Once again the timeline surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted – this time with the revelation that a researcher based in Beijing had already mapped the COVID-19 sequence two weeks before the CCP revealed its details to the world, raising questions over what other critical information China may have obscured from view – and why.
The sequence came from a 65-year-old Chinese deliveryman who was hospitalized with high fever and coughing on Dec. 18, and became critically ill four days later.
According to documents released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Ren Lili – a current Beijing-based recipient of US federal grants via US nonprofit group EcoHealth Alliance, uploaded the COVID-19 sequence into an NIH US government genetic database on Dec. 28, 2019 – when Chinese official were still calling the disease an unknown pneumonia, and ordered health workers not to spread any information about the disease or face harsh penalties.
Over two weeks later on Jan. 12, Beijing shared the genetic sequence with the World Health Organization. Two days later, the CCP acknowledged that the disease could spread between humans.
The NIH’s GenBank repository to which the sequence was uploaded by Ms. Ren subsequently notified her that the submission was “incomplete” and “lacked the necessary information required for publication,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Ren – who works at the state-run Institute of Pathogen Biology – was asked by the NIH for more information, but the agency never heard back, resulting in the removal of the sequence from the database on Jan. 16, 2020. During the same period, GenBank received a near-identical COVID-19 genetic sequence from a different researcher, which was published Jan. 12, 2020, according to a letter released by the Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday.
The newly unearthed information points to yet more evidence of the CCP’s lack of transparency on the origins of COVID-19.