The Wuhan Institute of Virology is a candidate for the 2021 Outstanding Science and Technology Achievement Prize after "identifying the COVID-19 pathogen," the Global Times reported.
The Global Times, which is a mouthpiece for the Chinese communist government, said the prize comes from the Chinese Academy of Sciences — which also is under the auspices of the People's Republic of China.
More from the Global Times:
CAS said the WIV quickly carried out pathogen identification after the outbreak of COVID-19, completed the entire virus genome sequencing and virus isolation within a short time, confirmed that the COVID-19 virus shares the same functional receptor as the SARS virus, systematically analyzed the basic biological characteristics of the virus, and revealed that coronavirus carried by bats may be the evolutionary ancestor of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The paper added that the "research group has completed the most comprehensive and systematic pathogenic identification research into COVID-19, which laid an important foundation and technology platform for follow-up research into tracing origins, epidemiology and pathogenic mechanism of the coronavirus, as well as the research and development of medicines and vaccines, and provided key scientific and technological support for epidemic prevention and control, CAS noted."
'Slander from Western politicians and media'
Not surprisingly, the Global Times also wrote that the Wuhan Institute of Virology and its scientists "have been attacked in a new round of slander from Western politicians and media" and that China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson said they "should be awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine rather than being blamed for being the first to discover the gene sequence of the novel coronavirus."
The paper referred to the lab-leak theory that's been gaining momentum among scientists around the world as a United States "conspiracy" theory.
Not that China has anything to worry about for the moment, since it was revealed this weekend that President Joe Biden won't pressure China to cooperate with investigations into the origins of COVID-19. Amid China's conspiracy theory retort, it was reported earlier this month that a senior Chinese epidemiologist wants the U.S. investigated as the lab-leak source.
What's more, a Harvard scientist recently admitted that her colleagues denied the possibility of a lab-leak coronavirus origin because they were afraid of being associated with former President Donald Trump and becoming a "tool for racists."
The lab-leak theory picked up even more steam this month when a video showed live bats inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2017:
WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Footage proves bats were kept in Wuhan lab youtu.be
(H/T: The Post Millennial)