DRASTIC (Decentralized Radical Autonomous Search Team Investigating COVID-19) area team of sem-anonymous, (self-described) "Twitter detectives" who research and write papers about the origin of SARS-CoV-2.
In Dec 2020, Pr. Shi Zhengli explained in a BBC interview that
access to the DB was stopped to prevent cyber security attacks.
the 26th January 2021, Pr.Shi Zhengli confirmed again that the
database has been taken offline ‘during Covid-19 pandemic’ in an email
answer to Tommy Cleary.
On the 10th March 2021, during a Chatham
House interview, Peter Daszak repeated the exact reason given by Shi
Zhengli in her email to Tommy Cleary above.
These three statements do
not make any sense since the main database was taken offline on the 12
Sep 2019, 3 months at least before the official start of the
pandemic. So either the reason given for taking the database off is not
correct (which raises more questions), or the statement points at an
outbreak in Sep 2019.
Did the "batvirus" dabatase of the WIV get taken permanently off-line on September 12th 2019? Did Shi Zhengli from the WIV claim that it went down during the pandemic because of cyberattacks?
Dr. Shi's own answer to the BBC says that the database was taken offline. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-55364445. So we can take that as confirmed. The "cyberattacks" explanation is certainly interesting. The removal of the databases is part of a pattern of information-hiding by China in relation to COVID-19. Dr. Shi's answer suggests that this pattern coincidentally began on Sept. 12, 2019, before the outbreak.
The logical alternative explanation is that something went wrong in a Wuhan lab sometime before Sept. 12, and the database deletion was an early stage of a cover up.
I am the author of an e-book that goes into the cover-up explanation. Not sure if I'm allowed to link to it, so I won't.
Here is the evidence, straight from the DRASTIC/osint paper, that it was taken offline between 2am and 3am on Sept. 12. https://archive.md/AGtFv According to both the DRASTIC/osint paper, and a native Chinese speaker I checked with, the screenshot shows a database monitoring system that checked database access every hour. After 3am on Sept. 12, it failed to get access.
Now, why is that suspicious? First of all, as the DRASTIC/osint paper shows, the database had been used regularly by Dr. Shi's colleagues. Secondly, consider its description https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DGdwLHclikurZ4JzYjff9751197ei_bU/view, which I will append at the end of this answer. Thirdly, as the DRASTIC/osint paper shows, this was one of a series of 16 databases to support a longstanding series of research projects, all of which were taken offline.
The removal of access to the database obviously has the effect of hiding information that is relevant to understanding the origin of the pandemic. So you can believe that this was a response to cyber attacks, and the timing was coincidental. Or you can believe that the pattern of information hiding has a single cause, and the cause began before Sept. 12, 2019.
Database description: (English translation) Abstract: Cross-species infection of wild animal-derived viruses is one of the main causes of new virulent
infectious diseases in humans. Therefore, it is necessary to systematically collect and sort wild animal
samples and viral pathogen data, and build a wild animal-borne virus pathogen database. Through the
establishment of standard metadata description specifications, this database has collected and processed
more than 20,000 animal samples and virus data from bats and mice. The data covers multiple countries
and multiple provinces, cities and regions in China. It can be used for related wildlife Domestic and
foreign research institutions and institutions of higher learning related to viral pathogens provide
services. Users can search for the species, sample types, species distribution, etc. of bats and mice
according to their own needs, or search for information about specific viruses carried by species. The
construction of this database will facilitate in-depth and systematic research on viruses carried by wild
animals such as bats and mice, assess the risk of viruses spreading to domestic animals and humans,
predict hot spots of emerging infectious diseases, and provide theoretical foundation and technical
support for disease prevention and control.