INTRODUCTION: This is a resource base on Shi Zhengli, closely associated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, now at the center of an international probe into the origins of COVID-19. It was my experience in compiling the resources that “facts,” as they are reported in the media, often do not match well with the original source documents, where they can be found. Although I am convinced that the virus was man-made, I caution against a rush to judgement before all the facts are known. I am not scared to make controversial conclusions and have done so repeatedly in this blog. However, considering all the entities who would have an interest in releasing a virus, or concealing an accidental release, I am not ready to assign blame. This is a process called “research.” This article will be updated over time as more information comes to light.
1996-2000. Shi Zhengli works on and receives her Ph.D in Virology fromMontpellier University II, France. Zhengli “is said to be as fluent in French as in English.” Prior to working on her Ph.D she worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. She returned to WIV after receiving her Ph.D and initially focused her work on viruses in crabs and shrimp. Science
November 2002. SARS-Coronavirus first reported in Guangdong Province, China. Review of bats and SARS. Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread.
March-December 2004. “In this study, conducted March to December of 2004, we sampled 408 bats representing nine species, six genera, and three families from four locations in China (Guandong, Guangxi, Hubei, and Tianjin) after trapping them in their native habitat.” Bats are Natural Reservoirs of SARS-Like Coronaviruses
She Zhengli is pictured below releasing a bat after taking samples from it in 2004. Images are from an archive of a Chinese article since removed.
April 28, 2005. Another Chinese team tests natural herbal cures for SARS. Identification of natural compounds with antiviral activities against SARS-associated coronavirus. “More than 200 Chinese medicinal herb extracts were screened for antiviral activities against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV).” “…four of the extracts, Lycoris radiata, Artemisia annua, Pyrrosia lingua, and Lindera aggregata exhibited significant inhibition effects on virus-induced CPE when SARS-CoV strain BJ001 was used in screening.”
August 22, 2005. Researchers from the Canada and the Centers for Disease Control in the United States publish Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread. Note how the “West” quickly followed China’s natural herbal cures paper with one on chemicals. (Chloroquine is a derivative of Quinine, which is in turn a derivative of Cinchona bark).
October 28, 2005. Shi Zhengli co-authors a paper with Peter Daszak “Bats are Natural Reservoirs of SARS-Like Coronaviruses.” This paper first establishes that SARS-Coronavirus originated in bats. (The civet was first thought to be the source of the virus. They said the civet was a link in the chain).
December 12, 2006. Shi Zhengli co-authors a paper with Peter Daszak: Review of bats and SARS. Excerpt: Recently, we and another group independently identified several horseshoe bat species (genus Rhinolophus) as the reservoir host for a large number of viruses that have a close genetic relationship with the coronavirus associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Our current research focused on the identification of the reservoir species for the progenitor virus of the SARS coronaviruses responsible for outbreaks during 2002-2003 and 2003-2004.”
October 2007. Shi Zhengli co-authors a paper with Peter Daszak: Evolutionary Relationships between Bat Coronaviruses and Their Hosts. Below is Figure 2, Distribution of coronaviruses isolated in the People’s Republic of China.
December 12, 2007. Shi Zhengli co-authors a paper Difference in Receptor Usage between Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Coronavirus and SARS-Like Coronavirus of Bat Origin: “The key difference between these two groups of closely related viruses lies in their S protein sequences, specifically, the RBM, in which there are two deletions in the bat SL-CoV S sequences.”
March 5, 2009. Shi Zhengli co-authors Differential stepwise evolution of SARS coronavirus functional proteins in different host species. It discusses how the spike protein which came to be in the SARS-coronavirus evolved: “Our results suggest that most functional proteins of SARS-CoV have experienced a stepwise adaptive evolutionary pathway. Similar to previous studies, the spike protein underwent strong positive selection in the early and middle phases, and became stabilized in the late phase. In addition, the replicase experienced positive selection only in human patients, whereas assembly proteins experienced positive selection mainly in the middle and late phases.” I’m not sure what that means, but I read it in the context that man can help these proteins “evolve” in a lab. How then did SARS2 acquire its furin cleavage site? Either the site evolved naturally, or it was inserted by researchers at the S1/S2 junction in a gain-of-function experiment. As Nicholas Wade wrote in The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan? on SARS 2 (COVID 19): “How then did SARS2 acquire its furin cleavage site? Either the site evolved naturally, or it was inserted by researchers at the S1/S2 junction in a gain-of-function experiment.”
