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Coronavirus

Alleged coronavirus leak a 'pure fabrication,' Wuhan lab chief says

Institute first handled new strain Dec. 30, according to its director

Although the Wuhan Institute of Virology has studied coronavirus samples from bats, the director says they are not similar to COVID-19.   © Kyodo

BEIJING -- Claims promoted by U.S. President Donald Trump that the novel coronavirus leaked from a lab in Wuhan are a "pure fabrication," according to the institute's director.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology first received the new virus strain in a clinical sample Dec. 30, the lab's director, Wang Yanyi, told state broadcaster CCTV in an interview aired Sunday, flatly denying the allegation.

Shi Zhengli, director of the institute's center for emerging infectious diseases, has been nicknamed the "bat woman" for her expertise in bat-borne viruses. Although Shi's team has studied coronavirus samples from bats, Wang said the two strains are not particularly similar in genetic terms.

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