The lab was engaged in a secret project to identify viruses with pandemic potential.
In What Really Happened in Wuhan: the Cover-Ups, the Conspiracies and the Classified Research by Sharri Markson, the Wuhan Institute of Virology and a scientist, Shi Zhengli, are the main focus. Zhengli, known as “Batwoman” for her sampling thousands of bats in remote caves, was part of China’s own version of the Global Virome Project (GVP), which was tasked with identifying all of the planet’s viruses with pandemic potential.
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But China’s lab had poor safety practices and no US oversight on the project. Worse, little international cooperation or oversight was permitted by Chinese authorities. The book claims that work at the lab was funded by the US National Institute of Health, along with the National Science Foundation of China.
In her book, Markson noted, “So a laboratory working with the most lethal pathogens known to humankind had effectively cut off collaboration with the international community.”
After the pandemic outbreak, Zhengli posted on social media tool WeChat that Covid-19 was “nature’s punishment for uncivilised living habits of human beings. I, Shi Zhengli, use my life to guarantee that it has nothing to do with our lab.”
Zhengli had been conducting controversial “gain-of-function” research, which attempts to make viruses more infectious and deadly, often to humans, the book further claims.
While the US paused its own gain of function research in 2014, it renewed its studies in 2017.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has admitted that the US gave the Wuhan, China lab hundreds of thousands of dollars for research. He has, however, denied it was specifically for the dangerous “gain of function” studies, wherein researchers alter a disease to increase pathogenesis, transmissibility, or host range. Such modifications hope to develop vaccines and therapeutics, but create deadlier strains.
Earlier this summer, Fauci defended funding Chinese research to CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“It was a… proposal that was peer-reviewed and given a very high rating for the importance of why it should be done,” Fauci said. “[The proposal was] to be able to go and do a survey of what was going on among the bat population, because everyone in the world was trying to figure out what the original source of the original SARS CoV-1 was.”
The National Institutes of Health earmarked $600,000 for a nonprofit linked to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“It was almost as if you didn’t pursue that research you would be negligent because you were trying to find out how you could prevent this from happening again,” Fauci said. “If we were starting to look for bats in Secaucus, New Jersey, or Fairfax County, Virginia, it wouldn’t contribute very much to the standing of where SARS COV-1 originated.”
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