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Investigation of US labs necessary for COVID-19 origins tracing: S. African media

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-09-10 09:19
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Personnel at work in the biosafety level-4 laboratory at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick in 2002. [OLIVIER DOULIERY/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE]

JOHANNESBURG -- It is a great irony that while the United States blames China for the coronavirus and tries to play up the lab leak theory, it has refused to allow investigations into its own biowarfare activities which potentially pose a danger to the world, wrote a senior editor with the South African news and information website Independent Online (IOL).

Shannon Ebrahim, group foreign editor for Independent Media which own the IOL, said in an opinion article recently that the World Health Organization (WHO) released a joint WHO-China study on the origins of COVID-19, which found that a leak from the Wuhan laboratory was highly unlikely.

"The US was part of the WHO-China study group, but continues to cast aspersions on the authenticity of the report. But more than 80 countries have supported the joint WHO-China study," she wrote.

Ebrahim said the United States has continued to make a case about China's culpability, "but the US report, which was released on August 27, has been widely criticised for having politicised the issue, and being anti-science."

"While the US continues to create a narrative around China, it hides the fact that it is the largest funder and implementer of coronavirus research worldwide," Ebrahim added.

She pointed out that the United States has over 200 bio labs outside the country, but the international community knows nothing about whether the activities in those laboratories are consistent with the Biological Weapons Convention. "A security incident at any one of them could have catastrophic consequences for the world," she said.

China has made a request for the WHO to investigate US Fort Detrick biological lab and the University of North Carolina in terms of COVID-19 origins tracing, but this has so far been denied, the columnist said.

"Given the many questions that still exist around the origins of COVID-19, such investigations are imperative in order to make proper and accurate findings," she added.

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