Purchases of PCR test equipment & kits in the Chinese province of Hubei, where the Covid-19 pandemic originated. showed a large spike in the months leading up to official declaration of the disease, claimed a report published by Internet 2.0,a cybersecurity and digital forensics and intelligence analyst firm.
The province's purchase of polymerase chain reaction, or PCR testing equipment, which allows scientists to amplify DNA samples to test for infectious disease or other genetic material, shot upward in 2019, with most of the increase coming in the second half of the year, the report claimed.
Based on the research, Internet 2.0 concluded with "high confidence that the pandemic began much earlier than China informed the WHO about Covid-19," according to the report.
However prominent scientists and medical experts have questioned the conclusions of the report given that PCR testing was growing in popularity even before the onset of the pandemic. In addition to this, China was also facing an epidemic of swine flu in 2019 which had swept through the nation's pork industry.
Chinese authorities too flatly rejected all allegations made in the report and argued that this was yet another in a series of "so-called" research into the origins of the pandemic that sought to pin all blame on China. However internet 2.0 CEO David Robinson said that the pattern of purchasing and the timing of some of the PCR testing contracts raised suspicions that China had been investigating a human-borne disease long before the Covid-19 virus was officially discovered.
According to the report, the pattern of purchasers had shifted from agricultural and health organisations to medical and disease-prevention specialists, like Wuhan Institute of Science and Technology which was one of the biggest purchasers of PCR technology in 2019. The Chinese military also made purchases of PCR equipment in the same year.
"This data does not support any origins conclusions on Covid-19 but in the future some part of this data might support an origins finding," according to a statement by Robinson and Robert Potter, the other co-CEO. "Nor does this report identify a specific point in time where a pandemic emerged. The fact China has gone to great lengths to ensure conclusive evidence is unobtainable means unfortunately we may have to rely on third-party data points."
Details of the report have been shared with top intelligence agencies from across the world including Australian and American organisations.