Apr 14, 2020

Xiao Qiang on the Wuhan Lab Studying Bat Coronaviruses

From The Washington Post

State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses

By Josh Rogin

Two years before the novel coronavirus pandemic upended the world, U.S. Embassy officials visited a Chinese research facility in the city of Wuhan several times and sent two official warnings back to Washington about inadequate safety at the lab, which was conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats. The cables have fueled discussions inside the U.S. government about whether this or another Wuhan lab was the source of the virus — even though conclusive proof has yet to emerge...

The origin story is not just about blame. It’s crucial to understanding how the novel coronavirus pandemic started because that informs how to prevent the next one. The Chinese government must be transparent and answer the questions about the Wuhan labs because they are vital to our scientific understanding of the virus, said Xiao Qiang, a research scientist at the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley.

We don’t know whether the novel coronavirus originated in the Wuhan lab, but the cable pointed to the danger there and increases the impetus to find out, he said.

“I don’t think it’s a conspiracy theory. I think it’s a legitimate question that needs to be investigated and answered,” he said. “To understand exactly how this originated is critical knowledge for preventing this from happening in the future.”

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Xiao Qiang is a research scientist at the UC Berkeley School of Information.

Xiao Qiang
Xiao Qiang (photo by Elliott Ng, CNReviews https://flic.kr/p/6L4xy2)

Last updated:

April 20, 2020