Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli, who is known as the “bat woman,” warned Monday that the coronavirus pandemic is “just the tip of the iceberg.”
Although it remains unclear where COVID-19 originated — though the U.S. government is investigating whether it came from the Wuhan laboratory where Shi works — Shi told Chinese state television that countless novel viruses pose a threat to humans.
That threat, Shi said, is why scientists must research viruses.
“If we want to prevent human beings from suffering from the next infectious-disease outbreak, we must go in advance to learn of these unknown viruses carried by wild animals in nature and give early warnings,” she told CGTN.
“If we don’t study them, there will possibly be another outbreak,” Shi added.
Shi has worked at the infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology since 2004. She serves as the laboratory’s deputy director.
And although Shi works with SARS-like coronaviruses, specifically those carried by bats, Shi has vehemently denied that her workplace is responsible for the current pandemic.
Shi has stated in numerous interviews that none of the live viruses in her lab genetically matches COVID-19.