Beijing: The laboratory in China’s Wuhan, suspected of leaking COVID-19, has been nominated for one of the top science awards in China, said reports. The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been nominated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences for its Outstanding Science and Technology Achievement Prize in 2021, according to a local media outlet Sina News. The lab was nominated for its “comprehensive and systematic identification research on the aetiology of the COVID-19 virus.”Also Read - Chennai Corporation Increases Contact Tracing Due To Surge In Covid Infection In State

The lab reportedly said, “The results of the project have laid an important foundation and technology platform for the follow-up research on the origin, epidemiology and pathogenic mechanism of the COVID-19 virus.” The academy also said the research done by the Wuhan lab has helped control the coronavirus pandemic and in the development of vaccines against COVID-19. Also Read - Virat Kohli Back as Captain or Rishabh Pant? Who Will Lead India in 5th Test vs England in Absence of COVID +ve Rohit Sharma

Shi Zhengli, the head of the Wuhan lab also known as China’s “Batwoman,” also received a special mention for her work on “identifying the origin of COVID-19, and creating a model to isolate genes from the virus.” Also Read - Britain Witnesses 23% rise in COVID-19 Cases, London A Hotspot

Reports suggest that Zhengli has also been accused of leading so-called “gain-of-function” (GOF) experiments in which scientists increase the strength of a virus to better study its effects on hosts.

The reports of the nomination surfaced just a day after China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the lab deserved to win a Nobel Prize for their COVID research instead of facing backlash. Addressing a press conference, last week, Zhao said, “The genome sequence of COVID-19 was first identified by Chinese scientists, but that does not mean Wuhan is the source of the coronavirus, nor can it be inferred that the coronavirus was made by Chinese scientists.”