BRIT spies are helping the US uncover the truth behind the virus lab leak theory as it emerges China worked on a disease 96 per cent similar to Covid, reports say.
This comes after Joe Biden ordered officials to “redouble” their efforts to uncover the origin of the coronavirus following claims from scientists that it was man-made.
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UK intelligence chiefs have also been probing the origins of the pandemic despite China denying allegations the bug leaked from a lab.
A senior Whitehall source told Telegraph that British officials are working with the new US probe into the killer outbreak.
They said: “We are contributing what intelligence we have on Wuhan, as well as offering to help the American to corroborate and analyse any intelligence they have that we can assist with.
“What is required to establish the truth behind the coronavirus outbreak is well-sourced intelligence rather than informed analysis, and that is difficult to come by.”
The lab at the centre of the theory – the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) – is the only facility in China which deals with bat coronaviruses.
Studies show that one of the viruses collected by the lab’s scientists from a mine is a 96.2 per cent match for SARS-CoV-2 which causes Covid-19.
The virus originated from the anus of a horseshoe bat, reports the Daily Mail.
According to reports, four teams collected samples in the cave after miners working there fell ill.
What do we know about the Wuhan Institute of Virology?
THE Wuhan Institute of Virology is the highest security lab of its kind in all of China – and can be found right at the heart of the origins of the pandemic.
Various theories have been reported about the lab, which is headed up by scientist Dr Shi Zhengli, known as “Bat Woman”.
The lab specialises 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 facility – the first in China to be accredited with biosafety level 4 (BSL-4).
BSL-4 labs are the only areas in the world where scientists are permitted to study diseases that have no cure.
Scientists from the lab even tested a mysterious virus which killed three miners 1,000 miles away in Yunnan province back in 2012.
It has been suggested this fatal 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 journal Nature Medicine
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 and the facility denies the lab leak claims.
The lab was also recruiting new scientists to probe coronaviruses in bats just seven days before the outbreak.
The Chinese scientists reportedly found nine viruses in the mine which were sent to the WIV.
Britain and the US have both been critical of the probe carried out by the World Health Organisation which dismissed the lab leak theory.
It has since been claimed that Beijing withheld data and samples from WHO investigators during their visit to Wuhan in January.
This month, 18 of the world’s top scientists wrote a letter published in the journal Science calling an independent inquiry into the leak claims.
This week it emerged that three Wuhan lab staff became sick and needed hospital care weeks before China disclosed the virus outbreak to the world.
Citing a bombshell US intelligence report, the Wall Street Journal said the dossier revealed fresh details on the number of researchers affected.
It also shows the timing of their illnesses and their hospital visits in November 2019, when China officially detected the outbreak.
Meanwhile, Dr Anthony Fauci recently admitted he was “not convinced” Covid developed naturally.
At an event last week, journalist Katie Sanders asked Fauci: “There’s a lot of cloudiness around the origins of Covid-19 still, so I wanted to ask, are you still confident that it developed naturally?”
America’s top infectious disease expert responded: “No, actually. I am not convinced about that.
“I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened.”
More than 3.51 million people have died from Covid-19 worldwide — making it one of the deadliest pandemics in history.