In 2018 the U.S. Embassy in Beijing sent some of our science diplomats to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a facility which had earned the highest level of international bioresearch safety. What they saw troubled them so much they repeatedly contacted Washington over it:

What the U.S. officials learned during their visits concerned them so much that they dispatched two diplomatic cables categorized as Sensitive But Unclassified back to Washington. The cables warned about safety and management weaknesses at the WIV lab and proposed more attention and help. The first cable, which I obtained, also warns that the lab’s work on bat coronaviruses and their potential human transmission represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic.

“During interactions with scientists at the WIV laboratory, they noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory,” states the Jan. 19, 2018, cable, which was drafted by two officials from the embassy’s environment, science and health sections who met with the WIV scientists.

The research was supposedly designed to study how bat coronaviruses can be transmitted to humans so as to prevent the next SARS breakout, but our science diplomats were concerned enough about the lack of adherence to safety (and others with the “unnecessary risks” undertaken by the lead project researcher.

Is it proof that China bioengineered a pandemic? The news of these cables only adds more questions to this theory.

Still seems like a lot of people really, really owe Senator Tom Cotton an apology, including the publication that reported the above excerpted piece. A British publication has even more speculation as to how the virus possibly made the jump from bats to humans.

Some of the reaction to this headline: