Where does the virus come from that is keeping the world in suspense? Even after a year and a half, this question has not been answered. Most recently, US President Joe Biden (78) re-fueled the laboratory accident thesis: At the end of May, he asked his secret services to prepare a report on the origin of the corona pandemic within 90 days.
China is raging. And the renowned Institute of Virology in Wuhan is fighting for its reputation. Because: The USA has questioned the safety of the laboratory and accused the scientists of having participated in controversial research in which viruses were manipulated.
Now the virologist Danielle Anderson (42) comments on the allegations. The Australian worked in the high-security laboratory shortly before the corona outbreak – as the only foreigner to date.
“It was a completely normal laboratory”
In an interview with “Bloomberg”, the bat virus expert describes that the work in the laboratory was much more routine than presented in the media.
“It wasn’t boring there, but it was a normal lab that worked just like any other high-security lab,” said Anderson. “What people say is just not true.”
According to a report by Bloomberg, Anderson was the only foreign scientist to date to conduct research in the BSL-4 laboratory of the Institute of Virology in Wuhan – the first in mainland China equipped to deal with the deadliest pathogens on our planet.
Anderson had a good relationship with the other Wuhan researchers
She has been working with the Wuhan researchers since 2016, her last assignment there ended in November 2019 – at that time, according to experts, the virus began to spread. Like no one else among the western researchers, she has an insight into the work of the 65-year-old research center.
Anderson said he belonged to a group that met every morning at the Chinese Academy of Sciences to take the bus that took them to the institute 30 kilometers away. Anderson told Bloomberg that she was the only foreigner who stood out. The other researchers there would have paid attention to them.
“We went out to eat together, we saw each other outside of the laboratory,” she said.
She was “impressed” by the laboratory right from the start: the concrete bunker-style building had the highest bio-safety mark. Air, water and waste would be filtered and sterilized before leaving the facility. There are strict protocols and requirements to keep pathogens at bay.
Researcher advocates laboratory accident investigation
According to Anderson, the researchers went through a 45-hour training course in order to be certified to work independently in the laboratory and had to prove their relevant knowledge, such as how to use air pressure suits. “It was very, very extensive,” says Anderson of the training.
Entering and leaving the high-security laboratory was also strictly according to regulations. She even adopted a tailor-made method for producing a disinfectant for her own laboratory.
Anderson also thinks it is fundamentally possible that the virus “escaped” from the laboratory and advocates a detailed investigation – but she considers it extremely unlikely.
She didn’t know anyone at the Wuhan Institute who was sick towards the end of 2019. “If people were sick, I suppose I would have been sick myself – and I wasn’t,” she said. “I was tested for corona in Singapore before I was vaccinated and never had it.” (kin)