Exploring Human Potential

Shi Zhengli written response to Science Magazine questions.

Shi Zhengli email response to questions posed by Science Magazine

Q: Given that coronavirus research in most places is done in BSL-2 or BSL-3 labs–and indeed, you WIV didn’t even have an operational BSL-4 until recently– why would you do any coronavirus experiments under BSL-4 conditions?

A: The coronavirus research in our laboratory is conducted in BSL-2 or BSL-3 laboratories. After the BSL-4 laboratory in our institute has been put into operation, in accordance with the management regulations of BSL-4 laboratory, we have trained the scientific researchers in the BSL-4 laboratory using the lowpathogenic coronaviruses as model viruses, which aims to prepare for conducting the experimental activities of highly pathogenic microorganisms. After the COVID-19 outbreak, our country has stipulated that the cultivation and the animal infection experiments of SARS-CoV-2 should be carried out in BSL-3 laboratory or above. Since the BSL-3 laboratories in our institute do not have the hardware conditions to conduct experiments on nonhuman primates, and in order to carry out the mentioned research, our institute had applied to the governmental authorities and obtained the qualification to conduct experiments on SARS-CoV-2 for Wuhan P4 laboratory, in which the rhesus monkey animal model, etc. have been carried out. The experimental activities are supervised by our institute’s biosafety committee and complied with the biosafety regulations.

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