A Chinese scientist with ties to the United States reportedly filed a patent for a COVID-19 vaccine before the declaration of the pandemic.
Yusen Zhou, who was a scientist for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), submitted the paperwork on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party on February 24, 2020, according to The Australian newspaper. The date was five weeks after China first confirmed human transmission of the coronavirus and two weeks before the declaration of the pandemic.
“This is something we have never seen achieved before, raising the question of whether this work may have started much earlier,” Flinders University’s Professor Nikolai Petrovsky, told The Australian.
Zhou died mysteriously less than three months after he filed the patent for the vaccine. According to The New York Post, only one Chinese media outlet reported his death, even though he was one of China’s leading scientists. Zhou had strong ties to the United States and carried out postdoctoral research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine before working for the PLA.
The close relationship between the two countries supports declassified US intelligence released in January, which said the Wuhan lab was conducting “secret military activity,” The Australian reports.
“Despite the WIV presenting itself as a civilian institution, the United States has determined that the WIV has collaborated on publications and secret projects with China’s military,” the intelligence stated, the New York Post reports. Zhou also supposedly ‘worked closely’ with scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), including the deputy director of the lab who is famous for her research on coronavirus in bats, Shi Zhengli.
The theory that a lab released the virus became more mainstream recently, although it has been deemed as a conspiracy theory over the last year.
The lab leak theory has gained traction after a study by Professor Angus Dalgeish and scientist Dr. Birger Sørensen, which alleges that the virus was reverse engineered to make it seem like it came from bats. They said it is “beyond reasonable doubt” that the disease was produced through “laboratory manipulation.”
There was “deliberate destruction, concealment or contamination of data” in Chinese labs and “Chinese scientists who wished to share their knowledge have not been able to do so or have disappeared,” the report said. The report will be published in the scientific journal Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery, and the Daily Mail reported it first.
In President Joe Biden’s investigation into the origin of the virus, the death of Zhou will reportedly be probed. Last month, Biden said the US intelligence community will “double their efforts” to find the origin of the COVID-19 outbreak. Spies will be investigating whether the virus jumped from animal to human or if it was released from a lab.