Despite China's claim that the coronavirus outbreak was traced back to a market in Wuhan that sold live animals, there have been rumblings that the disease escaped from a biology lab or was part of a biological warfare experiment. Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) has perhaps been the loudest voice parroting this theory.
Now, a new report in the New York Post points to evidence that suggests Cotton's theory may be more fact than fiction.
According to the Post, after Chinese President Xi Jinping recently warned about the need to prevent similar viral outbreaks in the future, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology released a new document, titled, "Instructions on strengthening biosecurity management in microbiology labs that handle advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus."
Additionally, there is only one microbiology lab in the China capable of handling the deadly coronavirus: the National Biosafety Laboratory, which is part of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
That means the only Chinese lab capable of safely handling the disease is located in the outbreak's epicenter.
But that's not all, according to the Post.
The fact that China's top biological warfare expert, Maj. Gen. Chen Wei, was dispatched last month to accelerate containment efforts also suggest the outbreak's origin is more nefarious than the Chinese government has admitted.
More from the Post:
The evidence points to SARS-CoV-2 research being carried out at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The virus may have been carried out of the lab by an infected worker or crossed over into humans when they unknowingly dined on a lab animal. Whatever the vector, Beijing authorities are now clearly scrambling to correct the serious problems with the way their labs handle deadly pathogens.
In fact, Cotton has not been coy about his belief that China is being dishonest. Last Friday, the Arkansas senator said the Chinese government is "lying to the world about this deadly matter."
The potential for global pandemic still remains high, as the coronavirus has now infected a significant number of people in Italy, opening the door for a European outbreak.