China has upped the ante as it is engaged in a bitter confrontation with the United States over the origin of the coronavirus.
While the US pushed China on the defensive over the alleged links of the Wuhan virology lab to the covid-19 virus, Beijing had come up with its own theories linking the US and the West to the origins of the pathogen.
According to the state-run Global Times, a group of Chinese scientists and radiologists have found that some among the hundreds of mysterious cases of EVALI reported across the United States in 2019 were actually Covid-19 cases.
What is EVALI?
EVALI is a lung disorder associated with e-cigarette or vaping. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mouthpiece says vaping-related lung disease was reported from all 50 US states in 2019.
The report says that scientists reviewed some 250 chest CT scans from published papers. "These scientists urged the US to start screening for COVID-19 patients in 2019 e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury (EVALI) patients," the report says.
What is EVALI and Covid-19 Timeline?
Chinese scientists found that as many as 16 EVALI patients had viral infections, a factor, according to the scientists, that indicates that the patients could have had COVID-19. "Five of the cases were determined as moderately suspicious," the study says.
"The 16 EVALI patients were all from the US, and in 12 patients symptoms started before 2020," the report says.
Similarities in Symptoms
The Chinese scientists say that five of the patients had 'moderately suspicious' case as their CT scans returned similar results as COVID-19 patients. "In serious conditions, their CT scans showed multiple extensive consolidations in both lungs. Meanwhile, these clinical features are similar to those of COVID-19 patients," GT said.
The GT article extensively quotes Yang Zhanqiu, a virologist at Wuhan University. The virologist argues that, back in 2019, some COVID-19 patients were 'misdiagnosed' as EVALI patients. This happened because of the close similarities in the symptoms of EVALI and COVID-19. To make matters worse, no nucleic acid detection kits were available at that time.
Will US Conduct Antibody Testing on Blood Samples of EVALI Patients?
The scientist challenges the US to conduct antibody testing on the blood samples of EVALI patients and determine if they had COVID-19. If the US shares this data with the rest of the world there would be more clarity on the timeline of the epidemic, the scientist says.
The article continues to say that the vaping-related lung illness was first reported in the US in July 2019, which was months before the first Covid-19 infection was reported anywhere in the world.
Fort Detrick Allegation
It further says that around this time, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) ordered the halt of research at Fort Detrick. The scientist pointedly reminds the readers that the Fort Detrick lab in the US "stores some of the deadliest viruses in the world, including Ebola, smallpox, SARS, MERS and the novel coronavirus."
It also says that when the first Covid-19 death was reported in the country in 2020, nearly 3,000 EVALI patients had been reported.
"As of February 18, 2020, the first COVID-19-related deaths were being reported in the US, a total of 2,807 hospitalized EVALI cases or deaths were reported to the USCDC in all 50 states," the article says.
'US Dialed Forward Covid-19 Cases'
The piece also levels another serious charge against the US -- that is of 'dialing forward' the timeline of early Coronavirus cases in the country. "A study of over 24,000 samples taken for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research program in the US between January 2 and March 18, 2020 suggested that seven people across five US states may have contracted COVID-19 at least a month before the country's first officially confirmed cases on January 21, 2020."
Zhao challenges the US to do four things to come across as a reasonable participant in the virus tracing mission. These are 1) disclose data on early COVID-19 cases, 2) invite the World Health Organization (WHO) to probe Fort Detrick, the University of North Carolina, and the team of Ralph S Baric, 3) publish data on sick soldiers who attended the Wuhan Military World Games in October 2019 and 4) disclose data on early cases.