February 6, 2010. Shi Zhengli alone authors “Bat and Virus.” Summarizes the rapid increase in the number of known viruses in bats after the 2002-2003 SARS-coronavirus outbreak.
April 7, 2010. Shi Zhengli co-authors a paper Hantavirus outbreak associated with laboratory rats in Yunnan, China about how a virus escaped from research institutions in China in 2003. The virus was hantavirus, causing hemorrhagic fever. The virus is spread only by rats to humans. Humans cannot spread the virus. The rats escaped or were released. This is a high-mortality virus at around 35%. From the paper: “An outbreak of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome occurred among students in a college (College A) in Kunming, Yunnan province, China in 2003. Subsequent investigations revealed the presence of hantavirus antibodies and antigens in laboratory rats at College A and two other institutions. Hantavirus antibodies were detected in 15 additional individuals other than the index case in these three locations. Epidemiologic data indicated that the human infections were a result of zoonotic transmission of the virus from laboratory rats.”
2012. According to an article in the Daily Mail, published April 24, 2021, the Chinese military began a secret program to categorize viruses in 2012. “Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal that a nationwide scheme, directed by a leading state body, was launched nine years ago to discover new viruses and detect the ‘dark matter’ of biology involved in spreading diseases.” “The scheme’s five team leaders include Shi Zhengli, the WIV virologist nicknamed ‘Bat Woman’ for her trips to find samples in caves, and Cao Wuchun, a senior army officer and government adviser on bioterrorism.” It’s unclear who or what the Daily Mail was referring to.
April 2012. In Mojiang County, Yunnan Province, China, workers fell ill in a copper mine shaft full of bats. Shi Zhengli and her team investigate six bat species in this mine shaft 2012-2013. According to Scientific American, “the fungus turned out to be the pathogen that had sickened the miners.” Scientific American did not provide a quote or reference paper from Zhengli on the fungus. Zhengli’s team did however find new viruses in the mine and published their findings on February 18, 2016. The Master’s Thesis of Li Xu of Kumming Medical University first discussed the illnesses of six workers: The Analysis of Six Patients with Unknown Viruses.
June 13, 2012. A man in Saudi Arabia is diagnosed with MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). In November 8, 2012, researchers from the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia published Isolation of a Novel Coronavirus from a Man with Pneumonia in Saudi Arabia : “The virus represents a novel betacoronavirus species. The closest known relatives are bat coronaviruses HKU4 and HKU5. Here, the clinical data, virus isolation, and molecular identification are presented. The clinical picture was remarkably similar to that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003…”
August 2012. From the paper later published in 2016, we can see that testing of the viruses found in bats in the Yunnan Province mine shaft began by Shi Zhengli’s team as early as August 2012. They described one virus as “SARS-related,” found in Rhinolophus affinus, but they did not name the virus. (I don’t understand why they described some viruses which had names ((HKU8, HKU2, HKU10)) as “unclassified.”)
October 2012 and April 2013. Studies on bats in Saudia Arabia and MERS are done. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus in Bats, Saudi Arabia. “In October 2012 and April 2013, three agencies collected samples from bats in regions where MERS cases had been identified. The agencies are the Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia, the Center for Infection and Immunity of Columbia University, and EcoHealth Alliance.” They found 1 bat with a MERS-coronavirus positive signal. “the only MERS-positive signal was obtained in PCR analysis of the T. perforatus bat captured in Bisha near the home and workplace of the MERS index case-patient used to generate the human β-CoV 2c EMC/2012 sequence.” The authors of the study were not at all convinced that bats around Saudi Arabia were the source of MERS. “We sampled only a small sample of bats in Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, given the rarity of MERS CoV sequences detected by our survey and the broad distribution of MERS cases throughout the Middle East, we speculate that there are probably other hosts. Future work should investigate additional bat and other wildlife species and domestic animals for CoV infection and potential linkage to human disease.” Some posit that the virus may have been first transmitted by bat to camel, then camel to human.
