Shi Zhengli is a Chinese virologist specializing in bat viruses. She is also the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. And she is the common thread through which many key research projects and gain-of-function experiments on coronaviruses are connected.
Her decades-long work illustrates how China’s pursuit of the sources for emerging coronaviruses led to increasing technical capabilities at China’s new biosafety labs—culminating in gain-of-function experiments and research in the years leading up to the pandemic.
But her work also shows a curious pattern of deception.