Chinese Researcher on ‘Verge of Making Very Significant’ COVID-19 Discovery Killed in Apparent Homicide

A researcher at the University of Pittsburgh whose department says he was close to “very significant findings” about Covid-19 was killed in an apparent murder-suicide, police said.

Dr. Bing Liu, a 37-year-old research assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was found shot dead in his home on May 2. A second man, later identified as 46-year-old Hao Gu, was also found dead in his car near Liu’s home with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Liu’s university department said in a statement that he was an “outstanding” and “prolific” researcher who was close to a breakthrough in studying Covid-19’s infection mechanism through computer models. He had been working at home during the pandemic.

“Bing was on the verge of making very significant findings toward understanding the cellular mechanisms that underlie SARS-CoV-2 infection and the cellular basis of the following complications,” the statement reads. “We will make an effort to complete what he started in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence.”

Neighbors told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that they did not hear any gunshots on May 2, and that Liu was not quiet and kept to himself. Ross Township Police have said they have “zero evidence” the killing was related to Liu’s work.

The police department said in a statement Thursday that the deaths “were” the result of a lengthy dispute regarding an intimate partner.” Liu was married, but his wife was not home at the time of the shooting. The police added that the case was being passed on to federal authorities, because both men were not U.S. citizens.

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