A BRIT expert who is part of the WHO team probing the origins of Covid is pals with a Chinese scientist facing allegations over a "lab leak" and said he wanted to "party in a bat cave".
Peter Daszak is working with the World Health Orgnisation to investigate the start of the pandemic as claims grow of a Communist Party cover up.
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Covid is believed to have first emerged in the Chinese city, which happens to be the location of the Wuhan Institution of Virology, a lab that specialises in research into bat-linked coronaviruses.
Daszak, head of the EcoHealth Alliance, originally from Manchester, has vehemently defended the lab and has rubbished any suggestions the virus may have come from a leak.
The Sun Online however can reveal he was openly chumming up with them as recently as November – only for him to then join the supposedly impartial inquiry into the virus's origins.
He tweeted: "Looking forward to that special moment when we hit the baiju and the karaoke with Zhengli & Linfa."
The scientist appears to be referring to Wuhan virologist Dr Shi Zhengli, known as Bat Woman, while baijiu is a type of Chinese liquor which can have up to 65 per cent alcohol content.
Some 300 of Dr Shi's studies have been erased amid the pandemic, raising more questions over China's attempts to stall investigators.
She has repeatedly denied the virus came from her lab, despite admitting she initially feared it was possible.
Daszak's tweet also appears to be referring to Linfa Wang, an emerging diseases expert from China who was reported by ScienceMag to have been "by pure chance" visiting the Wuhan lab as the outbreak was emerging last January.
Right now a party in a bat cave sounds just right to me
And in a follow up tweet responding to another scientist, he wrote: "Right now a party in a bat cave sounds just right to me!!"
Another tweeter asked about playing music at the cave party, and Daszak responded: "Well I reckon the bats would mass poop – and that’s not a good thing re coronavirus exposure!!".
The string of tweets appears to have been sparked by him celebrating the election of Joe Biden as US President.
Covid has so far infected 91million people and killed almost 2million since it was first detected in Wuhan on December 31, 2019.
It comes as China has today confirmed scientists investigating the origins of Covid can enter the country after a last minute ban prompted further allegations of a cover-up.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE WUHAN INSTITUTE?
THE WUHAN Institute of Virology is the highest security level of its kind in all of China – and can be found right at the heart of the origins of the global pandemic.
Various theories have been swirling about the lab, which is headed up by Chinese scientist Dr Shi Zhengli, known as “Bat Woman”.
Most scientists do not believe the virus leaked from the lab, and the lab itself has categorically denied the claims.
The lab specialised in bat-borne viruses and had been carrying out experiences on them since 2015.
Airlocks, full body suits, and chemical showers are required before entering and leaving the lab – the first in China to be accredited with biosafety level 4 (BSL-4).
BSL-4 labs are the only places in the world where scientists can study diseases that have no cure.
Scientists from the lab even tested mysterious virus which killed three miners 1,000 miles away in Yunnan province back in 2012.
It has been suggested this fatal mystery bug may have been the true origin of Covid-19.
Experts at the lab also engineered a new type of hybrid 'super-virus' that can infect humans in 2015, according to medical journal Nature Medicine
Despite fears surrounding the research, the study was designed to show the risk of viruses carried by bats which could be transmitted to humans.
There is no suggestion the facility's 2015 work is linked to the pandemic.
The lab was also recruiting new scientists to probe coronaviruses in bats just seven days before the outbreak.
Dr Shi herself admitted she at first feared the virus may have leaked from her lab – before she claims they found it didn't match their samples.
China has began tightening security around its biolabs with President Xi Jinping saying it was a “national security” issue to improve scientific safety at a meeting last February.
Daszak has already been facing questions after it emerged his organisation channeled cash to the Wuhan lab.
The EcoHealth Alliance reportedly supported WIV with a slice from a $3.7million grant it received from the US government to research coronaviruses in bats.
Its funding was abruptly cut when the link emerged in April, before being reinstated in July under a set of conditions that Daszak branded "heinous", reported Nature.
WIV is known to have been creating hybrid coronaviruses for research purposes, but there is no suggestion Covid-19 is manmade.
China has repeatedly denied the allegations that Covid may have come from a lab and instead blamed global outbreaks.
Daszak is one of ten experts who were invited by WHO to join its team probing the outbreak.
The organisation itself facing questions about how it handled the early days of the pandemic, being accused by the US of being "China-centric".
Its team are due to arrive in China on January 14 after initially being banned from entry – which Communist authorities dubbed a "misunderstanding".
China has been accused of a cover-up that delayed its initial response, allowing the virus to spread and become a pandemic.
It come as one of US President Donald Trump's top advisors said last week that the "most credible" theory on the origins of the virus is that it cam from the lab in Wuhan.
MPs have called on the British government to also probe these claims as senior Tories told The Sun Online the allegations have to be "taken seriously".
Donald Trump's security advisor Matthew Pottinger – who resigned following the Capitol riot last week – said: "There is a growing body of evidence that the lab is likely the most credible source of the virus."
He described the emergence of the virus as a possible "leak or accident" and claimed even establishment figures in China are dismissing claims the bug came from a "wet market".
However, the eight-page mission statement for the WHO team makes no reference to investigating the possibility the virus emerged from a lab.
Daszak has already publicly pushed back against the lab leak theory, including in an article in The Guardian in June.
The scientist is also part of a 12-person team from Lancet investigating the origins of Covid-19.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has welcomed the news the team are due to finally arrive in China to begin their work.
He previously said he was "very disappointed" when experts were denied entry last week.
The United States has called for a "transparent" WHO-led investigation and criticised its terms, which allow Chinese scientists to do the first phase of preliminary research.
Ahead of the trip, Beijing has seeking to deflect blame, with senior diplomat Wang Yi saying "more and more studies" show the virus emerged in multiple regions.
China now claims to have mostly returned to normal since the pandemic, with scenes of packed nightclubs, theme parks and sports games now common again.
However, Sunday saw its biggest flare up in five months – with 103 new cases detected in mainland China.
More than 3million people have been infected in the UK, with 81,431 deaths, while China has only admitted to 87,536 cases and 4,634 deaths.
The Sun Online has contacted WHO and the EcoHealth Alliance for comment on Daszak's links to WIV.
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