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A medical researcher said to be on the “verge of making very significant” coronavirus findings was found shot to death Saturday in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, local media NBC News quoted officials saying.

Bing Liu, 37, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was found dead inside a home in Ross Township, Pittsburgh, U.S.A., with gunshots in his head and neck, NBC News reported.

Less than a mile away, an hour after Mr Liu’s body was discovered, a second person, Hao Gu, 46, was found dead inside a car, authorities of Allegheny County said.

Local police detective, Brian Kohlhepp, said both men knew each other, and there are suspicions that Mr Gu killed Mr Liu before returning to his car where he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Although Mr Kohlhepp said authorities are still investigating this.

Mr Liu was said to have earned a Ph.D. in computational science from the National University of Singapore and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University before becoming a research associate at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

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In a statement, the University of Pittsburgh described him as an excellent mentor and prolific researcher, who had co-authored more than 30 papers. His work focused on systems biology.

“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 university said.

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