Skip to content

Hiding Information: Beijing Asked Labs to Destroy Coronavirus Samples

The South China Morning Post reported on May 15 that, at an early stage in the outbreak, Beijing confirmed it had ordered unauthorized laboratories to destroy samples of the novel coronavirus.

Liu Dengfeng, an official with the National Health Commission’s science and education department, said this was done at unauthorized labs to “prevent the risk to laboratory biological safety and to prevent secondary disasters that unidentified pathogens might cause.”

The South China Morning Post also reported that, according to a provincial health commission notice issued in February, those handling virus samples were ordered not to provide them to any institutions or labs without approval. Unauthorized labs that obtained samples in the early stage of the outbreak had to destroy them or send them to a municipal center for disease control and prevention for storage.

The article mentioned that the Chinese magazine Caixin reported in February that some hospitals had sent samples to private gene sequencing companies to identify the mystery virus early in the outbreak. The report said that some of those results came back as early as December 27 and were identified as being from the same coronavirus family as SARS. According to the report, one company had been told to destroy all virus samples.

The National Health Commission started investigating the virus on December 31 and informed the World Health Organization of the outbreak the same day. On January 3, it ruled out that the virus was a known pathogen causing respiratory disease, and on January 9, it said the illness was caused by a novel coronavirus. It was later named Sars-CoV-2, and the disease it causes was named Covid-19.

Related postings on Chinascope:

Source: South China Morning Post, May 15, 2020