The Chinese Star Scientist At The Center Of The Controversy
“How the hell am I going to offer proof of something that there is no proof of?” Dr. Shi Zhengli told The New York Times.
The Chinese scientist at the center of theories according to which the Covid-19 pandemic originated with a leak from laboratory in the city of Wuhan has denied that, institution was to blame for the health disaster. “How the hell should I offer proof of something that there is no evidence?” Said Dr. Shi Zhengli to the newspaper The New York Times in a rare statement to the media. “I don’t know how the world got to this, constantly pouring garbage on an innocent scientist,” he told the American newspaper.
US President Joe Biden last month ordered intelligence agencies to investigate the origin of the pandemic, including the theory of the laboratory leak. The hypothesis of the leak had been raised earlier in the first global outbreak, even by the predecessor Biden, Donald Trump, but it was widely dismissed and considered a conspiracy theory.
However, it has gained more and more strength recently, fueled by reports revealing that three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in 2019 after visiting a bat cave in southwest China’s Yunnan Province.
Shi is an expert on bat coronaviruses, and some scientists have said that he may have been conducting 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, in 2017 Shi and his colleagues from the Wuhan lab published a report on an experiment “in which they created new hybrid bat coronaviruses by mixing and combining parts of several existing ones — including at least one that was nearly transmissible to humans — to study their ability to infect and replicate in human cells.”
However, in an email that accompanies the article, Shi assures that his experiments differ from those of gain of function, since they did not seek to make a more dangerous virus. Instead, they were trying to understand how the virus could jump between species. “My laboratory has never conducted or cooperated with gain-of-function experiments that increase the virulence of viruses,” he says.
Originally published at https://zaviews.blogspot.com.