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May 26, 2020, 4:38 p.m. EDT

Coronavirus is ‘the tip of the iceberg,’ warns Chinese researcher nicknamed ‘bat woman’

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By Karen Sheehy


AFP via Getty Images
Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan, Hubei Province, on Feb. 23.

The Chinese researcher known as the “bat woman” warns that the deadly coronavirus the world is battling now is “just the tip of the iceberg” in terms of what humans could face without a global effort to prevent similar infectious-disease outbreaks.

“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,” Shi Zhengli, a top Chinese scientist specializing in viral transmissions from bats, told CGTN in an interview that aired Monday.

“If we don’t study [the viruses], there will possibly be another outbreak,” warned Shi, dubbed the “bat woman” by the press because of her research involving those flying mammals.

The coronavirus has killed more than 345,000 people across the world since it appears to have first surfaced in Wuhan, China, late last year.

As China has been accused of not coming clean on the danger soon enough and lying about the virus’s toll on its citizenry, Shi has been put in a position of denying that the Wuhan lab where she is deputy director may have accidentally unleashed the virus on humans.

Shi has said the strains the lab has been researching are different from the coronavirus causing the disease COVID-19.

Top U.S. infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci remains of the belief that the virus behind the pandemic jumped to humans after an exposure at a wet market in the Wuhan area,

A version of this report appears at NYPost.com.

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