Video: China boasted about its bat cave virus research — before denying its existence. Here’s the government’s propaganda short issued in December, weeks before the outbreak became public

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Credit: Justin Ng/Linfa Wang
Credit: Justin Ng/Linfa Wang

In [a video released by the Chinese government,] researchers scale [a] cavern wall, their headlamps ghostly blue.

“If our skin is exposed, it can easily come in contact with bat excrement and contaminated matter, which means this is quite risky,” says Tian Junhua, one of the bat hunters. “We have to live for several days in the cave . . .” he continues, as the soundtrack amps up the drama. “There’s no cellphone signal, no supplies. It’s truly scary.”

The video was released by national science authorities and Chinese state broadcaster CCTV on Dec. 10, 2019, and circulated on social media. It’s a high-quality production, designed to promote China’s world-leading viral research. Aired around the time Wuhan residents began turning up at hospitals with mysterious respiratory ailments, it also offers a rare glimpse of field conditions on the eve of the pandemic.

Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.

According to a World Health Organization report released in March, the Wuhan CDC denied any storage or laboratory activities involving bat viruses before the coronavirus outbreak — a stance hard to reconcile with Tian’s boasts in the video about having visited dozens of bat caves and studied 300 types of virus vectors.

Tian has not spoken publicly for more than a year.

Read the original post

Related article:  Dinosaur hike: How a Montana family found a ‘nearly complete’ T. rex
Outbreak Featured
Infographic: Gene transfer mystery — How 'antifreeze' genes jumped from one species to another without sex

Infographic: Gene transfer mystery — How ‘antifreeze’ genes jumped from one species to another without sex

It isn’t surprising... that herrings and smelts, two groups of fish that commonly roam the northernmost reaches of the Atlantic ...
a bee covered in pollen x

Are GMOs and pesticides threatening bees?

First introduced in 1995, neonicotinoids ...
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
glp menu logo outlined

Get news on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.