May 27, 2013. Shi Zhengli’s reference letter from the Director of Wuhan’s Institute of Virology to become part of Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance team soon to receive funding for study “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence.”
October 30, 2013. Shi Zhengli co-authors Isolation and characterization of a bat SARS-like coronavirus that uses the ACE2 receptor. Still looking for the exact bat-coronavirus to match the 2002-2003 SARS-coronavirus: “Here we report whole-genome sequences of two novel bat coronaviruses from Chinese horseshoe bats (family: Rhinolophidae) in Yunnan, China: RsSHC014 and Rs3367. These viruses are far more closely related to SARS-CoV than any previously identified bat coronaviruses, particularly in the receptor binding domain of the spike protein.” They modified some viruses: “Replacing the RBD of one SL-CoV S protein with SARS-CoV S conferred the ability to use human ACE2 and replicate efficiently in mice9,13. However, to date, no SL-CoVs have been isolated from bats, and no wild-type SL-CoV of bat origin has been shown to use ACE2.”
October 2015. Scientific American in June 2020 reported that in October 2015 Shi Zhengli’s team collected blood from approximately 200 people in 4 villages around Shitou and Yanzi Caves near Kunming, China. They found that 3% (a total of 6 people) of people had developed antibodies against coronaviruses from bats without coming into contact with the bats. Scientific American, in my opinion, also overstated the link between RaTG13 and SARS2: “The genomic sequence of the virus, eventually named SARS-CoV-2, was 96 percent identical to that of a coronavirus the researchers had identified in horseshoe bats in Yunnan. Their results appeared in a paper published online on February 3 in Nature. ‘It’s crystal clear that bats, once again, are the natural reservoir,” says Daszak, who was not involved in the study.'” (Zhengli and her co-authors, Daszak among them, have often referred to bats being the “natural reservoirs” of coronaviruses in general, as opposed to some of the “intermediary hosts” of coronaviruses such as civets, which were first thought to be the reservoir of the original SARS virus). Scientific American
Mid-March 2014. “The number of cases sharply increased since mid‐March 2014,” WHO says in its latest advisory. But it also notes that most people are infected by other people, not directly by camels.” NBC
April 2014. Camels are almost certainly the source of the MERS virus that is on the upswing again across the Middle East, researchers reported on Tuesday. NBC
November 9, 2015. Shi Zhengli co-authors a paper with Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina. A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence. Baric’s team modified a bat coronavirus: ” Using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system2, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone.” They determined that their viruses “viruses encoding the SHC014 spike” could “replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells.” In other words the spike they added to the virus made them contagious. They named their virus SHC014-MA15. They noted that antibodies for the original SARS-Coronavirus were ineffective against SHC014-MA15.
December 22, 2015. Shi Zhengli co-authors “Bat origin of human coronaviruses.” The paper discusses bat coronavirus research in both SARS and MERS.
December 30, 2015. Shi Zhengli and Peter Daszak co-author “Isolation and Characterization of a Novel Bat Coronavirus Closely Related to the Direct Progenitor of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus.” They report on a new coronavirus collected from a bat in July 2013 in the mine shaft in Yunnan province. They named the virus SL-CoV WIV16. They said it was a 96% match for human and civet coronaviruses, the highest yet. It’s a matter of small differences though as their table shows.
February 18, 2016. Shi Zhengli co-authors “Coexistence of multiple coronaviruses in several bat colonies in an abandoned mineshaft.” This study was based on the previously mentioned April 2012 illness in the mine shaft in Yunnan Province, China. The study found one new coronavirus and 2 or 3 new betacoronaviruses. “… the surveillance identified two unclassified betacoronaviruses, one new strain of SARS-like coronavirus, and one potentially new betacoronavirus species. MERS, which originated in Saudi Arabia months after the mine shaft illness, was a betacoronavirus. Figure below shows the location of the mine shaft in Yunnan Province and some nearby towns.
