Inside the Wuhan lab: French engineering, deadly viruses and a big mystery

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from The Washington Post,

One chilly morning in February 2017, a tall Chinese scientist in his 50s named Yuan Zhiming showed Bernard Cazeneuve, then the French prime minister, around Wuhan’s new high-security pathogen lab.

Built with French engineering, it was China’s first P4 lab, one of several dozen in the world with that highest security designation. Yuan, the director of the lab, had worked more than a decade to make it a reality.

Yuan and his colleagues at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) hoped they could help prevent another catastrophe like the SARS outbreak in 2003, which embarrassed Beijing and resulted in the dismissal of the health minister.

But just a couple of years after the P4 lab’s ribbon-cutting, China was engulfed in a far deadlier outbreak. Yuan’s team had not prevented it. And worse, some suspected that lab personnel might have been involved in its genesis.

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