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US State Department released 2018 Cable that helped Spread Claims that COVID-19 emerged from a Chinese Laboratory

  • The US State Department has released a 2018 diplomatic cable, which noted that there was a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China and these technicians and investigators need proper training so that they can “safely operate this high-containment laboratory”. Earlier this year, contents of this 2-year-old cable were leaked, providing fodder for unproven allegations from Trump administration members and Congress. They claimed that the deadly COVID-19 virus (which caused the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic) may have escaped from the lab of Wuhan Institute of Virology at the epicenter of the virus. The January 2018 cable said that the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is training technicians at WIV to alleviate the shortage of trained technicians at the latter. A second cable from April 2018 cited a French official saying that guidance and bio-safety training to the lab had been provided by French experts. Though US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier suggested that Wuhan Institute of Virology was responsible for spreading the COVID-19 infection across the world, he seems to have backed away from the theory the virus originated in a lab. In a recent interview, Pompeo said: “We know it began in Wuhan, but we don't know from where or from whom, and those are important things.”