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A file photo of Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan
A file photo of Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan

China’s ‘bat woman’ has hew evidence her lab isn’t coronavirus source

Shi Zhengli, deputy director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, said the genetic characteristics of the viruses she’s worked on didn’t match those of the coronavirus spreading in humans

Shi Zhengli, a Chinese virologist renowned for her work on viruses in bats, provided new evidence that her laboratory wasn’t the source of the global pandemic in research published in a scientific journal.

The deputy director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology said the latest blood tests on miners, who became sick with a mysterious respiratory disease eight years ago after clearing bat feces, showed they didn’t have the virus that caused Covid-19, according to the South China Morning Post. The paper cited Shi’s findings that were published in the Nature journal this week.

The serum samples were from four people who caught the disease after working in a copper mine in Yunnan province. In a February paper, Shi suggested bats could have been the initial hosts of Sars-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19, prompting theories that the pandemic was linked to a bat virus her team was studying.

Shi, known as China’s “bat woman," has said the genetic characteristics of the viruses she’s worked on didn’t match those of the coronavirus spreading in humans. The outbreak has infected more than 57.6 million people worldwide and killed over 1.37 million.

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