Medical researchers with the Chinese army engineered mice with humanized lungs in 2019 to test viruses on them, it has been reported.
The mice, developed using CRISPR gene-editing technology, were mentioned in an April 2020 study which researched their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 illness, Vanity Fair revealed in its bombshell investigation.
Of the study’s 23 co-authors, 11 of them worked for the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, the medical research institute for the Chinese army.
Investigators with the U.S. National Security Council, researching the origins of the pandemic, determined that the mice referenced in the study were created in the summer of 2019 – just months before the emergence of the pandemic.
The National Security Council investigators also reportedly believed they had ‘uncovered important evidence’ supporting the theory that COVID-19 had leaked from a lab and began reaching out to other federal agencies, Vanity Fair reported.
‘We were dismissed. The response was very negative,’ said Anthony Ruggiero, the a senior director at the National Security Council.
Medical researchers with the Chinese army reportedly engineered mice with humanized lungs in 2019 to test viruses on them. PICTURED: Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing
The mice, developed using CRISPR gene-editing technology, were mentioned in an April 2020 study
The study researched the susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 illness, in mice with humanized lungs
Shi Zhengli, the Wuhan Institute of Virology lead researcher on coronaviruses known as the ‘Bat Woman’, appears to have tested at least two novel coronaviruses on humanized mice in the last three years, Vanity Fair also revealed – citing comments she made to a scientific journal and grant information.
Shi has refuted claims that COVID-19 leaked from a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and that the facility conducts military research.
However, Shi was interviewed in a Scientific American article, first published in March 2020, in which she recounted how she ‘frantically went through her own lab’s records from the past few years to check for any mishandling of experimental materials, especially during disposal.’
Shi was relieved when none of the genetic sequences from patients with COVID-19 matched those of the viruses her team had sampled from bat caves.
‘That really took a load off my mind. I had not slept a wink for days,’ Shi told the outlet.
In January, the State Department released a fact sheet slamming the Chinese Communist Party of ‘systematically’ preventing a ‘transparent and thorough investigation of the COVID-19 pandemic’s origin.’
The State Department acknowledged in the fact sheet at the time that the virus ‘could have emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals.’
‘Alternatively, a laboratory accident could resemble a natural outbreak if the initial exposure included only a few individuals and was compounded by asymptomatic infection,’ the fact sheet reads.
The State Department noted that the Wuhan Institute of Virology has ‘collaborated on publications and secret projects with China’s military’ while ‘presenting itself as a civilian institution.’
‘The WIV has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017,’ the sheet reads.
Academy of Military Medical Sciences, the medical research institute for the Chinese army, is pictured
Peter Daszak, right, Thea Fischer, left, and other members of the World Health Organization team investigating origins of COVID-19 arrive at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in February
Security personnel keep watch outside Wuhan Institute of Virology during the visit by the World Health Organization
Shi Zhengli is pictured in 2017 working with other researchers in a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, the same year the WIV reportedly began engaging in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military
The Wuhan Institute of Virology is about 20 miles from the Huanan Seafood Market where the first coronavirus cases are reported to have occurred
Bloomberg reported that China later denounced the State Department’s fact sheet as ‘full of fallacies’ and the ‘last madness’ of ‘Mr. Lies’ Mike Pompeo, the former Secretary of State.
The Vanity Fair report also detailed in-length other evidence that supports the lab-leak theory while detailing how U.S. investigation into COVID-19’s origin have been impeded from investigating that theory.
Claims that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology have been laughed off as conspiracy theories – but even researchers at a number of top universities like Harvard and Cambridge have suggest in a letter that the ‘hypotheses’ cannot be ruled out until there is more evidence.
Last February, during the emergence of the pandemic, The Lancet published a letter from a group of 27 prominent public health scientists that pushed back on suggestions that the virus had come from the Wuhan lab.
‘The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumours and misinformation around its origins. We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin,’ that letter reads.
Dr. Anthony Fauci dismissed recent revelations that he was warned by scientist at start of pandemic that COVID-19 may have been ‘engineered’
Gilles Demaneuf, a data scientist with the Bank of New Zealand in Auckland, discovered four SARS-related lab leaks since 2004, two of them happening at a top laboratory in Beijing, and detailed them in a blog post on Medium.
Rodolphe de Maistre, a Paris-based laboratory project director, revealed the Wuhan Institute of Virology housed a number of coronavirus laboratories – but only one required researchers to wear full-body pressurized suits with independent oxygen.
