China knew of COVID two weeks before telling world of deadly virus

Science and Health

The Wall Street Journal has revealed on Wednesday that scientists in a Beijing lab had mapped out the sequence of the virus SARS-CoV-2, on December 28, 2019, two weeks before the Chinese government announced its existence.

In December, the findings were uploaded by Dr. Lili Ren to a database named GenBank operated by the US National Insititute of Health, the Journal reported following its review of documents provided by a House Committee at the US Department of Health and Services.

China shared its information regarding the virus with the World Health Organization (WHO) only on January 11, 2024. 

Deleted from the database

Prior to this, China maintained the Wuhan virus which it said originated in the seafood market of Huanan was a viral “pneumonia of unknown etiology,” as stated by WHO.

China shared its information with the WHO only on January 11, 2024 (pictured, the WHO flag). (credit: INGIMAGE)

The report also cites The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which states that on January 5, China shared the sequence with its corresponding center but did not offer any information to scientists around the world. 

According to the report, based on the findings of Melanie Egorin HHS Assistant Secretary of Legislation which were forwarded to the committee’s chair, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dr. Ren’s sequence was deleted from the database on January 16. 

This came after a demand by the National Insitute of Health (NIH) for more technical information on the sequence and Dr. Ren declined to comment.    


On January 12, however, the NIH published information it had obtained from a different source, according to Egorin.

Egorin states the two sequences shared arresting similarities. 

Dr. Ren is a member of the Chinese state-affiliated Institute of Pathogen Biology. She is also listed as a researcher on the US-funded research project which investigates how the Coronavirus is transmitted from animals to humans. The research, which included gathering specimens from bats, was conducted by the global non-profit organization, EcoHealth Alliance, the Journal further added. 

These findings led the committee’s chair to strongly doubt any scientific information provided by China. The two weeks of silence on behalf of China could have been key to better understanding the disease, the report concluded.