China releases rare footage of tests inside coronavirus lab

Chinese state media have released rare footage of scientists conducting research at a Wuhan virology lab where the global coronavirus outbreak is believed to have originated, according to a report.

The video has emerged after chilling images from the Wuhan Institute of Virology showed a busted seal on a freezer where 1,500 strains of deadly pathogens – including the novel coronavirus – were stored, the UK’s Sun reported.

In the footage released by state broadcaster CCTV in February, scientists clad in full personal protective equipment are seen testing samples.

One of them, Zhang Huajun, demonstrates how he and a colleague donned their suits and passed thorough five hermetically sealed chambers before entering the main part of the facility.

Zhang said the $42 million lab, which was opened in 2018, was designed to prevent leaks by allowing air to only flow inside, not the other way around.

Twenty-four scientists can work inside the facility – which contains three testing rooms, two animal storage rooms and one virus bank — at the same time, the Sun reported.

Last month, state-owned China Daily published startling photos that showed a broken seal on a container harboring the virus strains. The images were quickly deleted.

On Saturday, the lab’s director denied that the bug accidentally spread from his facility.

“There’s no way this virus came from us,” Yuan Zhiming told state media on Saturday.

His denial came days after a fresh round of reports suggesting the novel coronavirus escaped from the Wuhan Institute or another similar lab miles away in the city.

“More and more we’re hearing the story … we are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation,” he said.

Two reports — one by Fox News and another in the Washington Post — have quoted anonymous sources raising concerns that the virus may have accidentally escaped from the facility.


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