Chinese language Scientists Shared Coronavirus Knowledge with US Earlier than Pandemic

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A spokeswoman for the Division of Well being and Human Providers, which incorporates the N.I.H., stated in an announcement on Wednesday that the genetic code was not printed as a result of it “was unable to be verified, regardless of follow-ups by N.I.H. to the Chinese language scientist for extra data and a response.”

In an earlier letter to Home Republicans, Melanie Anne Egorin, a senior Well being Division official, stated that the sequence had initially been subjected to a “technical, however not scientific or public well being,” evaluation, as was customary. After not listening to again from the Chinese language scientists about its requested corrections, the database, generally known as GenBank, routinely deleted the submission from its queue of unpublished sequences on Jan. 16, 2020.

It’s not clear why the Chinese language scientists didn’t reply. One of many submitters, Lili Ren, who labored at a pathogen institute inside the state-affiliated Chinese language Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing, didn’t reply to a request for remark. The Chinese language embassy stated China’s response was “science-based, efficient and according to China’s nationwide realities.”

However the identical sequence that Dr. Ren’s group despatched to GenBank was made public on a unique on-line database, generally known as GISAID, on Jan. 12, 2020, shortly after different scientists had posted the primary coronavirus code. Dr. Ren’s group additionally resubmitted a corrected model of the code to GenBank in early February and printed a paper describing its work.

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