In April 2012, six miners working to clear an abandoned mine in Mojiang, southwestern China, became seriously sick with an unknown illness.
Working 200 miles away was a research team led by Shi Zhengli, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Shi’s team rushed to the site, where they would spend the next two years collecting samples at the Mojiang mine.
At some point during their work, Shi’s team recovered an unusual virus. This discovery and its source would be repeatedly obfuscated.
We look at how a group of independent researchers revealed that Shi’s discovery came from the Mojiang mine and how the Wuhan Institute of Virology has been in possession of COVID-19’s closest relative for nearly a decade.