Leading Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli denounced the Wuhan lab COVID-19 origin theory as baseless and said there is no evidence to back it up.
Speaking to The New York Times on Monday in an impromptu conversation, Shi, 57, argued, "How on earth can I offer up evidence for something where there is no evidence?”
“I don’t know how the world has come to this, constantly pouring filth on an innocent scientist," she added via text message.
When asked if the Wuhan Institute of Virology could possibly have held the source of the COVID-19 virus before the pandemic began, Shi stated that there was no possibility of that occurring, the Times reports.
According to Shi, the Chinese government's refusal to allow an independent investigation to be carried out or for her lab to share data has only fueled speculation around the virus's origins.
The Times notes that before the pandemic, Shi was lauded as a symbol of China's progress in scientific research, collecting samples from bats in caves in order to learn how viruses could jump from the animals to humans. She was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology in 2019 for contributions to the scientific field.
Shi, known for being blunt according to the Times, has responded harshly to criticisms and suggestions that the virus could have originated from her lab. In an interview last year, she demanded an apology from former President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE for making such a suggestion and told online commenters to “shut your stinky mouths" when they also brought up the theory.
The politicization of the question behind COVID-19's origins has cut down her enthusiasm for discovering its origins, leading her to concentrate on vaccine development and researching features of the virus.
“I’m sure that I did nothing wrong,” she told the Times. “So I have nothing to fear.”
Calls for investigations into the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic have grown in recent months. During their recent summit, leaders from the Group of Seven called for a "timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based [World Health Organization]-convened Phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study including, as recommended by the experts’ report, in China."
President BidenJoe BidenHaiti prime minister warns inequality will cause migration to continue Pelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Erdoğan says Turkey plans to buy another Russian defense system MORE had previously asked the U.S. intelligence community in May to “redouble their efforts” in determining the origins of the virus.