The Chinese Foreign Ministry is calling for the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is at the center of controversy over the coronavirus pandemic’s origin, to be awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine.
“The award is mainly given to individuals or research groups who have made or demonstrated significant achievements in the past five years ... China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson stressed at Thursday’s press conference that scientists working at the WIV should be awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine, rather than being blamed for being the first to discover the gene sequence of the novel coronavirus,” said a report from Chinese state media.
The story comes as the theory that COVID-19 may have originated in the Wuhan lab gains renewed interest, with scientists acknowledging the early dismissal of the idea may have been premature.
But the Chinese state media report calls the renewed investigation into the Wuhan lab “slander” while hailing it for its quick work in the early days of the outbreak.
“CAS said the WIV quickly carried out pathogen identification after the outbreak of COVID-19, completed the entire virus genome sequencing and virus isolation within a short time, confirmed that the COVID-19 virus shares the same functional receptor as the SARS virus, systematically analyzed the basic biological characteristics of the virus, and revealed that coronavirus carried by bats may be the evolutionary ancestor of the COVID-19 coronavirus,” the report said.
For its work on COVID-19, Chinese state media reports that the Wuhan lab has been nominated for the “2021 Outstanding Science and Technology Achievement Prize” of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The report also notes that Chinese “bat woman” Shi Zhengli and the director of the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, Yuan Zhiming, were nominated as “outstanding contributors.”
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Original Author: Michael Lee