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© Reuters / Thomas Peter
American virologists ridiculed a bombshell claim by Chinese scientist-turned-'whistleblower' Li-Meng Yan that Covid-19 was produced in the Wuhan laboratory, as the news went viral across US media and social networks.

Yan certainly grabbed the headlines when she told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that she has "solid evidence" that the dreaded Covid-19, which infected almost 30 million people around the world and killed more than 935,000, was "deliberately" produced in the Wuhan laboratory. She did not stop at that and went on to claim that Beijing also released the deadly virus "intentionally" to inflict "damage" on the world.

The virologist, who worked at Hong Kong University before reportedly fleeing to the US, made her claims days after publishing a preprint of a study supposedly proving the 'man-made' nature of the novel coronavirus.

The news was immediately picked up by the media in the US and abroad. There was also no shortage of public personalities and pundits breaking the news and pushing Yan's narrative on social media.

Yan's colleagues within the scientific community appeared to be much less fascinated by her surprise 'revelation', though. A group of prominent American virologists almost immediately ridiculed her study, which has not yet been published in any reputable scientific journals and has not apparently been peer-reviewed, as a "fantasy and conspiracy" that has little to do with science.

Some of them certainly minced no words while describing the contents of Yan's study.

Others also pointed to the fact that the study preprint mentions the Rule of Law Society and the Rule of Law Foundation on its front page.

The two organizations had nothing to do with scientific publications until recently but instead operated as non-profits focused solely on bringing "democracy" and "rule of law" to China while exposing all of Beijing's perceived misdeeds. Both of them were founded by Steve Bannon - US President Donald Trump's former campaign chief executive, adviser and strategist, who has recently been indicted on charges of wire fraud and money laundering.

Bannon, who describes himself as an 'ultra-hawk' on China, earlier claimed to have "shocking" evidence proving the virus originated in the Wuhan lab and the Chinese Communist Party had a hand in it, while citing evidence from some Chinese scientists who "defected" to the US.

Twitter apparently did not fall for Yan's narrative either since it blocked the Chinese virologist's account soon after she posted a link to her preprint. While the exact cause of the move remains unknown, many people immediately guessed it was because of her publication with some of them accusing Twitter of "covering for" the Chinese Communist Party.

Comment: Twitter bans almost anything that goes against the Covid narrative, so they hardly deserve praise or ire in this case. A broken clock is right twice a day, after all.

It is not the first time the self-described whistleblower has sparked controversy with her statements. Back in July, she told Fox News in another interview that Beijing knew about the Covid-19 human-to-human transmission well before it claimed it did. Yan also claimed to have studied the virus as early as December 2019 while accusing her supervisors at Hong Kong University of "suppressing" her findings.

Her words were rejected by Hong Kong University which said in a statement Yan "never conducted any research on human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus at HKU during December 2019 and January 2020."

"The content of the said news report does not accord with the key facts as we understand them," the university said at that time.

High-ranking US officials, including Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo repeatedly claimed that Covid-19 might have originated in the Wuhan lab, with the latter appealing to some "enormous evidence."

No conclusive proof has been presented to the public to support such claims, and Western intelligence services have admitted on several occasions that they had no such evidence. The head of the Wuhan laboratory repeatedly denied any links to the virus' origins and said Chinese scientists "did not even know it existed" before the outbreak.