US government's top infectious disease scientist Dr Anthony Fauci  (L) and Chinese Virologist Dr. Li-Meng Yan
US government's top infectious disease scientist Dr Anthony Fauci (L) and Chinese Virologist Dr. Li-Meng Yan

Washington:

A Chinese virologist, who was among the first to suggest the COVID-19 virus leaked from a Wuhan lab, said that US top coronavirus advisor Anthony Fauci's emails prove that she was right all along.

A trove of Fauci's emails covering the onset of the coronavirus outbreak was released this week to the media under a freedom of information request.

In one email sent last April, an executive at a health charity thanked Fauci for publicly stating that scientific evidence does not support the lab-leak theory.

Dr. Li-Meng Yan was one of the first to research the emerging coronavirus and previously revealed she was forced into hiding after accusing Beijing of a cover-up.

Now, as international leaders finally focus on her Wuhan lab-leak theory, the scientist told Newsmax that Fauci's emails contain "a lot of useful information" suggesting he always knew more than he revealed.

"They verify my work from the very beginning, even from last January, that these people know what happened, but they choose to hide for the Chinese Communist Party and for their own benefits," Yan insisted speaking of the treasure trove of documents released this week.

"He knows all these things," she insisted of Fauci and the apparent gain-of-function work carried out by the notorious Wuhan lab.

One email, she said, showed that "Dr. Fauci even back to 1st of February last year immediately realised that there would be gain-of-function experiment involved in the COVID-19 virus." Over 3,000 pages of emails were obtained by the Washington Post, Buzzfeed News and CNN through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, date from January to June 2020.

The emails have sparked the debate whether Fauci chose to remain mum despite knowing about the onset of the virus. Dr Fauci and his colleagues took notice, in the early days, of the theory that COVID-19 may have leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

In an interview with CNN, Fauci said the email had been taken out of context by critics and he had an "open mind" about the origin of the virus.

With regard to the "lab leak" email, the doctor told CNN that he still finds it unlikely that a Wuhan laboratory released the virus.

"I don't remember what's in that redacted [email], but the idea I think is quite far-fetched that the Chinese deliberately engineered something so that they could kill themselves as well as other people," he said.

Amid criticism of an inconclusive international probe into the virus' origins and new reports of Covid-related illness in the region weeks before it was officially identified, the theory is once again sparking debate.

Importantly, of the two billion COVID-19 vaccine doses distributed globally till now, about 60 per cent have gone to just three countries - the US, India and China, a WHO senior adviser said.

Senior Advisor to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Bruce Aylward made the comments at a press briefing on Friday. "This week, we will see over 2 billion doses, landmark in terms of the number of doses of the vaccines and new vaccines that have actually been developed. These have been distributed now in over 212 countries," Aylward said. Aylward noted that "at the other end of the spectrum", only about 0.5 per cent of doses globally have gone to the lowest income countries that account for about 10 per cent of the world's population.

The Group of Seven (G7) agreed on Friday to speed up cooperation on vaccine and therapeutic trials to tackle C-19 and future pandemics, the UK govt has announced after hosting a two-day meeting of the bloc's health ministers at the University of Oxford.

On the other hand, a columnist of Russia's RIA Novosti news agency says it is unfounded for the US to accuse China.

"The only information on which the whole anti-Chinese narrative is based" is an article in The Wall Street Journal, "which claimed that even before the official start of the pandemic, some scientists in Wuhan city in central China fell ill with something similar to the coronavirus. However, this whole story is absolutely murky and groundless," Victoria Nikiforova said.

She noted that the "entertaining" timeline of events that happened in the summer and autumn of 2019 is alarming, the Xinhua news agency reported.

"The famous US military bilogical laboratory, Fort Detrick, suddenly closed in August. The most dangerous viruses and bacteria on the planet were stored and researched at the facility," she wrote.

"The lovingly selected collection contains anthrax, smallpox and plague. Classified scientists were creatively experimenting with these samples, developing new and even more dangerous options on their basis," the journalist added.

Nikiforova noted that suddenly the Fort Detrick laboratory closed due to some kind of a leak, and there is no information about what exactly has escaped, where and in what quantities.

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