Twitter has suspended the account of a Chinese virologist who has publicly stated that COVID-19 was developed in a laboratory in Wuhan.
Li-Meng Yan’s account was withdrawn on Tuesday after accusing China of intentionally manufacturing and releasing COVID-19.
The Twitter account remained unavailable on Wednesday and a message on the page now reads: “Account suspended. Twitter suspends accounts that violate Twitter rules. “
Twitter has not commented on the suspension of Yan’s account.
The social media giant began putting warning messages on tweets in May containing disputed coronavirus claims.
Li-Meng Yan’s account was withdrawn on Tuesday after accusing China of intentionally manufacturing and releasing COVID-19
It is not clear if there was a specific tweet from Yan that violated Twitter policy.
In an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tuesday night, Yan claimed she was suspended because “they don’t want people to know this truth.”
Yan, who is a former researcher at the Hong Kong School of Public Health, said COVID-19 was “man-made” and “not from nature.”
“I have evidence to show why they can do it, what they did, how (they did it),” she told Fox News.
“The scientific world is also keeping quiet… working with the Chinese Communist Party, they don’t want people to know its truth. This is why I am suspended, I am repressed, I am the target that the Chinese Communist Party wants to disappear.
After the segment aired, the Fox News show also accused Facebook of censorship after it said it was barred from sharing the interview segment on the social media platform.
A video of the interview segment posted on the Tucker Carlson Tonight show page is now accompanied by a disclaimer that reads: “False Information. This article repeats information about COVID-19 that independent auditors believe to be false.
The Twitter account remained unavailable on Wednesday and a message on the page now reads: “Account suspended. Twitter suspends accounts that violate Twitter rules. Twitter did not comment on the suspension of Yan’s account
Yan appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight Tuesday night. After the segment aired, the Fox News show also accused Facebook of censorship after it said it was barred from sharing the interview segment on the social media platform.
It comes as Yan released a report this week that claims it confirms her theory that China created the virus in a lab.
Some scientists have since said his report was “unsubstantiated” and said it “could not be given any credibility.”
Yan’s report has not been published in a scientific journal and has not been peer reviewed – meaning it has not been verified and approved by fellow scientists.
His report was posted on the Zenodo website.
Yan’s claims are at odds with Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who previously disputed that the virus was made in a lab.
Yan, who claims to have fled to the United States in April, says she worked at the Hong Kong School of Public Health – a reference laboratory for the World Health Organization – before being cut after trying to alert people to human-to-human relationships. transmission of the virus in December.
The lab denied that Yan ever “researched human-to-human transmission” and said his claims had “no scientific basis.”
Pictured is the P4 lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in central Hubei province of China, which has been at the center of many theories that COVID-19 has spread from this lab
In his report released this week, Yan claims the virus was constructed by fusing genetic material from two bat coronaviruses.
She claims that its spike protein – a structure on the surface of the virus that it uses to bind to cells – has been altered to make it easier for the virus to cling to human cells.
Other research papers have already determined the virus’ origin as bats, leading top experts to reject suggestions that the virus was created by humans.
Yan writes that his research refutes the theory that the coronavirus evolved in nature and was then transferred to humans, saying it “lacks substantial support.”
“SARS-CoV-2 exhibits biological characteristics incompatible with a naturally occurring virus,” she wrote.
‘Evidence shows that [the virus] must be a laboratory product created using the bat coronaviruses ZC45 and / or ZXC21 as a template and / or backbone. “
She claims the virus “should” have been constructed using stores of these bat viruses, samples of which she claims are kept in Hong Kong and China.
Yan also alleges that her work shows the virus could be built in just six months in the report’s summary, but she does not return to the subject later in the article.
Dr Kristian Andersen, of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., Said the genetic material clearly indicated a natural origin of the virus.
“There is a lot of data and evidence, as well as previous examples of it from nature,” he said.
“We don’t have exactly any proof or data of this link with a lab.
Dr Angela Rasmussen, an infection and immunity specialist at Columbia University in New York City, said the site at which the virus binds to human cells had a “suboptimal” fit, suggesting it does not had not been designed.
“Also, there is no genetic similarity to other virus backbones used in any of the known (viral engineering systems),” she said. “This suggests that this virus was not designed.
Trevor Bedford, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, also told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in February: “There is no evidence of genetic engineering that we can find.
“The evidence we have is that the mutations (in the virus) are quite compatible with natural evolution.
A more broadly acceptable theory suggests that the virus originated in bats before jumping to humans via a second intermediate source.
Ms Yan wrote in her article that theories that the virus originated in nature and Wuhan’s meat market are a “smokescreen,” saying CDC scientists working in China told her so.
She had previously accused Beijing of lying about when she learned of the deadly infection and engaged in extensive cover-up.