UK-based The Mail on Sunday claimed that hundreds of pages of information relating to studies carried out by the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology have been deleted.
Details of more than 300 studies, including many investigating diseases that pass from animals to humans, published online by the state-run National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) are no longer available, according to The Mail on Sunday.
“The deletion of key evidence has reignited fears that China is trying to whitewash the investigation into the origins of the virus. It comes after President Xi Jinping last week blocked investigators from the World Health Organisation entering the country in a move that drew international condemnation. Meanwhile, state media outlets have published hundreds of stories claiming that the virus did not even originate in the city of Wuhan. As part of the NSFC’s purge of online studies, it has deleted all reference to those carried out by Shi Zhengli, the Wuhan-based virologist who has earned the nickname Batwoman for her trips to gather samples in bat caves,” according to The Mail on Sunday report.
This is not the first time that China has been accused of suppressing vital evidence about the origins of the virus.
Days before the WHO was alerted to the outbreak of Sars-like pneumonia cases in Wuhan in December 2019, the Wuhan Institute of Virology began altering its database of viral pathogens, according to The Mail on Sunday report.