A CHINESE scientist warned of the enormous danger posed by her own research after creating a new form of coronavirus in a Wuhan lab, it has been revealed.
Shi Zhengli, Wuhan Institute of Virology's lead coronavirus researcher, was among a number of scientists who proved in 2015 that the spike protein of a novel coronavirus could infect human cells, Vanity Fair reports.
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Experts inserted a protein from a Chinese rufous horseshoe bat into a SARS virus from 2002, creating a coronavirus which could infect humans.
This "Frankenvirus" experiment – when scientists tinker with viruses to see if they can infect or spread faster – was so alarming that the authors flagged the danger, writing "scientific review panels may deem similar studies…too risky to pursue".
"The potential to prepare for and mitigate future outbreaks must be weighed against the risk of creating more dangerous pathogens," concerned researchers wrote.
The study, published in Nature Medicine in 2015, was intended to raise an alarm and warn the world of "a potential risk of SARS-CoV re-emergence from viruses currently circulating in bat populations".
The research by Dr Zhengli – known as "batwoman" for her research on the animals – and the University of North Carolina epidemiologist Ralph Baric suggests the idea of a virus leaking from the lab is possible.
The study was uncovered by a team of investigators working to identify the origins of the Covid outbreak, commissioned by Matthew Pottinger, the deputy National Security Adviser during the Trump presidency.
According to Vanity Fair, Pottinger said US officials had been too quick to dismiss the lab leak theory and did not pay enough attention to the work of his team.
During the probe, experts were repeatedly advised not to open a "Pandora's box", four former State Department officials told the magazine.
A statement published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on April 30 last year downplayed the lab leak theory.
But Pottinger said this was a mistake, adding: "It was pure panic."
He said: "They were getting flooded with queries. Someone made the unfortunate decision to say, 'We basically know nothing, so let's put out the statement.'"
"Gain of function" or "Frankenvirus" experiments are banned in the US and other countries due to fears of a souped-up virus leaking from labs – and causing lethal pandemics like the world is experiencing right now.
Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, previously told Sun Online: "Gain-of-function research of concern — no matter where it is performed — risks creating new pandemic pathigens and of triggering new pandemics."
It comes as US President Joe Biden last month announced a review of the Covid lab leak theory.
The US president said the intelligence community will "redouble their efforts" to discover the origins of the Covid outbreak and report back to him within 90 days.
But China has raged that the Wuhan robe will be like the "US finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq" and warned the West faces its "Waterloo".
An editorial published by Communist Party-run Global Times claims the American government is "full of arrogance" and blasts the theory that Covid-19 emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian saying Biden is not interested in "serious" scientific origin tracing and doesn't care about "facts or truth".
The article also accuses the American government of "playing political games to hijack science" by demanding that the WHO should "serve the political interests of the US".
The state newspaper accuses US intelligence agencies of having lost their credibility and "fabricating lies for political purposes".
Reports have also revealed that British intelligence officials are recruiting Chinese whistleblowers on the dark web over fears Covid leaked from the infamous Wuhan lab.
British intelligence has reportedly assessed the theory recently and upgraded its likeliness from "remote" to "feasible", reports The Sunday Times.
The dark web – the shadowy underbelly of the internet – allows Chinese sources to share secrets without fears of being caught by the Communist Party.
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