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The Last—And Only—Foreign Scientist in the Wuhan Lab Speaks Out

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The Last—And Only—Foreign Scientist in the Wuhan Lab Speaks Out Empty The Last—And Only—Foreign Scientist in the Wuhan Lab Speaks Out

Post by Bloomberg Mon Jun 28, 2021 8:46 pm

Virologist Danielle Anderson paints a very different picture of the Wuhan Institute.
By Michelle Fay Cortez
June 27, 2021, 2:00 PM PDT

Danielle Anderson was working in what has become the world’s most notorious laboratory just weeks before the first known cases of Covid-19 emerged in central China. Yet, the Australian virologist still wonders what she missed.

An expert in bat-borne viruses, Anderson is the only foreign scientist to have undertaken research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s BSL-4 lab, the first in mainland China equipped to handle the planet’s deadliest pathogens. Her most recent stint ended in November 2019, giving Anderson an insider’s perspective on a place that’s become a flashpoint in the search for what caused the worst pandemic in a century.
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Anderson was on the ground in Wuhan when experts believe the virus, now known as SARS-CoV-2, was beginning to spread. Daily visits for a period in late 2019 put her in close proximity to many others working at the 65-year-old research center. She was part of a group that gathered each morning at the Chinese Academy of Sciences to catch a bus that shuttled them to the institute about 20 miles away.
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Anderson said no one she knew at the Wuhan institute was ill toward the end of 2019. Moreover, there is a procedure for reporting symptoms that correspond with the pathogens handled in high-risk containment labs.

“If people were sick, I assume that I would have been sick—and I wasn’t,” she said. “I was tested for coronavirus in Singapore before I was vaccinated, and had never had it.”
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And yet, she still believes it most likely came from a natural source. Since it took researchers almost a decade to pin down where in nature the SARS pathogen emerged, Anderson says she’s not surprised they haven’t found the “smoking gun” bat responsible for the latest outbreak yet.
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Despite this, Anderson does think an investigation is needed to nail down the virus’s origin once and for all. She’s dumbfounded by the portrayal of the lab by some media outside China, and the toxic attacks on scientists that have ensued.
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