Chinese virologist, Shi Zhengli, has condemned the popular ‘lab leak’ theory for COVID-19.
In a rare interview, Shi Zhengli from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (where she specialises in emerging infectious pathogens) has spoken out about the ongoing theory that COVID-19 was leaked from a lab.
When speaking with The New York Times, Shi cites a lack of evidence of why the ‘lab leak’ theory is nonsensical.
“How on earth can I offer up evidence for something where there is no evidence … I don’t know how the world has come to this, constantly pouring filth on an innocent scientist,” Shi reportedly said.
To further douse the flames of speculation, Shi also condemned an article published in the Wall Street Journal which stated (via an American intelligence report) that:
“three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology became ill enough with symptoms similar to COVID-19 that they sought hospital care in November of 2019.”
“The Wuhan Institute of Virology has not come across such cases,” Shi insisted.
“If possible, can you provide the names of the three to help us check?”
“This is no longer a question of science,” said Dr. Shi Zhengli, a top Chinese virologist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. “It is speculation rooted in utter distrust.” @amyyqin @ChuBailiang https://t.co/1P46xEoMVG
— Amy Chang Chien (@amy_changchien) June 14, 2021
The ‘lab leak’ theory has increased in popularity over the last few months as the Biden administration has called for a more in-depth investigation to be conducted into the theory.
With the support of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the investigation include a team of experts (including “laboratory safety experts”) examining several labs in the Wuhan area for possible breaches.
“We should be able to look at biosafety records and interview staff members,” explained a US health official.
Some believe that, in the time leading up to the hypothetical leak, Shi was “conducting or cooperating in gain-of-function experiments”.
Simply put, some think that the Chinese virologist was conducting experiments on pathogens, making them “more infectious to [better] develop effective treatments and vaccines”. However, Shi has also denied these claims.
“I’m sure that I did nothing wrong … So I have nothing to fear,” Shi said.
Have we been able to confirm whether it actually did start in Wuhan? If they weren’t testing for it or knowing what to look for originally, how can we be sure that they contact traced back to the *original* source? Could it not be elsewhere such as Hubei Province in China?
— Rita (@RitasReel) June 14, 2021
Shi’s views are also shared with the Chinese government, who have continued to remain tight-lipped on the institute’s research and other potentially relevant information.
In a written statement, China’s foreign ministry had this to say on the matter:
“The U.S. keeps concocting inconsistent claims and clamoring to investigate labs in Wuhan … This fully shows that some people in the U.S. don’t care about facts and truth.”
As of now, there are approximately 176 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide.