Thursday, January 27, 2022

China’s ‘Bat Woman’, in the middle of a pandemic storm, speaks out

In less polarized times, Dr. Shi is a symbol of China’s scientific progress, the ‘Bat Woman’ at the forefront of emerging virus research.

She led expeditions to caves to collect samples of bats and guano to learn how viruses jump from animals to humans. In 2019, she was among 109 scientists elected to the American Academy of Microbiology for her contributions to the field.

“She is an astronomer – extremely careful, with a strict work ethic,” he said. Dr. Robert C. Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology employs nearly 300 people and is home to one of only two Chinese laboratories with the highest safety rating, Biosafety Level 4. Dr. Shi leads the institute’s work on emerging infectious diseases, and over the years her group has collected more than 10,000 bat samples from across China.

According to China’s centralized approach to scientific research, the institute is responding to the Communist Party, which wants scientists to serve national goals. “Science has no borders, but scientists have a motherland,” Xi Jinping, the country’s leader, said in a speech to scientists last year.

Dr. Shi himself, however, does not belong to the Communist Party official Chinese media reports, which is unusual for civil servants of her status. She built up her career at the institute and started in 1990 as a research assistant.

Dr. Shi, 57, earned her doctorate. at the University of Montpellier in France in 2000 and began studying bats in 2004 after the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which killed more than 700 people around the world. In 2011, she made a breakthrough when she found bats in a cave in southwest China that contained coronaviruses that were similar to the virus that causes SARS.

Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com
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