Was the coronavirus ‘manufactured’ by researchers in a laboratory in Wuhan? That's what Li-Meng Yan, a Chinese woman claiming to be a former virologist at the Hong Kong School of Public Health (HKU), says.In a video interview while on the programme Loose Women, the scientist explained that she has ‘proof’ that ‘this virus is not naturally occurring’ and was indeed man-made, and believes that the theory that it appeared in a seafood market in Wuhan is a ‘smokescreen.’‘We're going to get in trouble and we're going to disappear’The researcher explains that she has been researching COVID-19 since the end of 2019. The virus was then considered to be close to SARS, and was spreading at a very high speed. As the number of cases increased exponentially, her supervisor told her to ‘keep quiet and be careful.’ He warned her 'we're going to get into trouble and we're going to disappear.'Li Meng-Yan also says she had to leave China in April to take refuge in the United States, under pressure from local authorities. She revealed:I couldn't reveal the evidence in January without risking being threatened, but I am now working with a group of researchers in the United States and we are going to publish all the scientific evidence of this human origin very soon.This report has since been put online, on September 14th, on the scientific self-publishing portal Zenodo. But many scientists believe that no credibility should be given to this article, which has neither been verified nor peer-reviewed.Li Meng-Yan, a close associate of the Trump administration?If the researcher's hypotheses remain for the moment impossible to verify from a purely scientific point of view, some people are already pointing to her troubling links with the Trump administration, in particular Steve Bannon. One example is Kevin Bird, an American scientist who was the first to draw attention to this astonishing combination of politics and scientific research.As he explains in the series of tweets which can be seen above, the report co-signed by Li Meng-Yan was produced by an organisation linked to Steve Bannon, the former Trump adviser recently convicted of fraud, who was fiercely opposed to the Chinese communist regime, just like the current US president. This disturbing relationship calls for extreme caution when it comes to the researcher's revelations.Why does the source of the virus matter?An article published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene titled 'The Origin of COVID-19 and Why It Matters' has pointed out that narrowing down exactly where and how the virus came to be could help prevent any future possible pandemics from starting. The article also highlighted that if the first outbreak of SARS in 2002 was closely enough followed, the outbreak that started in late 2019 could have been better prevented:Few paid attention following the disappearance of SARS after the initial outbreak in 2002. Now, 18 years later, COVID-19 has emerged as the deadliest respiratory disease pandemic since 1918...We need to understand what happened so that we can prevent it from happening again, and be better prepared to contain similar pandemics at their outsets.