The coronavirus was discovered after a lot of investment by China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) and was intentionally released from a lab as a bio-weapon, Chinese virologist Dr Le-Meng Yan said.
Yan, who was previously a post-doctoral fellow at Hong Kong University, fled to United States in April last year. In a paper published in September last year, she claimed that coronavirus was created by China in a research lab.
"...this document is one of the 'smoking gun' that can prove China has a long-term programme of non-traditional bio-weapons and (plans) to use it to conquer the whole world," Yan told India Today in an interview. She was referring to the leaked documents sourced by the US State Department which said Chinese military scientists investigated weaponising coronaviruses five years before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yan said China's objective is to deny the allegations and use misinformation to mislead the world when people realise the virus has come from a lab.
"I started telling people via YouTube anonymously from last January that this virus came from the PLA lab and that they discovered coronavirus after a lot of investment. They finally got a human-target virus and it was intentionally released. Also, the Chinese government knows it and that's why they immediately had a response after the waiting hours," she claimed.
Yan said the leaked documents show that genetic engineering of viruses in 2015 is not the beginning of China's study of contemporary bio-weapons, but is just one step in study of bio-weapons of which there is evidence now.
"But after that, they have also modified a lot and they have recruited a lot of labs under the cover of silo labs, under the cover of international labs, and working with the military to develop it. So they have better knowledge and experience after five-six years and that's what made COVID-19 happen," the virologist said.
US officials allegedly obtained papers, written in 2015 by military scientists and senior Chinese public health officials, as part of their own investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
In the papers, Chinese scientists described SARS coronaviruses - of which COVID is one example - as presenting a "new era of genetic weapons".