Did the Coronavirus outbreak occur due to a leak or reckless behavior from a nearby laboratory? A new investigation has uncovered scientific research practices inside a Chinese lab that may have initiated the global spread of COVID-19 through a wet market – and U.S. taxpayers might have bankrolled the facility unknowingly thanks to the federal government.
In a statement to Liberty Nation, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) expressed his outrage:
“For years, the U.S. government has been funding cruel animal experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which may have contributed to the global spread of COVID-19 with virtually no U.S. oversight.
At best, Americans are funding people who are lying to us. At worst, we’re funding people who we knew had problems handling pathogens, who then birthed a monster virus onto the world.”
On Friday, during his daily Coronavirus Task Force update, President Trump was questioned regarding a $3.7 million grant issued by The National Institute of Health (NIH) to a Wuhan virology lab in 2015. The president responded that he was aware of the grant and that if “any grants are going to that area … we will end that grant very quickly.” He further mused aloud, “Who was president then, I wonder?”
Senator Ted Cruz also expressed his distaste at American tax dollars being sent to virology labs in more recent times. He wrote:
“Today @NIH confirmed to me 76,000 US taxpayer dollars in FY2019 went to one of the Chinese virology labs in Wuhan at the center of the #CoronavirusOutbreak … Add this deeply troubling grant transfer to the growing list of reasons why the U.S. needs to rethink its approach to China. China is our greatest geopolitical threat. We need to start acting like it … The administration should immediately halt U.S. taxpayer funds from going to these Chinese virology labs.”
Coronavirus in Wuhan
Anthony Bellotti, a former GOP strategist and founder and president of White Coat Waste Project, an anti-animal research organization and U.S. taxpayer watchdog, said in a statement to LN that U.S. taxpayers should not be required to sponsor animal cruelty and fund testing labs without any oversight.
“We’ve uncovered that for years the U.S. government has been funding the controversial Wuhan Institute of Virology and other animal testing labs in China that have virtually no oversight from U.S. authorities and may even sell abused and infected animals to wet markets. Taxpayers should never be forced to bankroll dangerous animal abuse in foreign countries and we’ll continue to work with our advocates and Congress to put an end to this egregious misuse of Americans’ tax dollars.”
According to a report authored by the White Coat Waste Project, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has been testing on animals for coronavirus research for years. They claim that scientists started their research by extracting wild bats inside Yunnan caves that are believed to be the source of SARS-related coronaviruses. They then studied human infectious diseases, using live animals for experimental purposes.
But it is not just WIV that is conducting these types of studies. The Wuhan Disease Control and Prevention Center is another facility that possesses about 1,500 strains of deadly viruses to assess the animal and human transmission of coronaviruses.
What makes these two laboratories integral to the COVID-19 pandemic is that they are located close to the wet market – Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market – that is thought to be ground zero of the outbreak.
On January 23, Liberty Nation’s Mark Angelides, a Mandarin Chinese speaker and expert on China, was one of the very first journalists to reveal the existence of such labs near the virus epicenter. He wrote:
“Wuhan happens to be the place in China best-suited to dealing with this kind of issue. Situated in the heart of the city is the country’s top disease research center, a BioSafety Level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory.
There are only several of these centers in Asia, and only one in China. A BSL-4 site is used for research and handling of deadly microbes and infectious agents for which there is either no cure or only an unreliable cure. What a fortunate coincidence that the only place in the entire nation that handles such dangerous viruses just happens to be in the middle of the city that has so recently experienced one.”
The White Coat Waste Project’s probe claims that lab animals in China have been sold to wet markets for human consumption. It has happened before, despite the government mandating that all infected animals be cremated. In January 2020, a lab worker, Li Ning, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for selling genetically modified cows and milk from his lab to large companies for roughly $141,000. According to The New York Post, a Beijing researcher earned $1 million over several years by selling his lab monkeys and rats to a wet market for human consumption.
If it turns out that today’s crisis was sparked by a reckless scientist trying to make some extra yuan, American taxpayers may have unwittingly paid for the pandemic.
And it is not just the United States that has granted funding to WIV. It was recently revealed that the Canadian government disbursed more than $828,000 last month to address “the urgent need of rapid point-of-care diagnostics of COVID-19. The collaborative research is conducted by a multi-disciplinary team of virologists, chemists, infectious disease specialists, front-line practitioners, and public health researchers from the University of Alberta, Canadian Food Inspection Agency,” and WIV.
What Did Washington Know?
The U.S. government has been aware of dangerous lab experiments as far back as 2018. The State Department warned about the possibility of a pandemic related to these coronavirus tests at Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). The U.S. Embassy in Beijing repeatedly sent American science diplomats to the location, and they were immediately worried by what they came across, according to two diplomatic cables that were labeled as “Sensitive But Unclassified.” The communications highlighted safety and management concerns, as well as the lab’s work on bat coronaviruses and their possible human transmission that could trigger a crisis.
A January 19, 2018 cable, obtained by The Washington Post, stated that the U.S. should lend additional resources to WIV because its research on bat coronaviruses was both important and hazardous.
“During interactions with scientists at the WIV laboratory, they noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory.
Most importantly, the researchers also showed that various SARS-like coronaviruses can interact with ACE2, the human receptor identified for SARS-coronavirus. This finding strongly suggests that SARS-like coronaviruses from bats can be transmitted to humans to cause SARS-like diseases. From a public health perspective, this makes the continued surveillance of SARS-like coronaviruses in bats and study of the animal-human interface critical to future emerging coronavirus outbreak prediction and prevention.”
The newspaper further noted that national security officials inside the White House believe the source of COVID-19 came from WIV or The Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention. A senior administration figure told WaPo that this is additional evidence to suggest the health crisis is the result of a lab accident in Wuhan.
Secrecy in China
Since it was discovered that a Wuhan wet market was ground zero for the global Coronavirus pandemic, there have been international calls for the closure of these businesses that sell a diverse selection of live and dead animals in atrocious conditions. Authorities have clamped down on wet markets that participate in the multi-billion-dollar wildlife trade, only for the government to eventually lax regulations that enable vendors to restart their questionable operations. Shutting down these wet markets that range from benign to hellacious is more complicated than outsiders could envision due to their influence on the economy, policymakers, and livelihoods of both the consumer and the business owner.
At this point, there is no evidence that the Coronavirus was engineered in a laboratory. The consensus is that COVID-19 originated from animals in these markets and then transferred to humans. However, this does not mean the virus did not come from either of the Wuhan laboratories that spent many years testing bat coronaviruses on animals. Despite the controversy surrounding the facilities, these labs continue to operate and perform research, which might be troubling considering President Xi Jinping and his communist government’s secrecy. The fact that Beijing has refused to be transparent since patient zero in November or December spawns plenty of concerns about what is happening inside these entities and in the infamous wet markets.
The rest of the world will be in the dark to what occurred until the G20 leaders abandon their fear of being ostracized or expelled by President Xi. Without a thorough understanding of what went on, the planet could be in store for another pandemic in the not-so-distant future.
Read more from Andrew Moran.