The US was funding China's controversial Wuhan laboratory as it embarked on a secretive project to identify deadly viruses with pandemic potential, a new book has claimed.
According to What Really Happened in Wuhan: the Cover-Ups, the Conspiracies and the Classified Research, by Sharri Markson, the Wuhan Institute of Virology was creating a database of potentially lethal viruses with the help of Shi Zhengli - aka 'batwoman'.
Ms Zhengli, who earned her nickname sampling thousands of bats in remote caves, collected 19,000 samples while at Wuhan, with 2,481 of those containing coronaviruses.
Her work was all part of China's own version of the Global Virome Project (GVP).
The GVP was supposed to be an international collaborative effort to identify within 10 years all of the planet's viruses which have pandemic or epidemic potential in humans.
But during a visit to the Wuhan institute in March 2018, US career diplomat Rick Switzer - alongside US consul-general Jamie Fouss - found that China had launched its own version - in a lab with poor safety practices and no US oversight.