Virologist: top scientist China infected with corona in lab

If the virologists’ story is correct, it is the first known laboratory leak with the new coronavirus.

The infection came to light in a series of emails leaked thanks to FOIA requests from the US Right To Know think tank. It is known for submitting numerous questions to the government with which government documents can be requested, similar to the WOB requests in the Netherlands.

In America, you can also request email exchanges from scientists who work at universities that are funded by the state. That ‘trick’ has now also been pulled.

“Yes, in the lab!”

It concerns a conversation between the virologists Shan-Lu Liu (Ohio State University), Lishan Su (University of North Carolina) and Shan Lu (University of Massachusetts Medical School).

In the emails, Shan Lu asked the other researchers to contribute to a commentary in a scientific journal linked to China, Emerging Microbes & Infections. Shan Lu is its editor in chief. He wanted to write an article disproving the theory that Sars-CoV-2 originated in a lab.

As the conversation progressed, however, it came to light that Shan-Lu Liu, another scientist, knew that his former director at a Chinese government organization “has been infected with Sars-CoV-2.” In a second email, he confirms: “Yes, he was infected in the lab!”

In response, the editor-in-chief Shan Lu writes that he is “actually very concerned” about the “possibility of infection in lab personnel.” Laboratories were now happy to conduct research with corona and that would pose risks.


The incident allegedly happened at the National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (NIVDC), which is part of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That is again the equivalent of the American version, the highest scientific organization in the country.

It is not known when the infection took place, but the email exchange comes from February 2020. That is quite early in the pandemic. It is emphatically not the first infection ever. But “the revelation that a veteran scientist was infected with SARS-CoV-2 while working at a leading lab in Beijing underlines the health concern concerns surrounding biolabs investigating diseases with pandemic potential,” US Right To Know said. Australian media also write about the emails.

The NIVDC has never come out with the infection. That raises more questions, the organization says, including about the possible response of the Chinese government in the hypothetical case that corona arose after a lab leak in, for example, the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

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