There are two laboratories in Wuhan, China, that collect corona and other viruses from bats and study them actively. The first is the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where Dr. Zheng-Li Shi and her team are very well known. They are quite professional and competent. Strangely, the name of Peng Zhou, a prominent young investigator with several prestigious grants, has disappeared from the list on the institute website of those working there.
The second lab is at the WHCDC (Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention). The “bat” star there was Tian Jun-Hua. The WHCDC website was unavailable for some time, but in recent days has come back online. Tian Jun-Hua is no longer listed on it among the lab’s personnel. His work is less professional and less competent than that of Zheng-Li Shi.
The COVID-19 virus is certainly not engineered to infect humans. But it could very plausibly be a leak from one of those labs. A leak from WHCDC seems somewhat more likely.
Professor emeritus, Institute of Neuroscience
University of Louvain