Beijing, June 22: A Chinese lab, suspected of leaking coronavirus (COVID-19), has been nominated for top science award in China. According to reports, the Chinese Academy of Sciences has nominated the Wuhan Institute of Virology for its 2021 Outstanding Science and Technology Achievement Prize. Wuhan Institute of Virology head Shi Zhengli, dubbed as bat woman, also received a special mention from the academy. Coronavirus Is of Natural Origin, Not Invention of Man, Says Russian Vaccine Maker.
The controversial lab, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has been nominated for the award for completing "the most comprehensive and systematic identification research on the aetiology of COVID-19". "...the results of the project have laid an important foundation and technology platform for the follow-up research on the origin, epidemiology and pathogenic mechanism of the COVID-19 virus," it reportedly said.
The academy also said the research done by the Wuhan Institute of Virology helped control the coronavirus pandemic and in developed of vaccines against COVID-19. The lab's head Dr Zhengli has been accused of leading so-called "gain-of-function" (GOF) experiments in which scientists increase the strength of a virus to better study its effects on hosts. Many experts believe the coronavirus leaked from Dr Zhengli's lab.
Recently, Dr Zhengli denied that her lab is behind the coronavirus pandemic. "How on earth can I offer up evidence for something where there is no evidence?" Dr Zhengli, an expert in bat coronaviruses, told the New York Times in rare comments to the media. "I don’t know how the world has come to this, constantly pouring filth on an innocent scientist," she told the US daily.
In Wuhan, where the first cases of the coronavirus emerged in late 2019, at least two labs studied coronaviruses that originate in bats; the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Ever since the coronavirus outbreak came to light, speculation is growing on whether the deadly virus originated from China's premier virology institute or from its nearby Huanan Seafood Market.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 22, 2021 09:14 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).