Scientists at the Chinese lab in Wuhan projected as a possible source of the COVID-19 pandemic were earlier filmed getting bitten and spattered with blood while handling bats with no protection. 

The state-run TV footage displayed researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) disregarding masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) while handling bats and collecting feces in the field. According to a virus expert, a bat's fangs once went right through his glove.

'Bat Woman'

The bats allegedly carry fatal viruses, including SARS. On December 29, 2017, Chinese state-run TV released footage designed to showcase Shi Zhengli, (石正麗), also known as "Bat Woman," and her group of scientists at the WIV in their quest to discover the SARS' origin. Even though the scientists work in a biosafety level 4 laboratory, they show a stunning disregard for safety when handling potentially infectious bats in the laboratory and the wild, reported Taiwan News.

Three researchers from China's WIV became sick enough in November 2019 and got hospitalized, according to a previously undisclosed US intelligence report that could add weight to increasing calls for a fuller probe of whether the novel coronavirus may have escaped the Wuhan lab. The details of the report go beyond a State Department fact sheet.

It was issued during the last days of the Trump administration. It indicated that numerous researchers at the lab, a center for the study of coronaviruses and other pathogens, became sick in autumn 2019 with symptoms consistent with the coronavirus and common seasonal illness, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Read Also: Joe Biden Wants COVID-19 Origins Report in 3 Months, Tasks Intelligence Community To Conduct Probe

China Says COVID Came From the Exotic Food Market

When first declaring the outbreak, China stated it emerged when one customer purchased and ate a wild bat at an exotic-food market. Former President Donald Trump and Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton have been among numerous leading Republican, and conservative voices since COVID-19 arrived in the United States in late-2019 to contend that the virus perhaps began at the laboratory.

The video also cut to a researcher's limb badly swollen, seemingly from a bat bite. Scientists also disclosed getting spattered with blood amid the research.

The WIV leader or "Bat Woman" also remarked the odds of directly infecting humans is minimal. This was before her laboratory became the focal point of interrogations regarding the origin of COVID-19 that has recorded more than 3.5 million fatalities globally.

In the footage, from 4:45 to 4:56, one scientist appeared to be holding a bat with his bare hands. Team members from 7:44 to 7:50 appeared to be collecting potentially highly infectious bat feces while donning short sleeves and shorts and with no apparent PPE other than gloves, reported New York Post.

The disclosure of the number of researchers, their hospital visits, and the timing of their illnesses arrive at the eve of a meeting of the World Health Organization's decision-making body. It is slated to discuss the next phase of investigation into COVID-19's origins.

Related Article: H5N8 Bird Flu Strain Poses Possibility of Another Pandemic, But Researchers Say There Is Still Opportunity to Prevent Them