Story at a glance:

  • Danielle Anderson worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s BSL-4 lab until November 2019.
  • The lab is no different than others of its kind around the world when it comes to safety, said Anderson.
  • She wasn’t aware of any scientists working on gain-of-function experiments with coronaviruses in the lab.

An Australian virologist who worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology's BSL-4 lab until November 2019 — around the time the coronavirus was at its infancy — said that the lab is not what the American media makes it out to be.

As Changing America previously reported, the theory that the Wuhan lab created COVID-19 through a gain-of-function experiment leaked into the world has gained momentum among some Americans, including scientists.


America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


However, Danielle Anderson, who was in the Wuhan lab, told Bloomberg that everything was standard, including the safety precautions, there.

“It’s not that it was boring, but it was a regular lab that worked in the same way as any other high-containment lab,” Anderson said. “What people are saying is just not how it is.”

Anderson’s career as a virologist expanded to years working at various places such as Deakin University in Geelong, Australia, being a lab technician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, a doctorate in Australia, post-doctoral work in Montreal and work at the biosafety lab at Singapore’s Duke-NUS Medical School researching lethal viruses like Ebola and Nipah. 

When she was hired as a researcher in 2018 in Wuhan, she was impressed with the institute’s maximum biocontainment lab.

It was a concrete, bunker-style building with the highest regards to biosafety designation there is, according to Anderson’s recollection.

There was strict guidance for everything entering and leaving the facility, such as air, water and waste needing to be filtered and sterilized before it leaves the facility, protocols and requirements aimed at containing the pathogens being studied, and researchers were required to complete 45 hours of training to be certified to work independently in the lab.

“It’s very, very extensive,” Anderson said of the containment procedures. She also compared her experience working at the Wuhan lab to similar facilities in Europe, Singapore and Australia.

Anderson did admit to Bloomberg that it is possible for a single scientist in the lab to be working on a gain-of-function technique unbeknownst to others, possibly infecting others. However, she does not have the evidence for that claim and said she believes it is unlikely for several reasons, including the difficulty of the work and the layers of authorization that would have been required.

The most likely explanation for the coronavirus is natural emergence from an animal vector, Anderson said. And she added that she is convinced no virus was intentionally released from the facility.


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

WHO SAYS VACCINATED PEOPLE STILL NEED MASKS BECAUSE OF HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS DELTA VARIANT

FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER EXPLAINS WHY US WILL ALWAYS HAVE NEW COVID-19 CASES FROM NOW ON

EXPERT SAYS NEW COVID-19 OUTBREAKS WILL BE ‘VERY DENSE’ IN CERTAIN PARTS OF THE COUNTRY

DELTA VARIANT INCREASES RISK IN HOSPITALIZATIONS: STUDY

RETURN OF SMELL CAN TAKE UP TO ONE YEAR AFTER COVID-19 INFECTION: REPORT

Published on Jun 29, 2021