- Both Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claim there is evidence supporting the claim.
- However, the lab's director has this weekend described it as "pure fabrication," ABC News has reported.
- We didn't even know about the existence of the virus, so how could it be leaked from our lab when we didn't have it?" Wang Yanyi told Chinese state media.
- There is currently no public evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
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The theory pushed by the Trump administration and others that the coronavirus originated in a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan is "pure fabrication," the laboratory's director has said.
Wang Yanyi, director at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, told Chinese state media on Sunday that the laboratory did not have any knowledge of the COVID-19 virus before the outbreak in China and worldwide, in comments reported by ABC News.
President Donald Trump, at the end of last month, told reporters in Washington he had seen evidence showing that the virus originated in the lab, but that he was "not allowed" to provide any further details.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo supported President Trump days later , claiming at the beginning of this month that there was "enormous evidence" that COVID-19 originated in a laboratory in Wuhan.
Pompeo said: "We have said from the beginning, this virus originated in Wuhan, China. We took a lot of grief for that from the outset."
"But I think the whole world can see now.
"Remember, China has a history of infecting the world and they have a history of running sub-standard laboratories. These aren't the first times that we have had the world exposed to viruses as a result of failures from a Chinese lab."
Yangi has sought to shoot down the claim, saying scientists working at the laboratory did not have "any knowledge before that nor had we ever met, researched, or kept the virus."
She added: "We didn't even know about the existence of the virus, so how could it be leaked from our lab when we didn't have it?"
There is currently no public evidence supporting the theory that the virus originated in the laboratory.
Most experts believe the coronavirus outbreak began with animals passing the disease to humans in or near a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, selling live animals.
The laboratory is within ten miles of the animal market, where most scientists believe the outbreak originated.
Other governments have discussed the possibility that it originated in Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Last month it was reported that Boris Johnson's UK government had discussed the possibility, and while the theory was deemed unlikely, it was "no longer being discounted."
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