Questioning the CDC: Is it a Complete Coincidence That China’s Only BSL4 Is in Wuhan? — Audio and Video

I asked about the origins of the outbreak at a news conference with a Center for Disease Control representative at the now shuttered National Press Club on Feb. 11. I asked if it was a complete coincidence that the pandemic started in Wuhan, which seems a hub of Chinese biowarfare capacity — with the only declared BSL4 (biosafety level 4 laboratory, which deals with the most deadly pathogens) while the bat caves (in Yunnan province) some have cited as the relevant source of bats are over 1,000 miles from Wuhan. I noted that controversial gain-of-function lab work results in more deadly pathogens (like making them airborne), and that major labs, including in the U.S., have had accidents. The CDC’s Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat replied that based on the information she has seen, the virus was of “zoonotic origin.” She also stated regarding gain-of-function lab work that it’s important to “protect researchers and their laboratory workers as well as the community around them and that we use science for the benefit of people.”
I followed up, asking if an alleged natural origin didn’t preclude it coming out of a lab, since a lab could have acquired a bat virus and been working on it. Schuchat replied to the assembled journalists that “it is very common for rumors to emerge that can take on life of their own,” but didn’t answer the question. She noted that in the 2014 Ebola outbreak, some pointed to nearby labs as the possible cause, claiming this “was a key rumor that had to be overcome in order to help control the outbreak.” And she reiterated: “So based on everything that I know right now, I can tell you the circumstances of the origin really look like animals to human. But your, your question, I heard.”

But there’s no rumor. It’s a fact: Labs work with dangerous pathogens. U.S. and China have such dual use biowarfare/biodefense programs. China has major facilities at Wuhan. There are leaks from labs. (See Preventing a Biological Arms Race, MIT Press, 1990, edited by Susan Wright — see (partial) review in Journal of International Law (10/92).)

Notice of event is here. Full video here and my questioning begins at 41:41. Audio attached, my question begins at 6:10 on the audio. Full article to come. Transcript:
Husseini: Obviously the main concern is how to stop the virus and deaths and so on. But I think that we should look into the origins of this. Is it the CDCs contention that there’s absolutely no relation to the BSL4 lab in Wuhan? It’s my understanding this is the only place in China with a BSL4 lab. We in the United States have I think two dozen or so and there have been problems and incidents. Some of them have been shut down out of concerns of leakage of potential pathogens. And it’s an ethical struggle in the United States about gain of function research. That is, research that actually attempts to make pathogens more lethal. China is a very opaque society [with a] totalitarian regime. We have no idea, or I don’t know, you tell me: Do you have any idea of what kind of research could potentially be done? I’m not contending that this was intentional in any way. I’m just asking is it a complete coincidence that this outbreak happened in the one city in China with a BSL4 lab and shouldn’t we be having at least some of the discussion about the ethics of some of the research that happens here? Thank you.

Schuchat: Thank you for those comments. Based on everything that I know about what is going on with this outbreak and the research that’s being conducted, well as the genomic sequences that have been posted and the comparison with animals strains, the pattern that we’re seeing is quite consistent with emergence from animal to human acquisition and adaptability or mutations that permit the virus to be easily spread between people. There’s some emerging research about, you know, the virus itself is related to bat viruses, that’s what the SARS virus and the MERS virus. But there was an intriguing report about pangolin sequencing — an animal that is apparently a large part of the wildlife trade around the world, with 99 percent similarity. But what our scientists tell us is you actually need more like 99.9 percent similarity for us to understand origin. The animal origins and the circumstances of the emergence of this virus are really important to understand and it’s one of the key questions that the global community wants to look into.
Schuchat: In terms of the question about gain of function research and laboratory issues. Very important for us as a scientific community to have practices that protect researchers and their laboratory workers as well as the community around them and that we use science for the benefit of people. So I am closely involved in this response and everything that I’ve seen so far is very consistent with the animal to human spread that we’ve seen other zoonotic origin.
Husseini: May I follow up on that — just — I mean, the two things don’t necessarily preclude each other. That is, the Chinese lab could well have acquired the bat [virus]. It’s one or two thousand miles away — the caves where the bats are [from] that are allegedly the cause. So wouldn’t — the two things aren’t mutually exclusive, are they?

