Beijing: The new viruses being discovered are “actually just
the tip of the iceberg”, a Chinese Virologist known for her in-depth research on
coronavirus in bats has warned.
Shi Zhengli, the Deputy Director of the Wuhan Institute of
Virology, cautioned of “another outbreak” unless the “unknown viruses carried
by wild animals in nature” are deeply studied.
“The unknown viruses that we have discovered are actually
just the tip of the iceberg. 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,” Zhengli told Chinese television network CCTN.
The ‘Bat Woman’, who has been studying the coronavirus in
bats since 2004 following the SARS outbreak, called for greater international
co-operation in the fight against epidemics such as the deadly Covid-19.
“Research undertaken in viruses needs governments and
scientists to be transparent with their findings, and co-operative…,” she said,
adding politicizing science is “very regrettable”.
Her statement comes at a time when the China-US relations
reached their lowest ebb with Washington charging that the virus originated out
of a Wuhan lab and also accusing Beijing of covering up the initial outbreak.
“If we don't study them, there will possibly be another outbreak,” she warned.