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California: Vials labelled HIV, SARS-CoV 2 and other pathogens, freezer marked Ebola & other items found in illegal biolab run by Chinese individual, CDC refused to probe

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and FBI initially refused to investigate the lab after it was discovered last year, and later while CDC visited the lab, it refused to rest the samples

Thousands of vials of biological substances, including some labelled “HIV”, and a freezer marked “Ebola”, were found inside a secret illegal Chinese-owned biological laboratory in California, according to a US House committee report released Wednesday. Notably, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and FBI initially refused to investigate the lab after it was discovered last year.

Laboratory equipment, manufacturing devices, medical-grade freezers, vials of biological substances including Coronavirus 2, transgenic mice and Chinese individuals in lab coats were some of the findings made by US Code Enforcement Officer Jesalyn Harper in December 2022 inside a warehouse located in Reedley, California.

According to the report released by the House Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, thousands of these vials contained pathogens, some were labelled “HIV” and a freezer marked “Ebola” was found inside this illegal laboratory.

The report has also criticised the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI for initially refusing to investigate the matter and showing reluctance despite alarms raised by local authorities and citizens.

The illegal laboratory was discovered by Jesalyn Harper when she noticed a green garden hose sticking out of a hole drilled into the side of a warehouse located at 850 I Street in Reedley, a town of 26,000 residents. The hose was in clear violation of the town’s building code in a building that was known to be vacant for over a decade.

“Upon entering, Officer Harper found a vast warehouse filled with laboratory equipment, manufacturing devices, and what appeared to be medical-grade freezers. She observed several individuals who identified themselves as PRC nationals wearing white lab coats, glasses, masks, and latex gloves working inside. As she stepped further into the warehouse, she noticed that some of the freezers and containment units had glass doors,” the report states.

It further adds, “Inside, she saw thousands of vials of biological substances. Many were unlabeled. Others were labeled in a foreign language later identified as Mandarin. Others still were labelled in some kind of code. A few of the vials, however, had labels in English. Some of these labels listed substances that Officer Harper at the time did not recognize. She did, however, recognize the names listed on several labels, such as HIV.”

Further inside the hallways of freezers, Harper found a makeshift storage room emanating a foul smell. “Inside were 1,000 laboratory mice in crowded conditions. Officer Harper would later learn that these were transgenic mice, specifically genetically modified and bred to stimulate the human immune system for the purpose of laboratory experimentation,” the report stated.

Moreover, the mice were unwell, abused, and had fraying hair, rashes and distended bellies.

Further investigation uncovered a laboratory filled with thousands of vials containing pathogens and other unknown biological and chemical substances. It was found that the lab was operated by a wanted fugitive from Canada, who is a People’s Republic of China (PRC) citizen.

The finding of the illegal lab prompted an investigation that revealed systemic and profound risks in American biosecurity “that merit Congressional attention”. According to the report, “evidence alongside interviews of local officials and other investigative steps revealed troubling gaps in federal pathogen safeguards. These gaps allowed a wanted fugitive from Canada, who is a PRC national who had previously stolen millions of dollars of American intellectual property, to operate an illegal facility that contained thousands of vials of potentially infectious agents.”

The report stated that when local authorities repeatedly tried to attain assistance from CDC ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), they refused to speak with them or hung up mid-conversation several times. “Local officials were similarly unable to get any help from other federal agencies that may have concurrent authority to investigate and/or remediate the biohazardous substances found at the Reedley Biolab,” the report stated.

Finally, on 2nd May 2023, the CDC conducted an onsite review and learnt that the Reedley facility contained “at least 20 potentially infectious agents,” including HIV, Tuberculosis and the deadliest known form of Malaria.

Bacterial agents included Chalmydia trachomatis, E.Coli, while infectious viral agents included Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Dengue, Herpes 1, Herpes 5, Respiratory, Rubella, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2.

“The CDC did not test the samples to asses whether the listed labels were correct or otherwise in a cipher that the workers used for a more dangerous pathogen,” the report states adding that CDC did not even test the wholly unlabeled samples. “It did not test the samples labelled COVID even though both SARS-CoV and a chimeric version of the currently endemic COVID-19 are both Select Agents-biological agents that the US government has determined “have the potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety”.

The report states, “Even though it had not tested any samples from the Reedley Lab, the CDC concluded that there was no evidence of select agents or toxins. According to local officials, the CDC knew that absent testing, local officials would have to destroy all samples pursuant to a forthcoming abatement order. The CDC likewise instructed state officials not to test any remaining samples of transgenic mice based on concerns over the accuracy of potential testing.”

The House committee in its report has stated that the “CDC’s response was unacceptable and raises serious questions about its standard practices. “The CDC’s refusal to test any samples is likewise baffling,” the report stated.

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