A Chinese military scientist Yusen Zhou had reportedly filed a patent for a COVID-19 vaccine on February 24, 2020. This was first reported by The Australian newspaper. This date has raised speculation as it was filed just five weeks after China affirmed human transmission of the coronavirus, for the first time. It was also filed before COVID-19 was declared as a global pandemic.
Zhou reportedly filed the patent on behalf of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) which is the army of China. This timing of the patent suggests that the authorities may have known about the outbreak much before its public pronouncement.
Zhou has also worked with Wuhan Institute of Virology’s (WIV) deputy director Shi Zhengli and other scientists from the institute. Professor Shi has been given the nickname “Bat Lady” as she has been studying and researching virus transmissions from bats to humans from several years. There has been speculation among scientists that the virus could have leaked from the WIV though Chinese authorities denied it and said that a wet market at Wuhan was ground zero.
The New York Post reported that the military scientist died within three months of filing the patent, sometime in May 2020. It also said that the circumstances of his death were not reported nor were tributes paid to the much-decorated military scientist. In July, Zhou’s death was just listed as “deceased” in a military report and it was also mentioned in a December scientific paper.
The Times had also reported that three workers from WIV had been admitted to a hospital with symptoms similar to that of COVID-19 in November but there was no other news about them, except about their hospitalizations.
Biden has asked the federal intelligence agencies to gather information and report back. He has publicly rebuked China and asked allies to also help pressurize China so that there is “a full, transparent, evidence based international investigation.” It is not known if there any early evidence-based data and China has released select information so far. However, on Sunday, the Wall Street Journal said that two US experts believe that the genome sequence suggests that the coronavirus could be a virus that was synthesized in a lab.