China hushed up work of ‘Bat Woman’ coronavirus expert who unlocked killer gene that could have saved lives

Her team’s work was said to have revealed the virus was linked to horseshoe bats found more than 1,000 miles away in Yunnan, a region of southern China.

Gao Yu, a Chinese journalist freed last week after 76 days of lockdown in Wuhan, said he spoke to Shi while he was in custody.

He said: “We learned later her institute finished gene-sequencing and related tests as early as January 2 but was muzzled.”

But reportedly that same day, Yanyi Wang, director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s director sent an email to staff and key officials ordering them to keep quiet about the new virus.


Covid-19 was originally thought to have come from a so-called “wet market” in the city but there has been mounting speculation linking the disease to the lab and another in the city.

Scientists at the institute experimented on bats as part of a project funded by the US National Institutes of Health, which licences it to receive American money, the Mail on Sunday reports.

The £30 million Wuhan Institute of Virology is the most advanced laboratory of its type on the Chinese mainland and is based ten miles from the now infamous “wet market”.

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