Going batty about Wuhan

The possibility that the U.S. and Canadian governments have been involved in questionable and even dangerous biological “research” without adequate oversight is frightening

By Anil Madan

Some three and one-half years ago, just before Christmas 2017, and two and one-half years before the clutches of the current pandemic grabbed us in the U.S. and we faced gubernatorial advice and directives to socially distance, and go into isolation, Dr Francis Collins, Director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a statement that, in retrospect, seems curious. He announced that the NIH was lifting a funding pause dating back to October 2014 on gain-of-function (GOF) experiments involving influenza, SARS, and MERS viruses. The funding pause was lifted in response to a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) framework for guiding funding decisions of Potential Pandemic Pathogens (PPP).

Covid-19 origin. Pic – static.timesofisrael.com


“President Biden recently announced that he has asked the U.S. intelligence community to report within 90 days on the likely origins of Covid-19. Biden said the U.S. Intelligence Community has “coalesced around two likely scenarios.” One is that the virus emerged from human contact with an infected animal, and the other that there was a possible laboratory accident involving release of the virus…”


The idea, as Collins described it, was to have a multi-disciplinary review process involving PPP research to consider the scientific merits and potential benefits of the research, as well as the potential to create, transfer, or use an enhanced potential pandemic pathogen. Was this, in other words, a euphemism for studying the potential for biological warfare? The statement concluded with the usual obligatory pablum about “a responsibility to ensure that research with infectious agents is conducted responsibly.” Or, a responsibility to responsibly conduct such research, whatever that means.

On April 11, 2020, about a month after the first shutdowns of bars, restaurants, hotels, resorts, sports stadia, airlines, etc., were the new reality, Britain’s Daily Mail reported that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has been carrying out research on bats from the cave which scientists believe is the original source of the devastating pandemic outbreak. Notice that there was no mention of a Wuhan meat market here.

Rather, the Daily Mail reported that documents it had obtained show that the WIV undertook coronavirus experiments on mammals captured more than 1000 miles away in Yunnan funded by a $3.7 million grant from the US government.

And the Mail noted, as had been reported widely, that sequencing of the Covid-19 genome has traced it to bats found in Yunnan’s caves.

A recent opinion piece in Canada’s Financial Post referred to the possibility of previously undisclosed information about connections between Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory and the WIV. That article also mentioned a U.S. intelligence report that revealed that three researchers working at the WIV were hospitalized in November 2019 with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness. This, of course, lends credibility to the hypothesis that the Covid-19 virus leaked from the Wuhan lab.

The Financial Post goes on to state: “In July 2019, the head of the Winnipeg lab’s Vaccine Development and Antiviral Therapies section in the Special Pathogens Program was Chinese virologist Xiangguo Qiu. That month, she and her husband, Keding Cheng, along with a number of her Chinese students, were marched out of the lab by the RCMP.” And the article suggests that there may have been unauthorized shipments of deadly viruses or stolen intellectual property being sent to China.

Toronto’s Globe and Mail reported on May 20, 2021: “Scientists working at Canada’s highest-security infectious-disease laboratory have been collaborating with Chinese military researchers to study and conduct experiments on deadly pathogens.

“Seven scientists in the special pathogens unit at the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg and Chinese military researchers have conducted experiments and co-authored six studies on infectious diseases such as Ebola, Lassa fever and Rift Valley fever. The publication dates of the studies range from early 2016 to early 2020.”

On May 11, 2021, the Austin American Statesman published an article stating: “In 2014, the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the part of the NIH headed by Fauci, awarded a $3.4 million grant to the New York-based EcoHealth Alliance, which aims to protect people from viruses that jump from species to species. 

“The group hired the virology lab in Wuhan to conduct genetic analyses of bat coronaviruses collected in Yunnan province, about 800 miles southwest of Wuhan. EcoHealth Alliance paid the lab $598,500 over five years. The lab had secured approval from both the U.S. State Department and the NIH.” 

On May 25, 2021, The New York Post reported: “The National Institutes of Health earmarked $600,000 for the Wuhan Institute of Virology over a five-year period to study whether bat coronaviruses could be transmitted to humans, White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci told lawmakers Tuesday.

“Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), told a House Appropriations subcommittee that the money was funnelled to the Chinese lab through the non-profit EcoHealth Alliance to fund ‘a modest collaboration with very respectable Chinese scientists who were world experts on coronavirus.’

“But Fauci emphatically denied that the money went toward so-called ‘gain of function’ research, which he described as ‘taking a virus that could infect humans and making it either more transmissible and/or pathogenic for humans.'”

Fauci declared: “That categorically was not done.”

Last week, President Biden announced that he has asked the U.S. intelligence community to report within 90 days on the likely origins of Covid-19.

Biden said the U.S. Intelligence Community has “coalesced around two likely scenarios.” One is that the virus emerged from human contact with an infected animal, and the other that there was a possible laboratory accident involving release of the virus.

The recent “investigation” by the WHO into the origins of the coronavirus concluded that the virus most likely leapt from animals to humans through an emissary animal. The WHO report came after a month-long study by a team of Chinese and international experts. The WHO concluded that it is probable the virus originated in a bat or pangolin before making the leap to people. As might have been expected, the report also stated that is is “extremely unlikely” that the virus escaped from a laboratory in China, specifically the WIV.

As has been noted repeatedly in the worldwide press, China was less than open and enthusiastic about the investigation and appeared to control tightly access to relevant information. One would think that if the Chinese government really believed that the lab leak theory has no basis, it would welcome a thorough investigation. One would think that if the signs of U.S. and Canadian involvement suggest that western governments were involved in highly questionable projects, they would not want a deeper look into what happened. 

It is entirely possible that the Chinese merely want to avoid embarrassing publicity and even possible accountability for unleashing the pandemic on the world. 

What is truly scary is that no matter how culpable the Chinese were in this process—and nothing has yet been proved—the possibility that the U.S. and Canadian governments have been involved in questionable and even dangerous biological “research” without adequate oversight is frightening.

Cheerz…
Bwana


* Published in print edition on 11 June 2021

An Appeal

Dear Reader

65 years ago Mauritius Times was founded with a resolve to fight for justice and fairness and the advancement of the public good. It has never deviated from this principle no matter how daunting the challenges and how costly the price it has had to pay at different times of our history.

With print journalism struggling to keep afloat due to falling advertising revenues and the wide availability of free sources of information, it is crucially important for the Mauritius Times to survive and prosper. We can only continue doing it with the support of our readers.

The best way you can support our efforts is to take a subscription or by making a recurring donation through a Standing Order to our non-profit Foundation.
Thank you.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.