China deleted early data on novel coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 in a possible attempt to conceal its existence and, therefore, impeding the investigation into its origins, a researcher has claimed in a new study. According to a scientific paper, over a dozen coronavirus test sequences that were taken during the early months of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic were removed from an international database used to track the virus’ evolution.
“The fact that such an informative data set was deleted has implications beyond those gleaned directly from the recovered sequences. Samples from early outpatients in Wuhan are a gold mine for anyone seeking to understand the spread of the virus,” the author said.
Jesse Bloom, a virologist and evolutionary biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said in the report that he identified a data set containing Sars-CoV-2 sequences that had been deleted from the National Institutes of Health’s Sequence Read Archive. For the study, Bloom recovered the deleted files from the Google Cloud and reconstructed partial sequences of 13 viruses from the initial outbreak.