SEP 25, 2023 : Shi Zhengli, regarded as one of China‘s top virologists, has issued a warning that a new coronavirus is likely to emerge in the near future. Shi Zenghli, known as “batwoman” for her study into viruses that spread from animals, particularly bats, to people, declared in a report that the world needed to be ready for a disease similar to Covid-19. In a study report she co-authored with her colleagues, she stated, “If a coronavirus caused diseases to emerge before, there is a high chance it will cause future outbreaks.”Shi’s team at the Wuhan Institute of Virology assessed the likelihood of 40 different coronavirus species spreading to humans and classified half of them as “highly risky.” The study was based on an examination of a number of viral characteristics, such as population size, genetic diversity, host species, and any prior zoonotic infections (diseases that spread from animals to people). Six of these 40 are known to have already led to human infection with illnesses. Future illness emergence “is almost certain, and it is highly likely that a [coronavirus] disease will emerge again,” the report stated.The study was released in the English-language journal Emerging Microbes & Infections in July, but it wasn’t until this month that it started trending on Chinese social media. This may be in part due to the study’s non-Chinese language, but a researcher from the CDC in the country claimed it also showed a desire to move on from the topic in light of China’s abrupt reversal of its zero-Covid regulations. “Sometimes in private conversations, when talking with other public health scholars, we have noticed that Chinese authorities are downplaying Covid-19, intentionally or unintentionally, and some cities have stopped releasing infection data,” the scientist, who wished to remain anonymous, said to the South Morning China Post.The Wuhan team has also discovered sensitive and speedy testing methods that might be applied to continuously keep an eye on these dangerous infections. They have also discovered key hosts of the disease, including intermediate species like camels, civets, pigs, and pangolins as well as natural hosts like bats and rodents. Despite the significance of this research, many Chinese virologists have refrained from commenting on Shi’s most recent discoveries because of the intense emotions surrounding it. The Wuhan Institute of Virology has come under fire, with some US legislators espousing the idea that Covid-19 was the result of an unintentional lab leak.This explanation, however, is still hotly debated because many experts think the illness actually started in an animal, presumably a bat, and then spread to people via an unnamed host. There is no evidence to support the lab leak idea, according to declassified US intelligence papers disclosed in June, although it cannot be ruled out.