Ever since a Washington Post report on lax safety measures at the Wuhan Institute of Virology that posed "a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic", was published on Tuesday, the focus has shifted back to the infamous lab situated in Wuhan -- the city in China where the novel coronavirus originated.

Donald Trump talks about Wuhan Institute of Virology

Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meet on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017. Reuters

Although the role of the Wuhan Institute of Virology was discussed during the initial outbreak of coronavirus, it was swiftly termed as xenophobia, evoking a severe backlash from China. The institute has again acquired center-stage and is being discussed by the top leadership of the United States.

During a White House press briefing on Wednesday (April 15), President Donald Trump was asked about the reports of the virus escaping from the Wuhan lab.

"I will tell you more and more we're hearing the story, and we'll see. When you say multiple sources, now there's a case where we can use the word sources, but we are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation that happened," Trump said.

Asked if he had discussed the issue with the Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump said: "I don't want to discuss what I talked to him about the laboratory, I just don't want to discuss, it's inappropriate right now."

Mike Pompeo talks about Wuhan Virology Lab

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the issue in an interview with Fox News.

Pompeo said: "What we do know is we know that this virus originated in Wuhan, China. We know there is the Wuhan Institute of Virology just a handful of miles away from where the wet market was. There is still lots to learn. You should know that the United States government is working diligently to figure it out."

"We really need the Chinese government to open up" and help explain "exactly how this virus spread".

"The Chinese government needs to come clean," he added.

Novel coronavirus' possible emanation from the Wuhan Institute of Virology

Wuhan Institute of Virology
Twitter

After the Washington Post report on the virology lab was published, Fox News reported that there was increasing belief that the virus, although a naturally-occurring contagion, originated from the Wuhan Virology lab "not as a bio-weapon, but as part of China's effort to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States".

According to a Fox News source, although the initial viral transmission was bat-to-human, patient zero worked at the Wuhan lab, who then passed it on to her boyfriend. She visited Wuhan's local wet market, from where the virus spread.

As on April 16, coronavirus has infected over two million people and killed 134,616 others.