Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Wuhan Outbreak (Feb-16): Where Is Patient Zero?

The Wuhan Institute of Virology on Sunday denied rumors claiming that the first person to contract novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19), or patient zero of the COVID-19 came from the institute.

Huang Yanling, who received a master's degree from the institute in 2015, moved to work and live elsewhere after her graduation and has not been back to Wuhan since. She has never been infected by the virus and is in healthy condition, according to a statement the Wuhan Institute of Virology released on its website on Sunday.

The statement came after claims circulated on the internet on Saturday saying Huang was the patient zero of the novel coronavirus. At a crucial time fighting against the epidemic, this rumor has greatly disrupted the institute's research work, the institute said in the statement.

Wei Hongping, a research fellow at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and mentor of Huang, posted on his WeChat Moments that he recently called Huang and confirmed Huang was in good heath, the National Business Daily reported on Sunday.

Shi Zhengli, a research fellow at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, said on Saturday evening, "I can promise that not a single person was infected at our institute, including graduate students. We have zero infection cases," reported the Beijing News on Sunday.

Another scientist from the institute, Chen Quanjiao, added, "The Wuhan Institute of Virology has no infections, and the patient zero did not come from us," the Beijing News reported. According to an enrollment list the institute released on November 4, 2011, Huang was recommended by Southwest Jiaotong University to join the institute's masters program in 2012, the Beijing News reported.

Did COVID-19 originate from Wuhan Institute of Virology?

The first case of the novel coronavirus, officially called 'Covid-19' was reported on December 31, at Chinese city Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei province. Rumours are ripe that the first patient, who hasn't been identified yet, had links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The institute issued a statement on Sunday, in an attempt to bust the rumours. But the government's actions have further fanned them.

The first patient of Covid-19: Though the first patient of Covid-19 hasn't been identified, a Lancet study revealed that the patient never visited Wuhan's local sea-food and wet market, where the disease is said to have originated. A woman named Huang Yanling has claimed that she is the first patient of the deadly coronavirus. She was a graduate from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

A rumour went viral online which stated that the first person called ‘patient zero’ to contract this virus was a scientist from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. This viral tweet claims that a woman named Huang Yanling has been identified as ‘patient zero’ and was first infected with the Coronavirus.

There are hundreds of tweets claiming that patient zero has been identified. One user tweeted citing WeChat as a source, “patient zero turns out to be a Wuhan institute of virology researcher. And she was reported missing after confirming positive. Source: WeChat.”

Wuhan Institute of Virology denies claims: In a statement on Sunday, the institute attempted to bust rumours that the epidemic is linked to its lab, rather than the wet market. "Recently there has been fake information about Huang Yanling, a graduate from our institute, claiming that she was patient zero in the novel coronavirus", the institute said. Huang was a student at the institute till 2015 when she left the province and had not returned, it said. She hasn't contracted the disease and is in good health, the statement further added.

Which incidents have fanned the rumour? On Saturday, the Ministry of Science and Technology issued a directive calling for improved management of viruses by all biological labs and for the facilities to ensure biological safety, South China Morning Post reported. Also, the first patient didn't have any links with Wuhan's local wet market, where the disease is said to have originated. Thus, he contracted the virus from other source and not the now closed animal market.

According to a paper published in Science magazine, Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease specialist at Georgetown University in Washington, held that it was possible that the virus "came into that marketplace before it came out of that marketplace". The Wuhan Institute of Virology, the institute which is currently seen at the centre of the virus outbreak, is the only lab to be graded Biological Security Level 4, the highest level of biosafety precautions, in the mainland China.

Are there any previous cases of virus leak from Chinese labs? A Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2004 was due to a leak from a laboratory in 2004, killing one person and infecting nine others. The leak was due to negligence, for which five senior officials at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention were punished.

(Blogger's notes: Some Chinese I know used to joke that one can't even fart in Communist China without local Party bosses knowing it. Is it believable that the Chinese Communist Party still does not know who and where the patient zero of the Wuhan Virus Outbreak is? Rumours and innuendos are the natural weapons of the oppressed to counter the blatant concealment and outright lies of the oppressive ruling class.)