On Jan. 25, 2020, as town of Wuhan headed into the world’s first Covid-19 lockdown, the Chinese language billionaire Wang Jian arrived on one of many final incoming trains. Flanked by a small entourage of youthful scientists, Wang exited the station carrying a masks, a light-weight puffy jacket, and a backpack. Hundreds had been fleeing the river port metropolis. However Wang got here able to work.
In the course of the SARS epidemic in 2003, the now 66-year-old geneticist had been equally proactive, repeatedly flying to the outbreak’s epicenter in Guangdong Province to petition authorities to permit his younger bioscience agency, the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI), to sequence the lethal respiratory virus’s genome. Wang’s requests had been denied till the final second, after SARS reached Canada and scientists there grew to become the primary to sequence it — a nationwide embarrassment for a rising China. BGI ultimately sequenced the SARS genome, however the bureaucratic delay angered Wang, who constructed his profession within the fast-moving biotech trade off bold, dangerous performs.