A well-known author and China expert has shared new evidence that has reignited interest in the widespread conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan and not from a wet market, as claimed by China.

Virus leaked by lab 'the only plausible explanation'

Professor Clive Hamilton told Sky News on Sunday night that the theory that the deadly pathogen originated from a wild animal market in Wuhan does not make sense. "The argument that the coronavirus emerged from the South China Seafood market just no longer stacks up," the Professor said in the interview, before pointing out that the first few people diagnosed with COVID-19 had no contact with the wet market, which Chinese health officials claim to be "ground zero" of the global pandemic.

Coronavirus
Caption: WUHAN, Feb. 13, 2020 (Xinhua) -- Staff members work in a laboratory in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Feb. 13, 2020. As a designated service provider of nucleic acid detection of the novel coronavirus, KingMed Diagnostics laboratory in Wuhan conducts non-stop detection service and detects over 2,000 samples from various cities in Hubei Province every day. (Xinhua/Xiong Qi/IANS) Xinhua/IANS

"This has been demonstrated by top quality studies. So the idea that it originated in December sometime, usually late December, in this market, simply doesn't stack up," he added. "The only other plausible explanation was that it was a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology."

Professor Hamilton noted that the hypothesis came from Chinese scientists themselves, referring to a paper published by scientists Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao called "The possible origins of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus."

The research paper published the hypothesis that someone working in the Wuhan laboratory, which is located close to the wet market, became infected with the virus and then transmitted it to the general public. The paper was pulled from the web shortly after it was published.

Is China destroying evidence?

According to the expert, people in China are looking for the woman thought to be patient zero, who worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology but she "seems to have disappeared off the face of the planet."

Scientists had previously maintained that the virus had jumped from bats to an unidentified intermediary species before being transmitted to humans at the Wuhan wet market, where wild animals are kept in cages and slaughtered, sold for consumption.

The lab researched a range of bat coronaviruses including by engineering them and at some point this deadly virus may "have escaped in some way," Professor Hamilton noted.

coronavirus
Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Wikimedia Commons

The expert's statements come days after a spy dossier accused China of intentionally destroying evidence of the coronavirus outbreak in addition to reports claiming that the Wuhan Institute of Virology deleted pictures from its website that showed scientists handling bat samples without any safety precautions.

China has been accused of covering up the possibility that the coronavirus was leaked by the Wuhan lab, with Donald Trump leading the allegations against Beijing. Trump has claimed there is sufficient evidence to prove that theory that the virus emerged from the lab. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, dismissed the claims last week.