REPORT: World’s Largest Bat Virus Research Facility is 3 Miles from Wuhan Animal Market

‘This is one of the worst cover-ups in human history…’

Report: World's Largest Bat Virus Research Facility Three Miles from Outbreak Epicenter

A store employee in a protectively suit waits for customers outside a re-opened retail street in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province/AP Photo

(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Chinese government scientists have discovered and isolated more than 2,000 animal viruses, including bat coronaviruses, in the past 12 years.

They have studied these viruses in a research facility three miles away from Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, where Chinese officials say the coronavirus originated, according to the Washington Times.

Tian Junhua led the bat coronavirus research near Wuhan, according to many Chinese state media organizations that praised the country’s pioneering virus research.

The Chinese Communist Party did not promptly disclose its knowledge about the new coronavirus, leading Americans to suspect that the virus may have come from a Chinese laboratory. Americans most wary of the Chinese government wonder whether virus accidentally escaped or was released.

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“This is one of the worst cover-ups in human history, and now the world is facing a global pandemic,” said Rep. Michael T. McCaul, Texas Republican and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

In a December 2019 video, Tian Junhua works in a cave in Hubei province where he collects samples from bats and puts them into vials.

“I am not a doctor, but I work to cure and save people,” Tian said. “I am not a soldier, but I work to safeguard an invisible national defense line.”

The Wuhan Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where Tian works, is the nation’s central location for bat virus research.

The video, called “Youth in the Wild — Invisible Defender,” shows researchers working with bats without proper precautions. At least once, Tian did not wear personal protective equipment, and bat urine touched his skin.

Chinese state media companies reported that Tian quarantined himself for 14 days.

“As long as I am not getting sick during the incubation period of 14 days, I can be lucky to get away with it,” he said.

The state-funded film says that China has “taken the lead” on the world’s virus research, discovering 2,000 viruses in 12 years, while only 2,284 viruses were found in the past two centuries.

“Bats have a large number of unknown viruses on their bodies,” Tian said. “The more thorough our research on bats is, the better it will be for human health.”

Tian also works with viruses from ticks, mice, and wasps.

Richard Ebright, a biosecurity researcher at Rutgers University, said the new coronavirus is a 96.2 percent match with a bat virus that the Wuhan laboratories isolated and studied in 2013.

He did not know whether virus escaped from the Wuhan laboratory or moved through natural animal to human transmission.

“Bat coronaviruses are collected and studied by laboratories in multiple parts of China — including Wuhan Municipal CDC and Wuhan Institute of Virology,” he told the Washington Times. “Therefore, the first human infection also could have occurred as a laboratory accident.”

For the first time since the coronavirus outbreak began, Wuhan opened public transportation last weekend and stores on Monday, including the wet wild animal markets.

Despite the pandemic, it does not appear that Wuhan’s wet market will be deterred from selling bats, scorpions, and other unhealthy animals.

Sanitary concerns remain low, too, as vendors will continue to slaughter some animals on site.