Schuchat: Yeah, let me leave a comment. Information is critical and having the very best information available to those who — to everyone, to be able to protect themselves, their families, their communities is essential. In the midst of new infections, it is very common for rumors to emerge that can take on life of their own. So as you mentioned, a laboratory in the center of what else is happening in that province — I’m reminded of concerns we heard when I was in Sierra Leone in 2014 with the Ebola response. There was a concern that there was a hemorrhagic virus research center in Sierra Leone, and maybe that’s where the virus had come from. It was a key rumor that had to be overcome in order to help control the outbreak. So based on everything that I know right now, I can tell you the circumstances of the origin really look like animals to human. But your, your question I heard.

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2 Responses to “Questioning the CDC: Is it a Complete Coincidence That China’s Only BSL4 Is in Wuhan? — Audio and Video”

  1. sovereigntea says:

    Bat virus gathered by US facility in Tiblisi .. Lugar Lab Georgia.
    Much of this research involves creating “chimera” viruses, mostly corona-based bat viruses, that manifest themselves as devastating airborne plagues that destroy lung tissue. The US has partnered around the world, China, the Republic of Georgia, across Africa, capturing bats and weaponizing the diseases found, using gene splicing.

    Then vaccines are developed, ostensibly, as a protection against other nations who are doing the same so that the United States is never the victim of a pandemic that may well infect a million and kill a hundred thousand or more.

    But there is a problem.

    The research on the creation of the viruses is published. Their effects, including and especially the difficulty in creating vaccines to treat them, is carefully outlined as in research done at Harvard or the University of North Carolina.

    But there is a problem.

    There is never published research on the cures and preventions, the treatments, the vaccines that these studies, that these billion-dollar studies come up with.

    One once considered the withholding of such data as an issue of national security, that the US wanted to maintain an advantage if an adversary, though there are no proven adversaries involved in such research despite allegations, were to unleash a coronavirus attack on the US.

  2. sovereigntea says:

    Project G 2101 – docs here
    By Dilyana Gaytandzhieva

    Two years ago, I investigated an alleged laboratory accident at the Lugar Center, the Pentagon bio-laboratory in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, which had resulted in the death of two Filipinos working in the laboratory. The death cases were hidden by the local authorities but I recorded on camera witnesses who testified about this tragic incident.

    Project G-2101: Pentagon bio-lab discovered MERS and SARS-like coronaviruses in bats

    The Lugar Center scientists collected 450 bats in total in 2012 and 2014 (photos: Lela Urushadze, Zoonotic pathogens, and their molecular epidemiological characteric in Georgian bats, Dissertation, Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia, 2018)

    Bat samples were shipped to CDC, Atlanta, for screening for pathogens (source: Lela Urushadze, The First Bat Survey for Emerging Zoonotic Pathogens in Georgia)

    However, what then seemed to me to be a local issue, turned out to be part of a bigger story. The Lugar Center in Georgia is just one of the many Pentagon biolaboratories in 25 countries across the world. They are funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under a $ 2.1 billion military program – Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP), and are located in former Soviet Union countries such as Georgia and Ukraine, the Middle East, South East Asia, and Africa. Much of their work is classified and includes projects on bio-agents and pathogens with pandemic potential.
    Documents reveal that the Lugar Center also studied coronaviruses in bats.

    In 2012 the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) collected and sampled 236 bats for research in Georgia in cooperation with the Lugar Center. The project was funded by the US DoD Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Part of the samples were shipped to CDC (Atlanta), for screening for multiple pathogens, another part was stored at the Lugar Center for further studies.

    In 2014 the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) launched a second project “Emerging zoonotic pathogens in Georgian bats” along with Georgian scientists at the Lugar Center. The project was funded by the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC).

    Project G 2101 by Gordon Duff on Scribd

    Former Bioweapon Scientists working at the Lugar Center

    ISTC, the organization that funded the bat project in Georgia in 2014, was established in 1992 as a non-proliferation international program, providing former biological and chemical weapons scientists with new opportunities for sustainable, peaceful employment.

    Seven of the Georgian scientists involved in the ISTC bat research project in Georgia turn out to be former bioweapon scientists who had previously worked on the development of bioweapons, according to the ISTC project documents. Among them is Paata Imnadze, the deputy director of the Georgian National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) where the Lugar Center is located.

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