CHINA'S leader could be overthrown if scientists proved Covid escaped from a Wuhan lab, a health chief has claimed.
Rumours the deadly virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology have swirled since the crisis began.
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But if evidence for the claims was ever found, Xi Jinping could be toppled and world leaders would demand unprecedented reparations, a leading World Health Organisation (WHO) adviser says.
Jamie Metzl spoke days after it was revealed British spies are looking into the theory – and consider it "feasible".
He told LBC: "In China, if it was absolutely proven, I think there is a real chance Xi Jinping could be overthrown.
"There would be claims for reparations around the world against China.
"It would be a massive geopolitical blow to that country.
"Just think of the anger of everyone around the world who has lost a spouse, a child, parents, would feel.
"Not just at the original mistake, but the criminal cover-up afterwards."
Presenter Maajid Nawaz said the "consequences are incredibly serious" for the Chinese regime if evidence is found.
"The entire planet for the first time in history has been locked down because of this thing," he said.
The move from British intelligence services to step up research into the lab leak claims has sparked a sharpening of tension with Beijing.
And last week US President Joe Biden ordered an inquiry into the origin of the virus.
Beijing has repeatedly denied that the Wuhan Institute of Virology is the source of Covid, which has so far claimed more than 3.5 million deaths.
What do we know about the mysterious Wuhan Institute of Virology?
THE Wuhan Institute of Virology is the highest security lab of its kind in all of China – and can be found right at the heart of the origins of the pandemic.
Various theories have been reported about the lab, which is headed up by scientist Dr Shi Zhengli, known as “Bat Woman”.
The lab specialises in bat-borne viruses and had been carrying out experiences on them since 2015.
Airlocks, full body suits, and chemical showers are required before entering and leaving the facility – the first in China to be accredited with biosafety level 4 (BSL-4).
BSL-4 labs are the only areas in the world where scientists are permitted to study diseases that have no cure.
Scientists from the lab even tested a mysterious virus which killed three miners 1,000 miles away in Yunnan province back in 2012.
It has been suggested this fatal bug may have been the true origin of Covid-19.
Experts at the lab also engineered a new type of hybrid 'super-virus' that can infect humans in 2015, according to journal Nature Medicine
The study was designed to show the risk of viruses carried by bats which could be transmitted to humans.
There is no suggestion the facility's 2015 work is linked to the pandemic and the facility denies the lab leak claims.
The lab was also recruiting new scientists to probe coronaviruses in bats just seven days before the outbreak.
Meanwhile, China has raged that any probe will be like the "US finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq".
An editorial published by Communist Party-run Global Times claims the American government is "full of arrogance".
Addressing previous reports and studies by the World Health Organisation, the piece says "US intelligence agencies do not have superior research capability than the WHO."
It also accuses the American government of "playing political games to hijack science" by demanding that the WHO should "serve the political interests of the US".
Elsewhere, authorities are on the hunt for a Chinese woman, known as "Patient Su", who may have been the first Covid case infected by a potential lab leak.
It is claimed the 61-year-old woman contracted a mystery condition in November 2019 – around one month before China reported the outbreak to WHO.
Reports also revealed that British intelligence officials are recruiting Chinese whistleblowers on the dark web over fears Covid leaked.
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