Titled "New Species of Man-Made Viruses as Genetic Bioweapons," the documents outlined the perfect conditions to release a bioweapon and documented the impact it would have on the enemy's medical system.
Analysts determined that the set of documents has 18 authors working at "high-risk" labs.
Attacks using bioweapons should not be carried out in the middle of a clear day as intense sunlight can damage the pathogens while rain or snow can affect the aerosol particles, according to the authors. (Related: BIOWARFARE: Chinese communists "intentionally" unleashed "Frankenstein" COVID-19, says Wuhan scientist.)
Instead, it should be released at night, dusk, dawn or under cloudy weather with "a stable wind direction so that the aerosol can float into the target area."
The authors also noted that such an attack would result in a surge of patients requiring hospital treatment, which "could cause the enemy's medical system to collapse."
The documents' authors insisted that the next world war "will be biological," unlike the first two wars which were described as chemical and nuclear respectively. "Following developments in other scientific fields, there have been major advances in the delivery of biological agents," the authors wrote.
"For example, the new-found ability to freeze-dry microorganisms has made it possible to store biological agents and aerosolize them during attacks."
The reports made by People's Liberation Army (PLA) scientists and health officials examined the manipulation of diseases to make weapons "in a way never seen before."
This brings up China's alleged gain of function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). Gain-of-function research refers to the serial passaging of microorganisms to increase their transmissibility, virulence, immunogenicity and host tropism by applying selective pressure to a culture.
The WIV has been collecting numerous coronaviruses from bats ever since the SARS outbreak in 2002. The lab is just eight miles from the Huanan wet market, which is where the first cluster of infections erupted in Wuhan.
Scientists studying bat diseases at WIV were engaged in a massive project to investigate animal viruses alongside leading military officials – despite the country's denials of any such links. A fact sheet released by the DOS stated that WIV "has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017."
The controversial virology institute participated in a project sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) – a state-funded scientific research institution – from 2012 to 2018. The project team comprised five military and civil experts who conducted research at WIV labs, military labs and other civil labs. This research led to "the discovery of animal pathogens [biological agents that causes disease] in wild animals."
Results of the project were published by the NSFC on its website in February of 2018. The NSFC stated that the project "discovered over 1,640 types of new viruses by using the metagenomics technology,” and that the research was performed by a civil and military team. As an advanced virology institution, the WIV has the only P4 lab – the highest biosafety level lab – in China and the biggest repository of bat coronaviruses in Asia.
The fact that such a virus-detection project is led by both civilian and military scientists appears to confirm incendiary claims from the U.S. alleging collaboration between the WIV and the country's 2.1 million-strong armed forces. (Related: More signs point to coronavirus being engineered in Wuhan lab.)
The scheme's five team leaders include Shi Zhengli, the WIV virologist nicknamed "Bat Woman" for her trips to find samples in caves, and Cao Wuchun, a senior army officer and government adviser on bioterrorism.
Shi denied the allegations. "I don't know of any military work at the WIV. That info is incorrect," she said at a public webinar on March 23.
Earlier this year, China purged all references to studies done by Shi in the NSFC database. This included the details of more than 300 studies, including those that investigated diseases that passed from animals to humans.
Australian Strategic Policy Institute Executive Director Peter Jennings raised concerns over China's biological research into coronaviruses potentially being weaponized in the future.
"There is no clear distinction for research capability because whether it's used offensively or defensively is not a decision these scientists would take," he said. "If you are building skills ostensibly to protect your military from a biological attack, you're at the same time giving your military a capacity to use these weapons offensively. You can't separate the two."
Intelligence agencies suspect COVID-19 may be the result of an inadvertent Wuhan lab leak. But it's also possible that the SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – was intentionally released.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said in March that all theories on the origins of COVID-19 remained open after reading the report of the WHO experts and Chinese scientists, which dismissed the lab leak theory and said the transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario.
"We've got real concerns about the methodology and the process that went into that report, including the fact that the government in Beijing apparently helped to write it," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a recent CNN interview.
China rejected that criticism and accused the U.S. of "exerting political pressure" on the fact-finding mission experts.
"The U.S. has been speaking out on the report. By doing this, isn't the U.S. trying to exert political pressure on the members of the WHO expert group?" asked China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian.
Leaders from other countries believe the virus originated in China. Just recently, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro accused China of creating COVID to spark a chemical "warfare."
"It's a new virus. Nobody knows whether it was born in a laboratory or because a human ate some animal they shouldn't have," Bolsonaro said. "But it is there. The military knows about chemical, bacteriological and radiological warfare. Are we not facing a new war? Which country has grown its GDP the most? I will not tell you."
While Bolsonaro did not specify the name of the country, data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed that China is the only G20 member whose GDP showed a growth during the pandemic in 2020 – expanding by 2.3 percent. The G20 is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors of 19 countries and the European Union.
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