BORIS Johnson was briefed on the theory Covid leaked from a Wuhan labin earliest days of the pandemic, his former advisor Dominic Cummings has revealed.
The Prime Minister is said to have met with national security officials while the nation was hit hardest during the first wave in April 2020.
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Cummings was speaking as he appeared before the select committee as he faced a grilling on the government's handling of the pandemic.
While being quizzed about his blog and allegations he went back to change a 2019 post discussing risky lab research, the former chief advisor touched on how allegations of a lab leak were handled in Whitehall.
Questions still remain over whether or not the virus may have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and sparked the pandemic, but many scientists continue to argue it emerged naturally.
Chinese officials and the lab itself deny all allegations – but circumstantial evidence is mounting, and even the World Health Organisation has ordered a fresh probe.
US intelligence are also doubling down on the theory as further information leaked this week suggesting Wuhan lab workers were ill with a Covid-like infection in December 2019.
Cummings said there were "meetings about it in Number 10" as the issue was starting to "bubble around" after his own return to work after being sick with Covid in early April.
April was when Britain hit its highest deaths so far of the pandemic, with over a thousand people a day being killed by the virus.
It was also the month that Boris returned to work after his own life-or-death battle.
I do think [the lab leak] is a very important issue that needs to be addressed
"I do think [the lab leak] is a very important issue that needs to be addressed," said Cummings as he was quizzed by Greg Clark MP.
Cummings went on to say he updated his blog around "April 12 or 13" – the same day of his now infamous visit to Barnard Castle – to better reflect another article he was quoting about lab leaks.
He also defended his using his time to do so as it was a "live issue" and revealed Boris had been briefed on a lab leak.
"When I went back to Number 10 after the 12th, there were meetings in there asking is this engineered, is it not engineered?," Cummings said.
"Has it escaped form a lab? Has it not? What are the implications of all of this?
"So there were meetings with the Prime Minister – national security what not – about that question.
"I obviously can't go into details, but it was a live issue."
Cummings said he felt the need to edit his blog to include fuller sections from an article by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists as he believed discussion of the lab leak would be a "massive issue".
He said: "I thought Trump was going to use it against Biden in the US election."
Theformer advisor added: "I wanted people to realise that people were hitting the panic button about this for years."
Cummings said he had warned for "years" about the risks of gain-of-function research which was being carried out at locations like the Wuhan lab.
His remarks come as former US President Donald Trump also doubled down on allegations the virus may have come from WIV.
Trump repeatedly suggested in the final months of his term that the virus came from WIV – and insisted the US had concrete evidence.
And his former advisor Dr Anthony Fauci made his own admission he is now no longer convinced the Covid originated naturally and called for a full investigation.
What do we know about the Wuhan Institute of Virology?
THE WUHAN Institute of Virology is the highest security lab of its kind in all of China – and can be found right at the heart of the origins of the global pandemic.
Various theories have been swirling about the lab, which is headed up by Chinese scientist Dr Shi Zhengli, known as “Bat Woman”.
Most scientists do not believe the virus leaked from the lab, and the lab itself has categorically denied the claims.
The lab specialised in bat-borne viruses and had been carrying out experiences on them since 2015.
Airlocks, full body suits, and chemical showers are required before entering and leaving the lab – the first in China to be accredited with biosafety level 4 (BSL-4).
BSL-4 labs are the only places in the world where scientists can study diseases that have no cure.
Scientists from the lab even tested mysterious
virus which killed three miners 1,000 miles away in Yunnan province back in 2012.
It has been suggested this fatal mystery bug may have been the true origin of Covid-19.
Experts at the lab also engineered a new type of hybrid 'super-virus' that can infect humans in 2015, according to medical journal Nature Medicine
Despite fears surrounding the research, the study was designed to show the risk of viruses carried by bats which could be transmitted to humans.
There is no suggestion the facility's 2015 work is linked to the pandemic.
The lab was also recruiting new scientists to probe coronaviruses in bats just seven days before the outbreak.
China has began tightening security around its biolabs with President Xi Jinping saying it was a “national security” issue to improve scientific safety at a meeting last February.
It emerged this week Wuhan lab staff became sick and needed hospital care weeks before China admitted it was facing an outbreak.
Citing a previously undisclosed US intelligence report, the Wall Street Journal said the dossier revealed fresh details and claimed the lab workers fell ill in November.
A National Security Council spokeswoman said the Biden administration continued to have "serious questions about the earliest days of the pandemic, including its origins within the People's Republic of China".
Meanwhile, it emerged earlier this month that China had probed weaponising coronaviruses some five years before the outbreak.
China has long been accused of covering up or distorting its role in the early days of the pandemic, with claims the Communist Party manipulated case and death figures while withholding information from WHO.
WHO did stage a much derided probe which all but dismissed the lab leak -and on the same day the organisation's chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus claimed for a new investigation.
There is currently no evidence to suggest the virus was intentionally released by China.
The Sun Online previously revealed ongoing risky research in China could even spark another pandemic even worse than Covid.
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