August 8, 2016. The Global Virome Project begins. It is a private effort to categorize all the world’s viruses. It is aimed to launch in 2018. Peter Daszak is the Treasurer and Secretary of the Global Virome Project Leadership Board. Shi Zhengli and Peter Daszak have co-authored many papers together. Zhengli began publishing studies on viruses outside of China after 2018, although I haven’t seen a reference to Zhengli being directly involved in the Global Virome Project.
December 25, 2016. Shi Zhengli attends and addresses a conference in Pakistan “Strategies to Control Viral Hemorrhagic Fever.” “Prof. Zhengli Shi gave a presentation on the epidemic, animal tracing and diagnostics of the respiratory syndrome coronavirus in the Middle East.” Wuhan Institute of Virology
February 23, 2017. Photo shows Shi Zhengli at work at her P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
November 13, 2017. Shi Zhengli and Peter Daszak co-author “Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus.” This report is also on the bats in the mine shaft. “We have carried out a five-year longitudinal surveillance (April 2011 to October 2015) on SARSr-CoVs in bats from a single habitat in proximity to Kunming city, Yunnan province, China, which was mainly inhabited by horseshoe bats.” They found many new viruses. The researchers were still looking for an exact match for SARS: “The primary difference between SARS-CoV and most bat SARSr-CoVs is located in S gene.” The researchers believe that it may be possible that SARS could have originated from these bats, but they don’t make a “smoking gun” claim: “Recombination analysis shows evidence of frequent recombination events within the S gene and around the ORF8 between these SARSr-CoVs. We hypothesize that the direct progenitor of SARS-CoV may have originated after sequential recombination events between the precursors of these SARSr-CoVs.” They obviously were cautious against making a claim that the bats in the Yunnan mine shaft were the origin of SARS when they chose the phrase “new insights into the origin.” David Cyranoski, in Nature, on December 1 2017 wasn’t so cautious: “researchers chasing the origin of the deadly SARS virus have finally found their smoking gun.” He chose the title: “Bat cave solves mystery of deadly SARS virus…”
December 29, 2017. Taiwan News: “On Dec. 29, 2017, Chinese state-run TV released a video designed to showcase Shi Zhengli, (石正麗), also known as “Bat Woman,” and her team of scientists at the WIV in their quest to find the origin of SARS. Despite the fact that the scientists work in a biosafety level 4 lab, they show a shocking disregard for safety when handling potentially infectious bats both in the wild and in the lab.” Picture shows swelling on a team member’s arm after a bat bite. This is noteworthy: “However, in an article posted in the China Science Exploration Center, which was later scrubbed by China’s censors, Shi boasted that ‘this job is not as dangerous as everyone thinks.’ Although bats carry many viruses, ‘the odds of directly infecting humans is very small, she wrote.'” It is unclear when the video was filmed or why China would promote this in 2017, a day before Zhengli received samples of SARS-Coronavirus 2.
February 2018. Shi Zhengli co-authors Serological Evidence of Bat SARS-Related Coronavirus Infection in Humans, China. The study again references the six individuals found with coronavirus antibodies near the Yunnan province caves: ” considering that these individuals have a high chance of direct exposure to bat secretion in their villages, this study further supports the notion that some bat SARSr-CoVs are able to directly infect humans without intermediate hosts.” It’s noteworthy that there were no published results on the six individuals who initially fell ill in the mine shaft, but they found six with antibodies in a “sample” of individuals in the area.
March 2018. Taiwan News: “Photos have resurfaced from 2018 showing a warped seal on a freezer door as suspicions grow that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could have started at a poorly managed virology lab in Wuhan. … Photos posted by the China Daily in early March, before later being scrubbed, show a seal around a freezer door looking dangerously warped. The original tweet proudly proclaimed the photos as being of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where it said 1,500 viruses are kept. On March 10, Twitter user John Pollizzi reposted one of the photos showing a badly bent seal and quipped: “I have seen better seals on my refrigerator in my kitchen.” The image went viral, as many other netizens were equally horrified by the apparently lax safety measures, and was published on British media on Sunday (April 19).” A few observations: The freezer is believed to be -80 Celsius. If you open the door, it’s not sealed anyway. Here is the British article in Express on April 20, 2020: “Terrifying photos hastily deleted by China set coronavirus alarm bells ringing.”
