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Wuhan lab scientist was bitten by bat as he collected samples days before first Covid-19 report, shows video

The researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology reportedly claimed that the bat's fangs pierced through his rubber gloves
A worker checks syringes of potential vaccine in Beijing, China (Getty Images)
A worker checks syringes of potential vaccine in Beijing, China (Getty Images)

Scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology have reportedly revealed they were bitten by infected bats while collecting samples in a cave. One researcher has reportedly claimed that the bat's fangs pierced through his rubber gloves "like a needle" and he started bleeding profusely, according to The Sun. The British newspaper reported how a video from two years ago appeared to show scientists breaching World Health Organisation safety guidelines as they worked on "live viruses" without masks.

This comes after it emerged that the scientist dubbed "Patient Zero" is still missing after having vanished from the lab at the start of the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan. As reported by The Sun, virus expert Huang Yanling was mentioned online in China after the very first worrying reports of the novel coronavirus emerged. Yanling was possibly the first of several working at the controversial lab who fell ill in the autumn of 2019, months before the Chinese government acknowledged the outbreak, according to State Department officials.

Firefighters prepare to conduct disinfection at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport (Getty Images)

The WIV reportedly studies zoonotic diseases and the new report has sparked fears that the virus might have accidentally leaked during experiments. Researchers are seen on video collecting potentially highly-infectious bat feces samples with no personal protective equipment (PPE) other than gloves. One man is heard saying he was bitten by a bat and that it felt "like being jabbed with a needle." The footage also shows a person's limb swollen from another bite, while the narrator notes how bats can carry a number of potent viruses, according to the Taiwan Times.

Meanwhile, several experts fear the deadly contagion could have spread from another Chinese lab that housed over 600 bats that attacked and “peed on” researchers. An academic journal reportedly noted how one researcher at the Wuhan Center for Disease Control (WCDC) was urinated on and had also had bat blood on his skin. Titled ‘The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus’, the research paper mentioned one researcher JH Tian “was once attacked by bats” and that “the blood of bat was on his skin.” He was forced to quarantine himself for 28 days after the "bats peed on him," the journal reportedly states. The paper reads in part: "… the Chinese horseshoe bats were natural reservoirs for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) which caused the SARS outbreak in 2003."

A man wears a mask while walking in the street in Wuhan (Getty Images)

Last year, a report by The Sun claimed that the WIV had lied about taking safety precautions whilst collecting bat samples. However, leaked photos revealed an alarming lack of safety during the procedures, with cables being sent by the US embassy to State Department officials warning the government of the risks of experiments on bats.

"During interactions with scientists at the WIV laboratory, they noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory," one cable read. According to the US State Department, the Chinese Communist Party has blocked investigators from interviewing scientists and researchers in Wuhan, including "those who were ill in the fall [autumn] of 2019."

"Beijing continues today to withhold vital information that scientists need to protect the world from this deadly virus and the next one," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted, The Sun reported.