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‘Chinese experts mapped Covid virus 2 weeks before officially informing world’ – Times of India

NEW YORK: A team of Chinese researchers identified and mapped SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic, at least two weeks before the country officially informed the world about the virus, according to media reports. The reports, based on documents from the US department of health and human services (HHS) and shared with a US congressional committee, raise concerns about China transparency on the virus.
The congressional investigators said Chinese researcher Lili Ren uploaded an incomplete sequence of the virus’s structure to a US government-run database GenBank on Dec 29, 2019, Wall Street Journal reported.Three days later GenBank informed Ren her submission was incomplete and requested that she provide the complete information, Washington Post reported. As Ren did not submit the requested annotations, her submission was deleted from GenBank’s processing queue on Jan 16, 2020.
A “nearly identical” genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 was submitted to GenBank by a separate team of Chinese researchers and was published on Jan 12, 2020, revealed a letter sent by a senior HHS official to the committee and that was made public Wednesday. Health experts who reviewed the documents said this was a missed opportunity to learn more about the virus at the beginning of the health emergency. ians

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