April 4, 2018. Shi Zhengli co-author Fatal swine acute diarrhoea syndrome caused by an HKU2-related coronavirus of bat origin: “Here we report on a series of fatal swine disease outbreaks in Guangdong province, China, approximately 100 km from the location of the purported index case of SARS. Most strikingly, we found that the causative agent of this swine acute diarrhoea syndrome (SADS) is a novel HKU2-related coronavirus that is 98.48% identical in genome sequence to a bat coronavirus, which we detected in 2016 in bats in a cave in the vicinity of the index pig farm. This new virus (SADS-CoV) originated from the same genus of horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus) as SARS-CoV. From 28 October 2016 onwards, a fatal swine disease outbreak was observed in a pig farm in Qingyuan, Guangdong province, China, very close to the location of the first known index case of SARS in 2002…”
July 1, 2018. Shi Zhengli co-authors “Discovery of Novel Bat Coronaviruses in South China That Use the Same Receptor as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus: ” Our study provides further evidence that bats represent the evolutionary origins of MERS-CoV. … However, its evolutionary path from bats to humans remains unclear.”
December 10, 2018. Shi Zhengli co-authors Origin and evolution of pathogenic coronaviruses. It discusses intermediary hosts (camel, cow, civet, pig) between humans, and the original source of the coronaviruses (bats and rats). It discusses how mutations and recombinations of coronaviruses and how these coronaviruses bind with receptors in animals that were not the original host. The funding of this study, and the research institutions involved are now in the public spotlight. It appears to be essentially a joint study between Chinese military intelligence and the named US government agencies. “This work was jointly funded by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDB29010000), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31621061) and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases (R01AI110964) to Z.-L.S; NIH grants (R01AI089728 and R01AI110700) to F.L.; the CAS Pioneer Hundred Talents Program to J.C.; and the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) “One-Three-Five” Strategic Program (WIV-135-TP1) to J.C. and Z.-L.S.”
January 7, 2019. Shi Zhengli co-authors: Characterization of a filovirus (Měnglà virus) from Rousettus bats in China. This article is not available for public view without paying for it, apparently. The abstract essentially says that the newly-identified bat virus is similar to Ebola. “Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus (MARV)”…. “are evolutionally and functionally closely related.”
January 28, 2019. Shi Zhengli is elected a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Wuhan Institute of Virology: “On Jan 28, the American Academy of Microbiology elected 109 new Fellows in 2019. The “’Class of 2019′ represents fellows from China, the U.S., France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Israel, Korea, and etc. Prof. SHI Zhengli from Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Prof. SHI is the Director of the Center of Emerging Infectious Diseases at WIV, Director of the Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens and Biosafety of CAS, and the Editor-in-Chief of Virologica Sinica. She received her Ph.D from Montpellier University II, France, in 2000. Her researches focus on molecular epidemiology and interspecies infection mechanism of emerging viruses of zoonotic origin especially those from bats. She has made distinguished and pioneering achievement in discovery and characterization of important bat-borne viruses. She identified the bat origin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and has made crucial contributions to prevention and control of zoonotic emerging infectious disease in China. She had got over 120 publications including research articles on high-impact journals Science, Nature, Cell Host & Microbe, PLoS Pathogens, etc. She won the first prize of Natural Science Award of Hubei Province in 2017 and the second prize of National Natural Science Award in 2018. Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology, an honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. Formed in 1955, the ASM is the largest single life science society, composed of more than 50,000 scientists and health professionals. Its mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences. Now there are over 2,400 Fellows representing all subspecialties of the microbial sciences and involved in basic and applied research, teaching, public health, industry, and government service.” Below is a photo that WIV included in their statement.
