- “Bat Woman” from China warns Coronavirus is a scratch on the surface
- Shi Zehngli needs both scientists and governments to remain transparent and cooperative
Shi Zhengli, the renowned virologist know for her work on Coronavirus in bats, in an interview on the Chinese state television said that the viruses being discovered now are “just the tip of the iceberg” and called for cooperation from every country and organisation possible to fight this pandemic.
Known as the “bat woman” of China, she is the Deputy Director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology and said that the research into these viruses needs both scientists and governments to be not just cooperative but transparent as well. She says that it is “very regrettable” to see science being politicised.
Talking to CGTN, she said, “If we want to prevent human beings from suffering from the next infectious disease outbreak, we must go in advance to learn of these unknown viruses carried by wild animals in nature and give early warnings,” and added, “If we don’t study them there will possibly be another outbreak.”
Her interview with the TV Channel CGTN coincided with the commencement of the National People’s Congress, an annual meeting of the top leadership of China in Beijing. The NCP of 2020 comes on the backdrop of country’s deteriorating relationship with the US as the US President Donald Trump and the Secretary of State Michael Pompeo both said that the Coronavirus sweeping the world is likely to be linked with Wuhan laboratory.
“China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Thursday the World Health Organization has said there is no evidence that the coronavirus originated in a lab in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the epidemic first emerged in late 2019.”
China has been rejecting these accusations, Shi said that the genetic characteristics of the viruses she has worked with do not match with those of the Coronavirus which is spreading in humans. In a post she shared on social media she said she would “swear on my life” that this pandemic had nothing to do with her lab.
In another interview with CGTN over the weekend, Wang Yanyi, the Director of Wuhan Institute of Virology, said that even the idea of the virus having escaped from the lab is “pure fabrication”.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Coronavirus pandemic infected close to 5.7 million (57 lakh) people around the globe with 352,298 people losing their lives.