Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli denied rumors of "defecting to the West," saying Saturday on her WeChat that, "Everything is all right for my family and me, dear friends!" She also post nine photos of her recent life.
In the post, Shi said that, "No matter how difficult, it (defecting) shall never happen. We've done nothing wrong. With strong belief in science, we will see the day when the clouds disperse and the sun shines."
Shi, also known as China's "Bat Woman" because of her many years of research with bats and viruses, has been troubled by rumors for quite a long time. The recent rumor which has been circulating on overseas social media platforms said that "Shi Zhengli director at #Wuhan Institute of Virology has defected with a treasure trove of intelligence to the USA embassy in Paris. "
It is not the first time that Shi responded to the rumors on her WeChat. Dating back to February 2, she said on her WeChat Moment that, "the 2019 novel coronavirus is a punishment by nature to humans' unsanitary life styles. I promise with my life that the virus has nothing to do with the lab," in a response to an article by Indian scientists implying the novel coronavirus possibly originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Shi Zhengli's WeChat moment. (Photo: courtesy of Shi Zhengli)
Responding to rumors like "virus was leaked from Wuhan Institute of Virology" and "it was a man-made virus," the head of emergencies at the World Health Organization reiterated that the group believes the novel coronavirus is "natural in origin."
"We have listened again and again to numerous scientists who've looked at the sequences, looked at this virus, and we are assured that this virus is natural in origin," Mike Ryan, the executive director of WHO's health emergencies program, said at a press conference on Friday.
He also said it was important to establish the natural host of the virus, which could help pave the way for a better understanding of it and ways to prevent and respond to future outbreaks.
"We accept the committee's advice that WHO works to identify the animal source of the virus through international scientific and collaborative missions, in collaboration with the World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations", WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during his regular virtual press conference from Geneva on Friday.