Experts Weigh in on Academia Sinica Case 前中研院人員遭鼠咬染疫 專家提質疑

Was the former Academia Sinica researcher infected by a lab mouse? Toxi-cologists say it is unlikely unless something extremely unusual happened. It is also very unusual that the woman's boyfriend tested negative, but he could still be in the incubation period.

Toxicologists say it is "highly unusual" that the former Academia Sinica researcher tested positive for the Delta variant after being bitten by a lab mouse infected with the Alpha variant, especially since the researcher was probably very careful at work. Therefore, something "extremely unusual" must have happened along the way. They also say the woman's medical history must be thoroughly examined as she failed to report her symptoms when they developed and went to see a doctor on her own.

Chao Ming-wei, Associate Professor, Chung Yuan Christian Uni.: “COVID-19 is (spread) via droplets, so this is pretty unusual. (In addition, the infected person) went and got medical treatment on her own. She exposed a lot of people.”

One expert says the boyfriend of the woman testing negative could be due to him being vaccinated or still being in the incubation period, and he should be monitored. Epidemiologist Huang Li-min, meanwhile, believes the woman being bitten by lab mice in October, developing a cough in November, and losing her sense of taste and smell in December are unrelated.

Huang Li-min, Epidemiologist: “You need to see if she was working with the Delta variant at the Academia Sinica. Genome sequencing will tell you if she did, especially since she was just infected. If she was infected in her community, the genome sequencing would be different.”

Zen Lin, Chair, Taiwan Primary Care Association: “If there are no new cases for several weeks, the chances of new cases after those weeks are very low. If cases continue appearing, Taiwan should be prepared for the next wave of community-level infection like we saw in May and June.”

Doctors say the next two to four weeks will be key given that the woman's source of infection is unknown. They also say anyone living or working in the same area as the woman, that develops symptoms, should get a PCR test.