Scientists in Communist China are launching new experiments after discovering a batch of new viruses that could potentially infect humans.
The never-before-seen viruses were found by Chinese scientists on a tropical island.
The researchers who discovered the viruses were tasked by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with preparing the world for future pandemics.
They took almost 700 samples from rodents living in Hainan, just off China’s southern coast.
Eight novel viruses were uncovered in the CCP-funded project.
One of the viruses belongs to the same family as Covid, researchers revealed.
Experts said the discovered pathogens had a “high probability” of infecting humans should they ever cross the species barrier.
As a result, they called for further experiments on the viruses to determine exactly what their effects on humans could be.
The findings of the study were shared in the journal Virologica Sinica, the publishing arm of the Chinese Society for Microbiology (CSM).
CSM is linked to the state-affiliated China Association of Science and Technology, which “accepts administrative supervision” from the CCP’s “Ministry of Civil Affairs.”
Virologica Sinica is also edited by Dr. Shi Zhengli, an influential scientist described as China’s “bat woman” who works inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
The Wuhan lab is widely considered to be the source of the Covid pandemic.
The journal’s editorial board also features over a dozen other academics linked to the WIV.
MailOnline reported earlier this year how the same journal controversially claimed that new virus samples from bats in Hainan proved Covid wasn’t engineered in a lab.
The claim was, however, dismissed by independent experts.
The new study analyzed 682 anal and throat swabs collected from various rodents captured on the island of Hainan between 2017 and 2021.
These samples, which were categorized by specific rodent species and location on the island, were then sent for labs to be examined.
Analysis revealed a host of new “novel” viruses, including one new coronavirus that the experts dubbed CoV-HMU-1.
CoV-HMU-1 was found to be a betacoronavirus, a sub-genre of coronaviruses which includes Covid.
The scientists also found several new pathogens in other groups of viruses.
These included two new pestiviruses, which are related to yellow fever and dengue, a new astrovirus, a family of viruses that cause infections like stomach bugs, two new parvoviruses, which can cause flu-like symptoms, and two new papillomaviruses, a family of pathogens that can cause genital warts and cancer in people.
They highlighted the discovery of the new pestiviruses and parvoviruses as being particularly significant as they were found in the Edwards’s long-tailed giant rat and the Sikkim rat species.
Neither were known to previously harbor such types of pathogens.
Hainan, home to about 9 million people, is isolated from mainland China.
Other such unknown viruses likely exist in similar parts of the world, the scientists added.
“The results expand our knowledge of viral classification and host range and suggest there are highly diverse, undiscovered viruses that have evolved independently in their unique wildlife hosts in inaccessible areas,” they said.
“If these viruses cross the host barrier, they are highly possible to cause zoonosis.
“The pathogenicity and associated impact of these novel viruses on humans and animals should be evaluated in further studies.”
Rodents carrying potential pathogens pose a huge threat in terms of zoonosis, the researchers said.
This is because they are “widely distributed,” “diverse in species,” and “have a strong reproductive ability.”
As well as that, they migrate in groups and are concentrated in densely populated, humid, and warm places such as central and southern China.
This provides ‘them with many opportunities to interact with humans,” they wrote.
Scientists have repeatedly warned the next pandemic could spring from animals, with “climate change,” habitat destruction, and the selling of live wild animals in so-called “wet markets” all factors increasing the risk, they claim.
Covid is originally thought to have come from an animal, most likely a bat.
However, an ever-growing number of experts suspect experiments conducted in Wuhan may have caused it to jump from bats to humans.
Dr. Zhengli herself was once concerned Covid may have leaked from inside her lab, according to colleagues.
The so-called “lab leak theory” poses that scientists in Wuhan were experimenting with Covid samples collected from the wild when the virus leaked containment, infecting citizens of the city and then the world.
While the theory has gained traction in years since the initial wave of cases, many scientists maintain that Covid most likely emerged naturally, being transmitted from animals to humans.
Such theories have largely pointed to Wuhan’s Huanan seafood wholesale market, where numerous species of live animals were kept and sold, as the potential site where such an infection could have taken place.
Regardless, some experts have warned experiments on high-risk pathogens, which are often conducted in labs located in high-population areas, could spark new pandemics.
No concrete proof to support either Covid origin argument has been found, leaving experts fearing the truth behind the virus’s origins will never be uncovered.
Beyond just establishing a historical fact, experts also want to find how Covid emerged to help stop other similar pathogens from becoming pandemics in the future.