January 21, 2022

Beyond Going Long

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Corona Virus: Security experts suspect that China is buying tests before the official outbreak of the epidemic

The Chinese province of Hubei, where the first infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus appeared, purchased PCR-assessment equipment in bulk several months before the Chinese government informed the global community about the emergence of the new virus.

This was discovered by an Australian-American company specializing in Internet Security 2.0, Bloomberg writes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said its branch in China received official information about unknown cases of pneumonia on December 31, 2019. Seven days later, the Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, the cause of what they later called COVID-19. However, according to Internet 2.0, which analyzed public procurement contracts, Hubei province purchased more PCR test evaluation equipment in 2019 than two years in total.

The company concluded that the epidemic likely started much earlier than China informed the World Health Organization.

Beware of hasty conclusions

However, several experts contacted by Bloomberg pointed to potentially hasty conclusions.

According to them, the popularity of PCR for testing pathogens has grown before, with PCR tests also being used for animal viruses, and test-evaluating devices are now commonly found in hospitals and laboratories. In addition, African swine fever spread in China in 2019.

China’s Foreign Ministry called the Internet 2.0 results as dubious as claims about the origin of the coronavirus laboratory or the “so-called study,” which pointed to increased traffic in Wuhan hospitals and an increase in the number of Internet searches for words such as “cough” or “diarrhea”. summer 2019.

shopping time?

An independent biochemist from Australia, contacted by Bloomberg but wishing to remain anonymous, said the purchase of PCR testing kits at a given time indicated a sudden need to increase testing capacity.

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Research leader David Robinson of Internet 2.0 drew attention to the timing of the purchases, which he said indicated that Hubei authorities had been investigating a new disease throughout the second half of 2019. However, he acknowledged that the findings could not be taken as evidence.

Internet 2.0, which provides computer security services to the Canberra government, for example, has passed on its findings to authorities in Australia, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.