On Sept. 12, 2019, the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s database of viral sequences was taken offline. The deleted database, which has never been publicly recovered, contained more than 22,000 unpublished samples and sequences of bat and rodent viruses.
Notably, the database contains crucial data and may hold the key to determining whether the lab in Wuhan, China, had COVID-19 or a progenitor virus in its possession.
The importance of having access to virus sequence data was illustrated earlier this year, when sequences from early COVID-19 cases were recovered from another dataset that had been deleted in June 2020 from a National Institutes of Health (NIH) database at the behest of a Chinese researcher. That data confirmed that the pandemic didn’t start at the Huanan Seafood Market …