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CLAIM ID

d0cd7414

Wuhan scientists planned to release coronaviruses into bat caves 18 months before the COVID-19 outbreak.

There are no credible reports or records to prove that Wuhan scientists planned to release any coronaviruses into bat caves.

Unreliable and non-credible reports recently claimed that researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) sought to introduce SARS-CoV-2 in bats more than a year before the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2019. There is no evidence so far to prove the origin of COVID-19; neither is there proof of WIV researchers spreading the virus.

In July 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) and China began laying the groundwork for a better understanding of the virus's origin. Terms of Reference (TORs) were agreed upon, which specified a phased methodology, study scope, guiding principles, and expected outputs. The TORs planned an initial Phase 1 of short-term investigations to learn more about how the virus got into Wuhan, China, and how it spread.

According to evidence from surveys and targeted investigations, the coronaviruses most closely related to SARS-CoV-2 are discovered in bats and pangolins, suggesting that these species may represent the virus's reservoir. WHO stated that "Such investigations can be regarded as approximations, but they do not conclusively verify the origins' period."

Live Science reported that researchers evaluated over 80,000 samples from wildlife and farm animals, including bats, cattle, and chickens, as part of a WHO inquiry into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 but found no SARS-CoV-2 in any of the samples.

The references to bat caves, coronaviruses, and China from 2018 come from the research to assess the origins of a certain kind of coronavirus infection contracted by some travelers. The Jinning County in China's Yunnan province was one such significant location where serological surveys were conducted. A serological survey is conducted to assess the prevalence of a disease in a population. It entails the detection of the presence of specific antibodies that are produced against the virus.

There was no introduction of any new or engineered coronavirus released into the bat caves. The study is titled "Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence," funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There are no concrete pieces of evidence to support this claim. Hence we mark this claim false.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.

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