The leaked documents add more weight to the theory that the deadly pathogen leaked from Wuhan’s Institute of Virology. Campaigners say Wuhan scientists were studying viral samples of high-risk bat species living in Laos. This has drawn a link between a pathogen that is a close relative to COVID-19 that was found in Laos and the research performed at the Wuhan laboratory.
The documents suggest that in September scientists discovered a viral strain called Banal-52 in Laos.
This coronavirus strain shares 96.8 percent of its genome with COVID-19.
Now questions surround how a bat-borne virus from Laos could have ended up sparking an outbreak in Wuhan, which is more than 1,000 miles away.