Disused Chinese Copper Mine Surfaces in COVID19 Origin Mystery
Wall Street Journal recently reported that an abandoned copper mine in the mountains of the district of Tongguan in China’s southwestern province of Yunnan and the bats that inhabit it are now a focal point for escalating calls for a more thorough probe into whether the covid-19 pandemic could have stemmed from a Chinese lab. In 2012, six miners mysteriously fell sick with pneumonia-like symptoms after entering the mine to clear bat guano, three of them died. Chinese scientists from Wuhan Institute of Virology were called in to investigate and, after taking samples from bats in the mine, identified several new coronaviruses.
What was initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory, that the virus that causes covid-19 may have leaked from a lab in central Chinese city of Wuhan, has resurfaced, and researchers are turning to the disused copper mine as ground zero to address unanswered questions about the miners’ mysterious and deadly illness and the possible link to the pandemic.
The origin of the coronavirus has become highly politicised following accusations that China was not transparent in its early handling of the outbreak. Beijing has pushed the idea that the virus originated elsewhere.