In 2004, eight cases of SARS were confirmed or suspected and hundreds of people were quarantined.
The incident involved researchers who were working with the virus in a Beijing research laboratory.
Bob Dietz, a spokesperson for WHO in Beijing, told The Scientist in 2004: “We suspect that two people, a 26-year-old graduate student and a 31-year postdoctoral fellow, were apparently infected two separate incidents. “
The two infected people worked at the Chinese Institute of Virology in Beijing, which is part of the Chinese Center for Disease Control.
WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Shigeru Omi, has criticized the Chinese laboratory’s guarantees.
He said that laboratory safety “is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
LEARN MORE: WHO refuses to probe Chinese virus laboratory, blamed for 500,000 DEATHS
In 2004, Antoine Danchin, an epidemiologist at the Hong Kong University-Pasteur Research Center, told The Scientist that the incidents of the epidemic were probably due to laboratory accidents.
He said: “Normally, it is not possible to contaminate people even under a containment level two, if the safety rules are followed, with the appropriate covers, etc.” “
He explained that, because the work on SARS required a level three, he suggested that there had been “something mismanaged”.
Mr. Danchin added: “The laboratory may have all the right rules, but people may not comply!
“For example, notebooks aren’t supposed to be removed, a lot of things like that.
“A virus does not jump on people. “
A Chinese virologist said on Friday that the Chinese government had concealed the new epidemic of coronavirus that had started in Wuhan.
Dr. Li-Meng Yan, a specialist in virology and immunology at the Hong Kong School of Public Health, said that Beijing knew about the new coronavirus long before it claimed it.
She said, “The Chinese government has refused to let foreign experts, including those from Hong Kong, do research in China.
“So I turned to my friends for more information.”
One of the friends she contacted was a scientist at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China, who said that she had first-hand knowledge of the cases from Wuhan before China announced any information.