The virus named RaTG13 was discovered in an abandoned mine in Mojiang, Yunnan, about a decade ago.
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The director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology is Shi-Zheng-Li, and to enlighten who she actually is, what kind of researches she was engaged in, we are presenting this very brief, yet thorough manifest of her previous works. You will see that she has a key role in the gain of function researches and the other connected experiments with the coronavirus.
According to many kinds of research, as well as the article published by The Epoch Times,
“Her work shows a curious pattern of deception tracing through her publications from 2013 to 2020 in which a key source for the coronavirus most closely related to COVID-19 was concealed.
In 2002, an outbreak of a novel coronavirus named SARS resulted in the deaths of 774 people worldwide. Investigations quickly established that the virus spread from bats to civets and then on to people.
The SARS outbreak would prove to shape Shi’s career, moving from field research to work in level 2 biosafety labs before culminating in gain-of-function experiments in China’s first and only level-4 lab in Wuhan.
Her search for the originating source of the SARS outbreak began in 2004 when she joined an international team of researchers to collect samples from bats in Southern China.
Shi’s early research and work were captured in a 2005 article in which she reported that “that species of bats are a natural host of coronaviruses closely related to those responsible for the SARS outbreak.”
Shi and her team would continue their search for the source of the 2002 outbreak for years and the samples her team collected were sent back to Wuhan for analysis and further experimentation.
On Dec. 12, 2007, Shi and her team published a paper in the Journal of Virology that showed how viruses could be manipulated to infect and attack human cells using an HIV-based pseudovirus. This experiment, funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was the first indication that Shi’s Wuhan laboratory was acquiring the technologies and skills required to manipulate viruses collected in the wild.
In June 2010, Shi co-authored a paper showing that her team had built on the 2007 experiments by manipulating additional bat virus specimens and testing their interactions with human SARS-CoV spike proteins. They found that “alteration of several key residues either decreased or enhanced bat ACE2 receptor efficiency.” The study was again funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.”
Here’s a link to the 2010 paper.
“In 2011 and 2012, Shi and her team conducted a “12-month longitudinal survey” of a colony of horseshoe bats “at a single location in Kunming city, Yunnan province, China.” This single location was Shitou Cave.
While Shi and her team were conducting their survey at Shitou Cave, an unrelated group of six workers began clearing bat excrement from a copper mine shaft in Mojiang, Yunnan—approximately 200 miles away from Shi’s group—according to The Sunday Times.
In April 2012, according to The Wall Street Journal, these six workers became seriously ill from a pneumonia-like disease that resulted in the deaths of three of the men. Notably, all of the public reports state that the mine shaft was abandoned, but none of these same reports explain why the six miners were there to clean the shaft out.
There was no media mention of this strange, isolated outbreak, and as the Sunday Times notes, there “appears to have been a media blackout” surrounding the entire incident.
Shi and her team, fortuitously already in the region during this new outbreak, abruptly shifted both their focus and location and spent the next two years collecting samples from bats located in the mine at the Mojiang location.
A virus allegedly found in one of these samples was later revealed to be the closest known match to the virus that causes COVID-19.
The finding of this particular viral sample appears to have been akin to finding a needle in a haystack. Although the Mojiang location turned up vast amounts of coronaviruses, only one of them resembled SARS and was reportedly found in a single fecal sample. Shi’s team named the virus RaBtCoV/4991.
Peter Daszak, the president of EcoHealth Alliance, confirmed the fortuitous finding to The Sunday Times, stating that “It was just one of the 16,000 bats we sampled. It was a fecal sample, we put it in a tube, put it in liquid nitrogen, took it back to the lab. We sequenced a short fragment.”
It is not known with certainty if Daszak, who used funding from the National Institutes of Health to provide the Wuhan Institute of Virology with grants to research bat coronaviruses, was present at the Mojiang Mine site, but he is a co-author of a paper describing the group’s findings.”
In a 2013 scientific article, Shi admitted that she obtained a virus called RaBtCoV/4991 from 276 bat fecal probes that “were sampled in a mineshaft in Mojiang.” As we now know, the RaBtCoV/4991 virus has been shown to be the closest known match to the virus that causes COVID-19.
Then, in early February 2020, she renamed this same virus as RaTG13—just as the COVID-19 pandemic started.