March 11, 2019. Shi Zhengli co-authors Bat Coronaviruses in China. “In this review, we collected information from past epidemiology studies on bat coronaviruses in China, including the virus species identified, their host species, and their geographical distributions. We also discuss the future prospects of bat coronaviruses cross-species transmission and spread in China.” Below is figure “Geographical distribution of bat coronaviruses (CoVs) and their corresponding bat hosts in China.”
May 20, 2019. Shi Zhengli co-authors Bat adeno-associated viruses as gene therapy vectors with the potential to evade human neutralizing antibodies. “The prevalence of adeno-associated virus (AAV) has been investigated in bat populations, but little is known about the biological properties of this virus. In this study, four full-length bat AAV capsid genes were isolated in China…”
Summer 2019. Daily Mail: “Medical researchers with the Chinese army engineered mice with humanized lungs in 2019 to test viruses on them, it has been reported. The mice, developed using CRISPR gene-editing technology, were mentioned in an April 2020 study which researched their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 illness, Vanity Fair revealed in its bombshell investigation. Of the study’s 23 co-authors, 11 of them worked for the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, the medical research institute for the Chinese army. Investigators with the U.S. National Security Council, researching the origins of the pandemic, determined that the mice referenced in the study were created in the summer of 2019 – just months before the emergence of the pandemic.”
August 16, 2019. Shi Zhengli co-authors Detection and characterization of a novel bat-borne coronavirus in Singapore using multiple molecular approaches. It is a study of bats and coronaviruses in Singapore. They note: “Although SADS-CoV (in pigs) was shown to be incapable of infecting humans in its current form, it remains to be seen whether further adaptation or a related virus can spill over into human populations in the future.” Below is figure “Geographical distribution of bat roosts in Singapore.”
September 2019. Shi Zhentli co-authors Human-animal interactions and bat coronavirus spillover potential among rural residents in Southern China. “Scientific question: What are the behavioral risks in human-animal interactions that could lead to the emergence of bat coronaviruses in human population. Direct contact with bats was not identified as a risk factor. However, self-reported severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and/or influenza-like illness (ILI) was linked to human interaction with other wildlife and livestock, suggesting that there may be other zoonotic exposures leading to clinical illness in these populations.”
October 31, 2019. Shi Zhentli co-authors “Filovirus-reactive antibodies in humans and bats in Northeast India imply zoonotic spillover.” “In the Northeast Indian state of Nagaland, local ethnic groups have conducted bat harvests for at least seven generations as a source of food and traditional medicine. These bat hunters are exposed to saliva, blood, and excreta from the bat species Rousettus leschenaultii and Eonycteris spelaea. We conducted a serological survey of both hunted bat species and human hunters to study if humans have been exposed to filoviruses potentially originating from bats.” Figure below shows the “Geographical map of the border region between India and Myanmar.”
November 2019. Shi Zhengli co-authors Molecular Detection and Genetic Characterization of Novel RNA Viruses in Wild and Synanthropic Rodents and Shrews in Kenya. “…little is known about the diversity of viruses circulating among rodents and shrews in Kenya, meaning the risk of infectious disease outbreak from these small mammals could be oblivious. This study reports the first surveillance toward understanding the diversity of RNA viruses carried by rodents and shrews in areas of high-potential contact with humans in Kenya through molecular detection.” Figure below is “Map of Kenya showing rodent and shrew sampling sites between August and September, 2016.“
November 2019. The Wall Street Journal: “Three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care, according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report …” Researchers “became sick in autumn 2019 ‘with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness.'”
December 30, 2019. At the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Shi Zhengli receives samples of what the WHO would later name COVID-19. Zhengli later denied that they had ever seen the virus before. Zhengli: “We first received the clinical samples of SARS-CoV-2 on December 30 2019, which were called back then samples of ‘pneumonia with unknown etiology.’ Subsequently, we rapidly conducted research in parallel with other domestic institutions, and quickly identified the pathogen. The complete genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 was submitted and published via WHO on January 12. Before that, we had never been in contact with or studied this virus, nor did we know of its existence.” Scientific American: “Shi instructed her group to repeat the tests and, at the same time, sent the samples to another facility to sequence the full viral genomes. Meanwhile she frantically went through her own lab’s records from the past few years to check for any mishandling of experimental materials, especially during disposal. Shi breathed a sigh of relief when the results came back: none of the sequences matched those of the viruses her team had sampled from bat caves. ‘That really took a load off my mind,’ she says. ‘I had not slept a wink for days.'”
