Scientists at the Chinese lab eyed as a possible source of the coronavirus pandemic were previously filmed getting bitten and spattered with blood while handling bats without protection, according to reports.
The state-run TV footage showed researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) disregarding gloves, masks and other PPE while handling bats and collecting feces in the field, Taiwan News first noted.
In one section, virus expert Cui Jie related how a bat’s fangs once went right through his glove, describing it as feeling “like being jabbed with a needle,” the outlet noted.
As one scientist was shown handling samples with bare hands, the narrator noted how the risk of injury “still exists,” and that team members got a rabies vaccine before each field sampling, the Taiwan report said.
However, the lab’s now-notorious “bat woman” leader, Shi Zhengli, dismissed the fears in a since-deleted article, claiming that “this job is not as dangerous as everyone thinks,” Taiwan News noted.
“The odds of directly infecting humans is very small,” she reportedly wrote before her lab become the focus of worldwide attention because of the coronavirus pandemic that as of Thursday has killed more than 3.5 million people worldwide.