Other Wuhan Institute of Virology labs have the lower safety designations of BSL-3 and BSL-2, which Vanity Fair described as ‘roughly as secure as an American dentist’s office.’
Vanity Fair noted that the lab leak theory was first posited by social media users in China as early as January 2020.
The following month, Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao, two scientists working at separate universities in Wuhan co-authored a preprint paper that expanded on the theory. Their study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
‘We screened the area around the seafood market and identified two laboratories conducting research on bat coronavirus,’ the scientists wrote.
They noted that the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, known to have collected more than 600 bat samples, is housed just 280 meters from the Huanan wet market believed to be where the first cases spread.
The other, housed about 12 kilometers away, was the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has dismissed revelations that he was warned at the start of pandemic that COVID-19 may have been ‘engineered’ and played down a grant the Wuhan Institute of Virology received amid claims the grant may have funded the gain-of-function research.
He said his emails are ‘ripe to be taken out of context’ but he ‘can’t guarantee everything that is going on in the Wuhan lab’.
In an interview with NewsNation Now anchor Leland Vittert on The Donlon Report, Fauci also explained why scientists focused their theories on the natural transmission from bats to humans through an intermediary species.
The interview comes after a trove of 3,200 of Fauci’s emails from January to June 2020, obtained by Buzzfeed, showed leading virus experts warned him COVID-19 may have been created in a lab while he publicly played them down.
‘The only trouble is they are really ripe to be taken out of context where someone can snip out a sentence in an email without showing the other emails, and say ‘based on an email from Dr. Fauci, he said such and such’ where you don’t really have the full context,’ Fauci told Vittert.
Another trove of emails, published by the Washington Post, also revealed his cozy relationship with China’s top infectious disease expert Dr. George Gao – the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention – during the early days of the pandemic in March and April of last year.
‘Let’s put things in context … We’re not talking about the Chinese Communist Party. We’re not talking about the Chinese military. We’re talking about scientists that we’ve had relationships for years,’ Fauci said.
Fauci then defended his relationship with Gao, a colleague of Fauci’s ‘for many years’ and a member of the United States National Academy of Scientists.
‘The scientists there, and others that we dealt with the original SARS, with the influenza virtually every year, the scientists are experienced,’ Fauci said.
The National Institute of Health awarded a $3.7 million grant to EcoHealth Alliance, which is based in the United States, to study the risk of coronaviruses emerging from bats in 2014. EcoHealth Alliance in turn distributed nearly $600,000 of that funding to its collaborator, the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Sen. Rand Paul claimed during an interview with Fox News on Wednesday that Fauci’s emails show he was worried the NIH funded gain-of-function research as early as last February during the emergence of the pandemic.
‘In his email, in the subject line, he says ‘gain of function research.’ He was admitting it to his private underlings seven to eight months ago,’ Paul said.
In gain-of-function research, scientists alter organisms and diseases to study how they could become deadlier or more transmissible. The field of virology widely relies on such studies.
Fauci, who serves as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases under the umbrella of the NIH, has denied that the NIH directly funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan.
Rand Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky, said Fauci bears ‘moral culpability’ for the pandemic and should be fired from his government roles
In a February 1, 2020 email obtained by Buzzfeed News, Principal NIAID Director Hugh Auschincloss wrote to Fauci to discuss a paper the top infectious disease expert had sent him appearing to question if NIH grants funded gain of function research relating to coronaviruses.
In the email to Fauci, Auschincloss noted that a colleague would ‘try to determine if we have any distant ties to this work abroad.’
Fauci then defended thegrant the United States had provided the Wuhan lab.
‘The Wuhan lab is a very large lab to the tune of hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars. The grant that we’re talking about was $600,000 over five years for an average of about $125,000 to $140,000 a year,’ Fauci said.
He added: ‘I can’t guarantee everything that is going on in the Wuhan lab, I can’t do that. But it is our obligation as scientists and public health individuals to study the animal-human interface’ in the aftermath of the original SARS virus in 2002.
Fauci explained that SARS-CoV-1 ‘was clearly a jumping of species from a bat, to a civet cat, to a human.’
‘So it was incumbent upon us to study the animal-human interface and to understand what potential these viruses have of infecting humans which then might damage the United States,’ Fauci said.
‘So you don’t want to go to Hoboken, New Jersey or to Fairfax, Virginia to be studying the bat human interface that might lead to an outbreak. You go to China.’