Gao, 60, will “no longer serve as director of the CDC due to his age,” stated the announcement published on the CDC website.
Public information shows that Gao was born in November 1961 and that Shen, his successor, was born in May 1964. Gao was appointed director of the CDC in Aug. 2017.
Shen is a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a former president of Nanjing Medical University.
'Retrospective Analysis'Earlier this year, Gao stirred up online outcries with an essay —“Early Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China, of Novel Coronavirus-Infected Pneumonia,”— that he co-authored with other scientists that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“[T]here is evidence that human-to-human transmission has occurred among close contacts since the middle of December 2019,” the article published Jan. 29 stated in its conclusions.
This statement created a public outcry in China with netizens blasting the CDC and Gao for earlier hiding human-to-human transmission evidence from the public.
Vaccine ShortcomingsEarlier, Gao said at the 2021 National Vaccine and Health Conference held in Chengdu, Sichuan, that China’s current vaccines had shortcomings with low protection efficacy.
Gao denied what was reported following online criticism, claiming that his comments had been “completely misunderstood”.