Data show Wuhan lab examining coronavirus may have been shut down in October


Published: 2020-05-10 10:40

Last Updated: 2024-06-14 07:38

The Wuhan lab
The Wuhan lab

US and UK intelligence analysts are reviewing cellphone location data which indicate that the Wuhan lab examining the coronaviruses may have been shut down in October, the NBC News reported.

The report, obtained by the London-based NBC News Verification Unit, says there was no cellphone activity in a high-security portion of the Wuhan Institute of Virology from October 7 through October 24, 2019, and that there may have been a "hazardous event" sometime between October 6 and October 11. However, it offers no direct evidence of a shutdown or any proof for the theory that the virus emerged accidentally from the lab.

If there was such a shutdown, which has not been confirmed, it could be seen as evidence of a possibility being examined by U.S. intelligence agencies and alluded to by Trump administration officials, including the president, that the novel coronavirus emerged accidentally from the lab.

Many scientists are skeptical, arguing that the more likely explanation is that the virus was transmitted to humans through animals in a Wuhan live produce market. The World Health Organization (WHO) said it believed the "wet" market played a role in the spread of the disease.

The first known case of coronavirus in China has been traced back to November 17, but some researchers are beginning to question that timeline, given that a case has been documented in France in December.

Some officials are skeptical of the analysis, which is based on commercially available cellphone location data. One U.S. official who has seen the document said the data "looks really weak to me and some of the conclusions don't make sense."

Analysts are now examining what was collected in October and November for clues suggesting any anomalies at the lab, officials said.

Read more: Trump blames Wuhan lab for coronavirus, threatens China tariffs

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