A new report revealed that one of the first people to fall sick with what was likely COVID-19 was a scientist studying coronaviruses who was funded by the U.S. government.
A scientist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology named Ben Hu was one of the first researchers to fall ill with symptoms consistent with COVID at the onset of the pandemic. Hu became sick in November 2019 and recovered from the illness. He had a history of conducting lab research, funded by the United States, on how coronaviruses affect humans, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The report substantiates the theory that the pandemic began with a lab leak in Wuhan, China, and that U.S. funding of coronavirus research played a role in developing the novel virus that led to months of government-mandated lockdowns.
The development comes a month after a report from Republican senator Marco Rubio (Fla.) concluded the virus's likely origin was the Wuhan lab. The 328-page report says systemic negligence from scientists and government incompetence left the lab susceptible to a leak.
Reports show that the U.S. government may have made duplicate payments to the Wuhan lab, possibly in the tens of millions of dollars.