Australian virologist threatened by extreme conspiracy theorist

2021-07-06 14:16:17Xinhua Editor : Liu Yimeng ECNS App Download
Special: Battle Against Novel Coronavirus

Australian virologist Danielle Anderson was threatened by some extreme conspiracy theorists because of her remarks that refuted the lab-leaking theory of the coronavirus, according to local media.

Anderson, who has extensive experience in bat-borne virus research, is the only foreign scientist to have worked in the high-security BSL-4 lab of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

She was also one of two scientists, who were asked to examine claims in the New York Post about lab leaking theory and later declared the claims to be misleading, which made her become a target of some extreme conspiracy theorists, who were so vicious that she had to call police, according to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald on July 4.

The report said Facebook's decision to remove large amounts of misinformation about COVID-19 and replace it with fact-checked material, including Dr. Anderson's, infuriated extremist conspiracy websites so much that one published her email address.

She was abused by some conspiracy theorists, received unsightly emails, and she had to lock down running app for safety reasons.

The report said being dragged into the global information wars has "shaken" Anderson's trust in the way parts of the media industry work, which she worried may give the public a terrible impression of scientists.

Anderson is sticking by her belief COVID-19 has a natural origin, the report said.

"The reason I think the virus escaping from the lab is a less likely scenario is if we look in the last 50 years, so many of the diseases and outbreaks that have happened have come from animals," she was cited in the report.

"My opinion is based on the evidence I have in front of me, and my collective research background. Virology training is my background and I am using that to make my decisions, not a politician saying, 'This is what we should think,'" she noted.

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