According to reports, medical researchers with the Chinese army created mice with humanised lungs in 2019 to test viruses on them.
The mice, which were created using CRISPR gene-editing technology, were cited in a report published in April 2020 that looked at their sensitivity to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 sickness, according to Vanity Fair’s explosive investigation.
11 of the study’s 23 co-authors worked for the Chinese army’s medical research institute, the Academy of Military Medical Sciences.
Researchers from the United States National Security Council, who were looking into the roots of the pandemic, discovered that the mice used in the study were generated in the summer of 2019 – just months before the outbreak.
According to Vanity Fair, National Security Council investigators believed they had ‘uncovered key evidence’ supporting the premise that COVID-19 had leaked from a lab and began contacting other federal agencies.
‘We were kicked out. Anthony Ruggiero, a senior director of the National Security Council, described the reaction as “very hostile.”
Vanity Fair also revealed that Shi Zhengli, the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s lead coronavirus researcher known as the ‘Bat Woman’ for her bat virus research, appears to have tested at least two novel coronaviruses on humanised mice in the last three years, citing comments she made to a scientific journal and grant information.
COVID-19 spilt from a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, according to Shi, and the institute performs military research.
Shi, on the other hand, was interviewed for a Scientific American story in March 2020, in which she described how she ‘frantically looked over her own lab’s records over the preceding few years to check for any mistreatment of experimental materials, especially during disposal.’
Shi was relieved to discover that none of the COVID-19 patients’ DNA sequences matched those of the viruses her team had collected from bat caves.
‘That was a huge weight off my shoulders.’ ‘I hadn’t had a wink of sleep in days,’ Shi told the site.
The State Department issued a fact brief in January accusing the Chinese Communist Party of “systematically” obstructing a “transparent and full enquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic’s origin.”
The virus ‘may have emerged spontaneously via human contact with sick animals,’ according to the State Department’s fact sheet at the time.
‘Alternatively, if the initial exposure involved only a few people and was compounded by asymptomatic illness, a laboratory accident could resemble a spontaneous outbreak,’ according to the information page.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology has ‘collaborated on publications and secret projects with China’s military despite presenting itself as a civilian institution,’ according to the State Department.
‘Since at least 2017, the WIV has conducted classified research, including experimental animal tests, on behalf of the Chinese military,’ according to the statement.
China later slammed the State Department’s fact sheet as “full of falsehoods” and the “last craziness” of departed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to Bloomberg.
The Vanity Fair piece also went into great detail about other data that supports the lab-leak thesis, as well as how the US enquiry into COVID-19’s origin has been hampered.
Claims that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology have been dismissed as conspiracy theories, but in a letter, academics from Harvard and Cambridge suggest that the ‘hypotheses’ cannot be ruled out until additional data is gathered.
During the early stages of the epidemic, The Lancet issued a letter from a group of 27 eminent public health professionals refuting claims that the virus originated in the Wuhan facility.
‘Rapid, open, and honest data sharing about this outbreak is now being jeopardised by misconceptions and misinformation about its origins.’ The letter adds, “We stand united to strongly denounce conspiracy ideas stating that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”
Since 2004, Gilles Demaneuf, a data scientist at the Bank of New Zealand in Auckland, has identified four SARS-related lab breaches, two of which occurred at a top Beijing facility, and reported them in a Medium blog post.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology, according to Rodolphe de Maistre, a Paris-based laboratory project director, held a number of coronavirus laboratories, but only one needed researchers to wear full-body pressurised suits with independent oxygen.
Other Wuhan Institute of Virology labs are classified as BSL-3 or BSL-2, which according to Vanity Fair are “about as secure as an American dentist’s office.”
According to Vanity Fair, the lab leak scenario was initially proposed by Chinese social media users in January 2020.
Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao, two physicists from different universities in Wuhan, co-authored a preprint paper that elaborated on the hypothesis the next month. The National Natural Science Foundation of China funded their research.