February 3, 2020. Shi Zhengli co-authors A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin. “The epidemic, which started on 12 December 2019, had caused 2,794 laboratory-confirmed infections including 80 deaths by 26 January 2020.” They said the “COVID-19” virus was 96.2% similar to a virus they had discovered: “We then found that a short region of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) from a bat coronavirus (BatCoV RaTG13)—which was previously detected in Rhinolophus affinis from Yunnan province—showed high sequence identity to 2019-nCoV. We carried out full-length sequencing on this RNA sample (GISAID accession number EPI_ISL_402131). Simplot analysis showed that 2019-nCoV was highly similar throughout the genome to RaTG13 (Fig. 1c), with an overall genome sequence identity of 96.2%.” This does not sound like a very good match for SARS 2, however. They described RaTG13 as the “closest relative” they knew of: “Using the aligned genome sequences of 2019-nCoV, RaTG13, SARS-CoV and previously reported bat SARSr-CoVs, no evidence for recombination events was detected in the genome of 2019-nCoV. Phylogenetic analysis of the full-length genome and the gene sequences of RdRp and spike (S) showed that—for all sequences—RaTG13 is the closest relative of 2019-nCoV and they form a distinct lineage from other SARSr-CoVs…” Question: what percentage of similarity would be required to form a very good match?
February 24, 2020. Daily Mail: “A Chinese military scientist with ties to the United States reportedly filed a patent for a COVID-19 vaccine well before the disease was declared a global pandemic. Yusen Zhou, who worked for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), lodged the paperwork on behalf of the Chinese political party on February 24 2020, according to The Australian newspaper. That date was just five weeks after China first confirmed human transmission of the coronavirus. Zhou is also said to have ‘worked closely’ with scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), including Shi Zhengli – the deputy director of the lab who is famous for her research on coronavirus in bats.”
April 24, 2020. Daily Mail reports that they have seen documents on secret Chinese army efforts to find animal viruses.
July 15, 2020. Shi Zhengli answers written questions of Science Magazine about the origins of SARS 2, lab leaks, and other questions. Notably to me, she said that RaTG13 evolving to SARS 2 is nature is only theoretically possible. “The probability is extremely tiny.” Science. Full .pdf of Zhengli’s statements.
February 18, 2021. Roland Wiesendange of University of Hamburg, Germany, publishes Study on the Origin of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Wiesendanger said he was 99.9 sure that SARS 2 began with a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Wiesendanger listed six circumstantial facts to support his theory: Medium:
May 14, 2021. Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina, a research partner of Shi Zhengli, joins calls for an investigation into the origins of SARS 2. Investigate the origins of COVID-19. “Theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover both remain viable. … We must take hypotheses about both natural and laboratory spillovers seriously until we have sufficient data.”
May 26, 2021. US Senate votes unanimously to require the DOJ to “declassify information about any links between China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology and Covid-19.” Forbes
May 27, 2021. PRC Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference: “What secrets are hidden in the suspicion-shrouded Fort Detrick and the over 200 US bio-labs all over the world? In July 2019, there were reports on the unexplained outbreaks of respiratory disease in northern Virginia and on the subsequent EVALI outbreaks in Wisconsin. What’s hidden there? When will the US release detailed data and information on relevant cases? It owes an explanation to the world.” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of People’s Republic of China
July 20, 2021. “House Democrats killed a bill Tuesday that would have required the White House to declassify intelligence related to the origins of the COVID-19 virus after the proposal from Sen. Hawley of Missouri and Sen. Braun of Indiana passed unanimously in the Senate.” Federalist
July 23, 2021. The DOJ drops visa fraud cases against Chinese researchers. Wall Street Journal
July 26, 2021. China reiterates calls to investigate Fort Detrick for coronavirus origins. China
TO BE CONTINUED