The European Union paid out more than £100,000 in grants to the Chinese laboratory at the centre of suspicion over the global pandemic to help fund its controversial research into coronaviruses.
The revelation comes a fortnight after the American State Department pointed its finger at the laboratory, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, saying US intelligence had evidence its workers fell ill with Covid-like symptoms in autumn 2019 – weeks before the alarm was raised about the virus.
The US government also claimed its scientists were experimenting with a bat coronavirus very similar to the one that causes Covid, and had worked on secret military projects.
The European Union paid out more than £100,000 in grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (pictured)
The European Commission said the EU had contributed to funding of research projects at the institute since 2015.
The Wuhan site was one of five laboratories in the world carrying out controversial ‘gain of function’ research which artificially speeds up the evolution of viruses.
Its scientists were manipulating coronaviruses sampled from bats in caves nearly 1,000 miles away, where Covid-19 is suspected to have originated.
A Commission spokesman said: ‘The EU has not funded targeted research on bat viruses in Wuhan. The Wuhan Institute of Virology serves as international partner in the global collaboration on virus resources… It was this partner in Wuhan which identified in January SARS-CoV2 virus as causative agent of the Covid-19 disease.’