The scientists said, “We screened the area around the fish market and identified two laboratories undertaking research on bat coronavirus.”
They pointed out that the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which has gathered over 600 bat samples, is only 280 metres from the Huanan wet market, where the first cases were reported.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology was the other, located about 12 kilometres away.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has disputed assertions that he was told about the possibility of COVID-19 being ‘manufactured’ at the outset of the epidemic, and he has downplayed a grant the Wuhan Institute of Virology received amid suspicions that it was used to fund gain-of-function research.
He admitted that his communications are “open for misinterpretation,” but that he “can’t verify everything that is going on at the Wuhan lab.”
Fauci also highlighted why scientists centred their beliefs on natural transmission from bats to humans through an intermediary species in a conversation with NewsNation Now presenter Leland Vittert on The Donlon Report.
The interview comes after Buzzfeed uncovered a trove of 3,200 emails from Fauci from January to June 2020, in which renowned virus scientists advised him that COVID-19 could have been developed in a lab as he publicly dismissed the possibility.
‘The only problem is that they are ripe for being taken out of context,’ Fauci told Vittert. ‘Someone may snip out a sentence in an email without revealing the other emails and claim ‘based on an email from Dr. Fauci, he stated such and such,’ when you don’t have the complete context.
Another set of emails obtained by the Washington Post highlighted his close relationship with China’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. George Gao, the head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in the early days of the pandemic in March and April of last year.
‘Let’s put things into perspective…’ We’re not talking about the Communist Party of China. We’re not referring to the Chinese military here. We’re talking about scientists with whom we’ve had long-term ties,’ Fauci explained.
Fauci then defended his relationship with Gao, who has been a colleague of Fauci’s for “many years” and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.
‘The scientists there, as well as others with whom we dealt with the initial SARS and influenza nearly every year, are seasoned,’ Fauci added.
EcoHealth Alliance, based in the United States, was awarded a $3.7 million grant by the National Institute of Health in 2014 to investigate the danger of coronaviruses developing from bats. The Wuhan Institute of Virology, a collaborator of EcoHealth Alliance, received roughly $600,000 of the cash.
Senator Rand Paul stated in a Fox News interview on Wednesday that Fauci’s emails reveal he was concerned about the NIH funding gain-of-function studies as early as February last year, when the pandemic was just getting started.
‘In the subject line of his email, he writes ‘gain of function research.’ Seven to eight months ago, he was admitting it to his confidential underlings,’ Paul added.
Gain-of-function research involves modifying organisms and diseases to see how they can become more deadly or transmissible. Such research is crucial in the field of virology.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, has denied that the NIH funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan.
Principal NIAID Director Hugh Auschincloss wrote to Fauci on February 1, 2020, to review a document the top infectious disease specialist had supplied him, which appeared to question whether NIH grants sponsored gain of function research linked to coronaviruses.
Auschincloss said a colleague will ‘attempt to identify if we have any distant connection to this activity abroad’ in an email to Fauci.
After that, Fauci justified the grant that the US had given to the Wuhan facility.
‘The Wuhan laboratory is a massive facility with a budget in the hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars. The award that we’re talking about was $600,000 over five years for an average of around $125,000 to $140,000 a year,’ Fauci added.
‘I can’t guarantee everything that happens in the Wuhan lab, I can’t do that,’ he continued. However, in the aftermath of the original SARS virus in 2002, it is our responsibility as scientists and public health professionals to investigate the animal-human interaction.
SARS-CoV-1, according to Fauci, was “obviously a crossing of species from a bat to a civet cat to a person.”
‘As a result, it was incumbent upon us to examine the animal-human interface and identify what potential these viruses had for infecting humans and causing harm to the US,’ Fauci added.
‘So you’re not going to Hoboken, New Jersey, or Fairfax, Virginia, to research the bat-human interface, which could lead to an outbreak? ‘You are going to China.’