Two Chinese scientists are being investigated by Australian intelligence agencies as part of a probe into the coronavirus COVID-19 origins. The investigation is looking into the actions of Wuhan scientists Peng Zhou and Shi Zhengli, who worked for a time at the Victorian Australian Animal Health Laboratory.
Peng Zhou, a senior scientist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology was studying live bats in the Geelong-based lab, research said to be jointly funded by the Australian and Chinese governments.
A Herald-Sun investigation has revealed how Peng worked in the Biosecurity Business Unit of the Geelong lab between July 2011 and July 2014 where he was sent by China to complete his doctorate.
“The research was designed to prevent a pandemic by understanding how viruses can be transmitted from bats to humans to cause coronaviruses,” reported the paper.
The investigation arrives on the back of the Australian government increasing international pressure against the Chinese Communist Party for more transparency and accountability. In turn, the CCP threatened economic actions against the Australian people if investigations continued, a response that the Australian government has announced they won’t tolerate.
The second scientist, Dr Shi Zhengli, is currently the director of the Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Wuhan Institute of Virology. Dr Zhengli spent February 22 to May 21, 2006 at the Victorian Australian Animal Health Laboratory studying faecal samples of horseshoe bats. She identified that the bats were hosts for SARS-like coronaviruses, much like COVID-19.
Dr Zhengli has admitted she spent “sleepless nights” worrying if a leak had occurred from a Wuhan laboratory, while Dr Peng had advertised for recruitment to assist in his postdoctoral studies examining the “unique mechanism of innate immunity in bats.”
According to Washington Post, who obtained a “Sensitive but Unclassified” cable in 2018, US embassy scientists met with Dr Zhengli. Afterwards, they forwarded their security concerns to Washington, reporting of inadequate safety practices occurring within the Wuhan Institute of Virology.