Is coronavirus part of Chinese biological warfare?

Hours after Chinese officials confirmed nearly 6,000 cases of the mysterious illness, a journal on Geopolitical and International Relations, “Great Game India” published an article by Tyler Durden raising a question if China stole coronavirus from Canada to weaponize it?

Researchers think the new virus probably came from bats, with which it shares 80 percent of its genetic makeup.  But we still don’t know which animal passed it on to humans. Last week a Chinese team suggested it could be a snake, but that was immediately challenged by other experts, who think a mammal is the more likely culprit. Identifying which animal it was could help fight the outbreak.

However, Great Game India claimed that its investigation had linked the agents to Chinese Biological Warfare Program from where the virus is suspected to leak causing the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak. 

The death toll from China’s coronavirus epidemic, meanwhile, has climbed to 1,868, mostly in the worst-hit Hubei Province. The total number of confirmed cases was reported to stand at 72,346 with over 1.41 lakh people who have been in direct contact with confirmed patients being kept under medical observation. China announced measures such as closing non-essential public venues and stringent traffic restrictions to contain the epidemic in the worst-hit Hubei.

Indian Ambassador in Beijing Vikram Misri said India will do everything within its means to assist the people of China to combat the deadly coronavirus outbreak and would soon send a consignment of medical supplies. Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said the Japanese government said that all tourists stranded on board the ship Diamond Princess have now been tested for the coronavirus. All passengers who have tested negative were allowed to leave the ship. Over 400 people on board the ship have tested positive so far, including six Indians. Health authorities across the world are racing to prevent the pandemic as the virus threat spreads.

India too is affected by the disease. More than 2,000 people are still under observation for the virus in the Indian state of Kerala. In further relief to Kerala, a student treated for the COVID-19 was discharged on February 16 after two consecutive test results came back negative, thus becoming India’s second patient to recover from the infection, health authorities said.

It said that last year a mysterious shipment was caught smuggling Coronavirus from Canada. It was traced to Chinese agents working at a Canadian lab. Its story goes like this. On June 13, 2012 a 60-year-old Saudi man was admitted to a private hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with a 7-day history of fever, cough, expectoration, and shortness of breath. He had no history of cardiopulmonary or renal disease, was receiving no long-term medications, and did not smoke.

Egyptian virologist Dr. Ali Mohamed Zaki isolated and identified a previously unknown coronavirus from his lungs. After routine diagnostics failed to identify the causative agent, Zaki contacted Ron Fouchier, a leading virologist at the Erasmus Medical Center (EMC) in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, for advice.   Fouchier sequenced the virus from a sample sent by Zaki. Fouchier used a broad-spectrum “pan-coronavirus” real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method to test for distinguishing features of a number of known coronaviruses known to infect humans.

This coronavirus sample was acquired by Scientific Director Dr. Frank Plummer of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg directly from Fouchier, who received it from Zaki.  The Great Game India alleges that Chinese agents allegedly stole this virus from the Canadian lab.  It further alleges that coronavirus arrived at Canada’s NML Winnipeg facility on May 4, 2013 from the Dutch lab. The Canadian lab grew up stocks of the virus and used it to assess diagnostic tests being used in Canada. Winnipeg scientists worked to see which animal species can be infected with the new virus.

NML has a long history of offering comprehensive testing services for coronaviruses. It isolated and provided the first genome sequence of the SARS coronavirus and identified another coronavirus NL63 in 2004. Chinese agents allegedly targeted this Winnipeg based Canadian lab in what could be termed as Biological Espionage.

Biological Espionage

In March 2019, in mysterious event a shipment of exceptionally virulent viruses from Canada’s NML ended up in China. Scientists from NML had reportedly said the highly lethal viruses were a potential bio-weapon.  Following investigation, the incident was traced to Chinese agents working at NML.  The NML is Canada’s only level-4 facility and one of only a few in North America equipped to handle the world’s deadliest diseases, including Ebola, SARS, Coronavirus, etc.

The NML scientist who was escorted out of the Canadian lab along with her husband, another biologist, and members of her research team is alleged to be a Chinese Bio-Warfare agent. The agent was studying powerful viruses in Canada’s NML.  The couple is allegedly responsible for infiltrating Canada’s NML with many Chinese agents as students from a range of Chinese scientific facilities directly tied to China’s Biological Warfare Programme including Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hubei.

The Canadian investigation is still going on and questions remain whether previous shipments to China of other viruses or other essential preparations, took place from 2006 to 2018, one way or another.

The alleged agents aka scientist allegedly made at least five trips over the school year 2017-18 to the above-mentioned Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  Coincidentally, the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory is located only 20 miles away from the Huanan Seafood Market, which is the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak dubbed the Wuhan Coronavirus.

The Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory is housed at the Chinese military facility Wuhan Institute of Virology linked to China’s Biologi9cal Warfare Programme.   The Wuhan institute has studied coronaviruses in the past; including the strain that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, H5N1 influenza virus, Japanese encephalitis, and dengue. Researchers at the institute also studied the germ that causes anthrax – a biological agent once developed in Russia.

Biological Warfare

China’s Biological Warfare Programme is believed to be in an advanced stage that includes research and development, production and weaponization capabilities. Its current inventory is believed to include the full range of traditional chemical and biological agents with a wide variety of delivery systems including artillery rockets, aerial bombs, sprayers, and short-range ballistic missiles.  In fact, China’s national strategy of military-civil fusion has highlighted biology as a priority, and the People’s Liberation Army – PLA could be at the forefront of expanding and exploiting this knowledge.

The PLA is pursuing military applications for biology and looking into promising intersections with other disciplines, including brain science, supercomputing, and artificial intelligence. Since 2016, the Central Military Commission has funded projects on military brain science, advanced biomimetic systems, biological and biomimetic materials, human performance enhancement, and “new concept” biotechnology.  Strategists who talk about potential “genetic weapons” and the possibility of a “bloodless victory” guide Chinese military’s interest in biology as an emerging domain of warfare.

Till the Canadian investigation is complete about theft and shipments of viruses to China, the mystery and questions as to how coronavirus entered China would remain. As of now at the time of filing of this report more than 6000 cases had been confirmed in China, its country of origin, of which 106 have been fatal. Several cases have been detected in Asian countries including India, as well as a few in Australia, France and the United States.