Prominent Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli, known as the “Batwoman,” has sounded a concerning alarm regarding the potential emergence of another COVID-19-like virus in the future, as reported by the South China Morning Post. Shi Zhengli is renowned for her extensive research on viruses originating from animals.
In a paper co-authored with colleagues, characterized as a cautionary note based on their expertise, Shi has highlighted the high likelihood of another coronavirus outbreak occurring in the future. Coronaviruses, as seen in the past, have led to significant outbreaks such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic since 2019, as reported by the South China Morning Post.
According to reports, researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology have examined 40 different coronavirus species to assess their potential for spillover into human populations.
Key findings from Shi’s research, as reported by the South China Morning Post, indicate that six types of viruses, half of which have previously caused deadly diseases in humans, are classified as risky. The remaining three have infected other animal species. The research suggests there is strong evidence of the potential emergence of future diseases, with a high likelihood of another coronavirus-related outbreak.
The study took into account various viral characteristics, including population dynamics, genetic diversity, host species, and the history of zoonotic transmission.
It’s worth noting that many U.S. politicians have expressed suspicions about Shi’s work and the origin of COVID-19, with some believing in the possibility of a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. While the lab-leak theory remains a conjecture and lacks conclusive evidence, many scientists lean toward the hypothesis that the virus likely originated in animals, possibly bats, before being transmitted to humans through an intermediary host.
Declassified U.S. intelligence documents released in June of the current year did not definitively rule out the lab-leak theory but did not provide conclusive evidence to support it either. Additionally, an unnamed scientist from China’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted a noticeable shift in China’s handling of COVID-19, suggesting that Chinese authorities may be altering their approach to the virus, including a reduction in the release of infection data, indicating a shift in public health priorities.