SCIENTISTS at the Wuhan Institute of Virology planned to release souped-up coronaviruses into bat caves just 18 months before the Covid outbreak.
Bombshell leaked documents have revealed the researcher's plans to release airborne Covid particles into bat caves in China in order to vaccinate them against deadly diseases which could jump to humans and spark a pandemic.
The scientists submitted the proposal in 2018 to create genetically enhanced viruses to infect humans more easily – just over a year before the first Covid case emerged.
Researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) wanted to test out the vaccination of bats to see if it could reduce the spread of coronaviruses and lower the likelihood of the lethal bug spilling over into humans.
The proposal – called "Defuse" – was a project led by Peter Daszak of the EcoHealth Alliance – a US-based organisation which has worked closely with the WIV for years on the research of coronaviruses in bats.
Team members on the proposed project included Dr Shi Zhengli – the ringleader at the WIV dubbed "bat woman".
One of the key reasons for the research was to protect US military personnel who might be deployed to China and the wider region of Asia.
"Security concerns across Asia make the region a potential deployment site for US warfighters," the grant proposal said.
"Emerging infectious diseases, for which few medical countermeasures are available, represent a major threat to the warfighter and national security and could have devastating impacts on USpublic health."
The EcoHealth Alliance and the WIV asked for $14million from the US Department of Defense to fund the work over three years.
The explosive documents were released by DRASTIC – an international team of scientists and sleuths attempting to fill in the gaps on Covid's origins.
The papers will slap further scrutiny on the WIV – the lab at the centre of the storm over the origins of Covid – and the idea the pandemic may have originated in a lab.
The plans to conduct the experiments in live bats were eventually rejected by US funding agencies over concerns it could have put local communities at risk.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency also voiced concerns that engineering the viruses might result in the viruses becoming more dangerous.
But DRASTIC have now questioned whether the experiments on live bats and mice were carried out anyway by Chinese scientists at the WIV with different funding.
A source told The Sun Online: "It's the unpublished experiments that they mention having done that are the most damning.
"It will be nearly impossible to show what China might have funded on its own afterwards."
'HEAPS OF BODY BAGS'
It comes after Donald Trump revealed he heard there were heaps of body bags piled up outside the lab in Wuhan.
In an interview with Sky News, the former president detailed how classified intelligence pointed to the Wuhan Institute of virology as the likely source of the deadly virus which has so far killed at least 4.7million.
Trump said: "Some of the intelligence is classified and I can't talk about it, but it most likely, and when I say most likely, like 95 per cent, came from the Wuhan lab.
"I don't know if they had bad thoughts or whether it was gross incompetence, but one way or the other it came out of Wuhan, it came from the Wuhan lab.
"I started hearing stories… that there were lots of body bags outside of the lab. I heard that a long time ago. And if they did, in fact, have body bags, that was one little indication wasn't it?"
Trump said it was unlikely the virus was deliberately leaked from the Wuhan lab.
Rather, Trump said it was probably an accident, suggesting a theory about a scientist lunching outside in a park with his girlfriend who caught it from him.
He said: "I think that it was incompetence. I think that it escaped from the lab through incompetence."
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