Dr. Wang, a professor in the emerging infectious diseases program at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, is an expert in bat viruses.
In 2017, the scientists proposed their origin theory: They found bats with a coronavirus strain that had the ability to infect humans.
The scientists speculated that bats living in the same cave infected each other with different viral strains, which mixed together and eventually created a SARS-like virus that jumped into humans.
“We have never found a bat that is the source of SARS that humans have.”
In 2019 scientists announced that a bat captured at an abandoned mine in Liberia carried traces of the Ebola virus-the first time evidence of the West African outbreak virus was found in nature.
Scientists disagreed if the virus had moved from bats into people due to contamination of the sap.
If a bat had been infected with the virus, the scientists said in a paper about their findings, it could have contaminated the sap and infected the people who drank it.
One of the bat scientists stands uncomfortably in the glow of the world spotlight.
By collecting fecal samples from the horseshoe bats year-round, the scientists increased their chances of finding bats with active coronavirus infections.
Additional years of collecting bat samples from the same cave led to the discovery of a bat SARS-like virus even more closely related to the SARS outbreak one.
In early January, 2020, Dr. Wang was on one of his regular trips to Wuhan, attending meetings on bat coronavirus research.
The scientists tested fecal samples from 100 horseshoe bats living in a nature sanctuary there.