Coronavirus

COVID Lab Leak Row: Chinese Scientist Breaks Silence

By
OB Bureau

New York: The Chinese scientist at the centre of the controversial theory that the coronavirus pandemic originated with a leak from her specialized virology lab in Wuhan, China has denied her institution was to blame for the health disaster.

“How on earth can I offer up evidence for something where there is no evidence,” Dr Shi Zhengli told the New York Times in rare comments to the media.

“I don’t know how the world has come to this, constantly pouring filth on an innocent scientist,” she added.

Last month, US President Joe Biden had ordered intelligence agencies to investigate the origin of the pandemic, including the lab leak theory.

The leak hypothesis had been floated earlier during the global outbreak, including by Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, but was widely dismissed as a conspiracy theory.

But it has gained increasing traction recently, fuelled by reports that three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick in 2019 after visiting a bat cave in the south-western Chinese province of Yunnan.

Shi is an expert in bat coronaviruses, and some scientists have said she could have been leading so-called “gain-of-function” experiments in which scientists increase the strength of a virus to better study its effects on hosts.

According to the New York Times, Shi and her colleagues at the Wuhan laboratory published a report in 2017 on an experiment “in which they created new hybrid bat coronaviruses by mixing and matching parts of several existing ones — including at least one that was nearly transmissible to humans — in order to study their ability to infect and replicate in human cells”.

But in an email to the US daily, Shi said her experiments differed from gain-of-function studies since they did not seek to make a virus more dangerous. Instead they were trying to understand how the virus might jump across species.

OB Bureau

Recent Posts

Cuttack’s National Law University-Organized Symposium: Judge Who Slammed Nupur’s Remarks Calls Out Attacks On SC

New Delhi: Justice JB Pardiwala has been in the news of late for having come…

July 3, 2022

Odisha Govt Issues Advisory To Districts Amid Forecast Of Low Pressure & Very Heavy Rainfall

Bhubaneswar: With the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasting likely formation of low pressure over North…

July 3, 2022

Kiara Advani’s ‘Scary’ Moment When Fan Reached Her High-Floor Apartment Unannounced

Mumbai: Kiara Advani, who is in the midst of a purple patch, recalled a scary…

July 3, 2022

Tunguru Case: Auto-Rickshaw Drivers Stage Protest, Demand Withdrawal Of Objectionable Songs From Social Media

Bhubaneswar: The auto-rickshaw drivers of twin cities on Sunday staged a demonstration in Odisha capital…

July 3, 2022

Sunday Poem: The Song

These days you sing At almost every gathering And I follow you shamelessly. I breathlessly…

July 3, 2022

Madhubala’s Biopic Will Steer Clear Of Kishore Kumar & Dilip Kumar, Says Sister

Mumbai: Madhubala’s long-awaited biopic is finally set to materialise, but is unlikely to talk about…

July 3, 2022