REPORT: COVID ‘Patient Zero’ Was Wuhan Lab Scientist Conducting Gain-Of-Function Research


Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
Font Size:

The first three patients to come down with COVID-19 more than three-and-a-half years ago were lab researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), according to a new report from journalists Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi and Alex Gutentag.

The report, published Tuesday on Shellenberger’s “Public” Substack, claims Wuhan lab researchers Ben Hu, Yu Ping and Yan Zhu are “patients zero” for COVID-19, citing anonymous U.S. government officials involved in investigating the origins of COVID-19. The Directorate of National Intelligence is expected to release formerly classified material on the origins of COVID-19 later in June, potentially including the names of the three scientists, according to Public and Racket News, Taibbi’s Substack project.

Hu is considered the protégé of Shi Zhengli, China’s “batwoman” scientist infamous for her gain-of-function research on bat-based viruses, Dr. Alina Chan told Public. He allegedly led the gain-of-function research team at the WIV in the lead-up to the COVID-19 pandemic, doing dangerous work on SARS-like coronaviruses, according to Public.

It was already known that some scientists working in Wuhan had become ill with COVID-like symptoms in November 2019, and that the Chinese Communist Party worked to conceal information about their health from the outside world. But Public is the first to report the supposed identities of those scientists and claim they were the first known cases of COVID-19.

A 2017 video cited by Public allegedly shows Hu at the WIV watching another researcher handle lab specimens, with neither of them wearing protective gear. It also appears to show WIV scientists searching for virus samples in the wild with relatively little protective equipment. (RELATED: ‘Dark, Dark Tunnel’: GOP Senators Report Second Lab Leak From Wuhan Institute Of Virology)

Hu co-authored a number of coronavirus research papers, including a 2017 paper with Peter Daszak, the founder of EcoHealth Alliance. EcoHealth is a U.S.-based nonprofit that funneled American taxpayer-funded grants to the WIV for dangerous research.

In an article published Saturday, the Times of London quoted an anonymous State Department official who reportedly said “It has become increasingly clear that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was involved in the creation, promulgation and cover-up of the Covid-19 pandemic.”