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Anti-Asian Atmosphere Chills Chinese Scientists Working in the U.S.

As universities such as Harvard and NYU put researchers under scrutiny, some schools seek to avoid a “loyalty oath.”

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Photo illustration: 731; Photo: Getty Images
Corrected

Nianshuang Wang arrived in the U.S. from China about seven years ago to help explore an obscure niche in structural biology: manipulating coronavirus spike proteins to be more stable and thus better for use in vaccines.

In early 2020 it was Wang who figured out how to make the spike protein on the novel coronavirus bind with human receptors, enabling Moderna Inc. to develop its Covid-19 vaccine in record time. “I thought he’d be perfect to lead our efforts to engineer modified forms of these spikes for use in vaccines,” says Jason McLellan, the University of Texas at Austin professor whose team, including Wang, is credited with the work.