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China is fighting the theory that the coronavirus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The foreign ministry said last week that scientists there should be awarded the Nobel Prize.
The lab leak theory was once widely dismissed, but it has recently gained new traction.
China is calling for the Wuhan Institute of Virology to win a Nobel Prize, while the US is investigating whether it leaked the novel coronavirus.
Zhao Lijian, a top spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, in a press conference last Thursday criticized people for assuming that the virus originated in Wuhan because it was first found there, and dismissed the theory that the virus was made in the lab and had escaped.
"The genome sequence of COVID-19 was first identified by Chinese scientists, but that does not mean Wuhan is the source of the coronavirus, nor can it be inferred that the coronavirus was made by Chinese scientists," Zhao said.
He later added that "the team in Wuhan should be awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for their research on COVID-19, instead of being criticized."
China's state-run Global Times newspaper also reported on Sunday that the lab had been nominated to win the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Outstanding Science and Technology Achievement Prize this year due to their work on COVID-19. The Chinese Academy of Sciences is the Wuhan Institute of Virology's parent agency.
The lab leak theory was once dismissed by many experts, but has recently gained new traction.
Last month The Wall Street Journal uncovered a US intelligence report that said that three employees at the Wuhan Institute of Virology got sick more than a month before experts found the first COVID-19 cases.
Days after The Journal's report, President Joe Biden ordered a new investigation from the intelligence community into the origins of the virus. He gave a 90-day deadline for the results.
Read the original article on Business Insider