Long before the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus that has so far killed 25 people in China, scientists spoke of their fears about a new laboratory being built to study some of the world’s most dangerous viruses.
The deadly animal virus epidemic spreading globally may have originated in a Wuhan laboratory linked to China’s covert biological weapons program, according to an Israeli biological warfare expert.
Radio Free Asia this week rebroadcast a local Wuhan television report from 2015 showing China’s most advanced virus research laboratory known the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Radio Free Asia reported.
The laboratory is the only declared site in China capable of working with deadly viruses.
Dany Shoham, a former Israeli military intelligence officer who has studied Chinese bio warfare, said the institute is linked to Beijing’s covert biological weapons program.
“Certain laboratories in the institute have probably been engaged, in terms of research and development, in Chinese [biological weapons], at least collaterally, yet not as a principal facility of the Chinese BW alignment,” Mr. Shoham told The Washington Times.
Work on biological weapons is conducted as part of a dual civilian-military research and is “definitely covert,” he said in an email.
Mr. Shoham holds a doctorate in medical microbiology. From 1970 to 1991 he was a senior analyst with Israeli military intelligence for biological and chemical warfare in the Middle East and worldwide, holding the rank of lieutenant colonel.
China in the past has denied having any offensive biological weapons. The State Department, in a report last year, said it suspects China has engaged in covert biological warfare work.
A Chinese Embassy spokesman did not return an email seeking comment.