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Report: Wuhan lab staff sought hospital care weeks before COVID-19 outbreak

Christian Fernsby |
Researchers from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology became so ill in November 2019 that they required hospital treatment, the Wall Street Journal has reported as the international community continues to probe Covid-19's origins.

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According to a US intelligence report cited by the paper, three staff members from the institute became so ill that they required hospital care weeks before Beijing acknowledged the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

One source told the Wall Street Journal that the intelligence was provided by a foreign ally and could be significant but required further verification. Another person familiar with the matter described the information as coming from various sources, adding that the intelligence was of “exquisite quality” and “very precise.”

However, the individual acknowledged that the intelligence did not reveal why the researchers fell ill.

Notably, a State Department document issued during the final days of Donald Trump’s administration said several researchers from the institute became sick in the fall of 2019 with symptoms associated with Covid-19, as well as more common seasonal illnesses.

According to the Journal, President Joe Biden’s administration hasn’t disputed the claim that Wuhan researchers fell ill weeks before the Covid-19 outbreak was made public.

But one administration official told the paper that Trump’s government had “put spin on the ball” by interpreting the intelligence as clear evidence that the virus came from the laboratory. Several other current US officials said the information was “circumstantial” but worthy of further investigation.

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