China for not doing enough to control the virus in the initial stage, France has come out with a statement that it does not have information to establish a possible link between the origin of the virus causing COVID-19 and the controversial Wuhan Institute of Virology, suspected for the leak of virus.
The French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs said that as far as the origin of novel Coronavirus is concerned, they have no information to date to corroborate a possible link between the virus origin and the work of the Wuhan lab.
As per a French decree signed by then-foreign minister Michel Barnier in 2004, France made an agreement with China to establish a research laboratory on infectious diseases of biosafety level four in Wuhan city. Even though earlier French President Emmanuel Macron raised questions over China's handling of the Coronavirus outbreak, none of the officials openly supported the controversial comments about virus origin in Wuhan lab.
As reported by the Xinhua news agency, France, where authorities reported 199,476 cases as of Monday, officials supported a resolution brought up in May by the European Union to the World Health Assembly, in which they requested the World Health Organization (WHO) to continue its work along with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The French ministry said in a letter answering a question by the upper house of parliament that the request was made to identify the zoonotic source of SARS-CoV-2 and the mechanisms of transmission to the human population. The letter also added, "At this stage, France's priority is to continue the international fight against the pandemic and to consolidate multilateralism. With this priority objective, the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs has talked several times with his Chinese counterpart."
Conspiracy Around Wuhan Lab and CCP
Ever since China reported its first case of Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, several speculations have emerged whether COVID-19 was a naturally occurring disease. During the pandemic, many claimed that a person created a new pathogen in the lab, while some of them alleged that the virus was released as a deliberate act of bioterrorism.
Nobel winning French professor Luc Montagnier earlier claimed that the novel Coronavirus was created inside a lab and mentioned that the virus which infected millions of people globally was accidentally released from Wuhan Institution of Virology.
Later, a leading Russian microbiologist Peter Chumakov claimed that the novel Coronavirus was the result of Wuhan scientists doing "absolutely crazy things" in their laboratory. As per the expert, the aim of Chinese scientists was to study the pathogenicity of the virus but he clarified that it was not their intention to deliberately create a man-made killer.
But recently the U.S. President Donald Trump, who emerged as the top critic of China, said during an interview that Xi Jinping's government may have "intentionally" allowed the deadly Coronavirus to spread beyond its borders to damage other global economies.
The Trump administration squarely blamed China for the pandemic and bought the controversial theory that the virus could have leaked from a Wuhan lab, though no evidence has been collected by its intelligence agencies so far. Even Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser recently said the novel Coronavirus was a "product of the Chinese Communist Party."
Since the debate started, scientists have been looking into both possibilities on whether SARS-CoV-2 is a natural or manmade virus or not. The latest accusation that Coronavirus was engineered, came from a Norwegian team of researchers which was equally countered by other scientists who argued that the viral genetic material is similar to other viruses found in nature.
As per scientists, pathogens tend to live in certain parts of the world, for example, Ebola occurs mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. So, if a disease appears where it doesn't normally belong, it could mean that the pathogen has been released there intentionally. But in the case of China, the country had faced the SARS outbreak in 2003 and it is a proven fact that several Coronaviruses do exist in bats, found in the region. So the COVID-19 outbreak starting in China ends the speculations.
Scientists also claim that for contagious diseases, like smallpox, influenza, or COVID-19, it is much more challenging to determine exactly where and how they began, because they spread from one person to the next. The recent debate over the source of the new Coronavirus, which has already brought politics into the scientific field, had triggered more complications and conspiracies around the world.
However, recently a study conducted by scientists at the University of Calgary, Canada revealed that the virus genome may have been spreading among humans since 2013 just after the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak, but the variant may have evolved over the years. Meanwhile, another research by the University of Barcelona claimed that the researchers found the novel Coronavirus in a frozen wastewater sample from March 12, last year in Barcelona.