A newly-unearthed video shows live bats being held in cages at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a fact omitted by the World Health Organization (WHO) report and apparently denied in the past by investigation team member Dr. Peter Daszak.
The video, taken in May 2017 by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was unearthed by a group of scientists known as DRASTIC, who have been working to investigate the lab-leak theory of COVID-19 origin. The footage from inside the lab shows live bats being held at the facility, including one being fed a worm by a scientist there and another hanging from a worker’s hat.
The video also details the lab’s security measures that are in place in case of an accident, as well as “intense clashes” between Chinese officials and the French government about the construction of the laboratory and its safety.
A report produced by WHO investigators failed to note that live bats had been held in the facility, stating only that the “animal room in the P4 facility can handle a variety of species.”
Peter Daszak, the sole American member of the WHO’s Chinese-influenced investigation, previously denied that bats were ever held at the WIV. Using his non-profit group EcoHealth Alliance, Daszak funneled millions of dollars in National Institutes of Health grant money to the WIV over the course of several years to conduct bat-based virus research.
Earlier in June 2020, Daszak seemed to walk back his denial and said the WHO team had not asked Chinese officials if bats were housed at the facility.
Proof that bats were held at the facility grants more credibility to the lab-leak theory, which hypothesizes that COVID-19 was accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Critics of the theory typically argue that the virus originated naturally in the Yunnan Province, a 20-hour drive away from the first known outbreak of the virus, which was just miles away from the WIV.