Coronavirus first leaked from Wuhan lab in September 2019, when an army biological weapons expert was brought in, security and ventilation were beefed up, and hospital visits spiked, a Republicans report has found.
The evidence is being prepared by congressional Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee that seeks to prove that the coronavirus originally escaped from the Chinese labs.
Citing open-source data, the report found that the virus had escaped from the Wuhan lab before September 12, 2019.
An addendum to a report being compiled by Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, adds further evidence to the theory that the Covid-19 first emerged from a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (pictured)
Researchers work at a lab in at the Wuhan institute. Republicans in a House committee are compiling a report that seeks to prove the virus was made in one of the labs and escaped sometime before Sept. 12, 2019
While China has tried to insist the virus originated naturally, academics and politicians have started to contemplate the possibility it leaked from a high-level biochemical lab in Wuhan – raising suspicions that Chinese officials simply hid evidence of the early spread. A graphic shows the official Chinese timeline of the Covid pandemic and how it didn’t raise the alarm until December 31
That day, Wuhan University called for laboratory inspections, and hours later the lab’s viral sequence database was taken off the web.
According to the report, Dr. Shi Zhen-Li, a senior scientist at the Wuhan institute was questioned in an email why the database was removed from the internet.
Zen-Li, had in the past ‘given several conflicting answers’ regarding the disappearance of the database, the report noted, and replied that she would not answer further questions.
‘No trust, no conversation,’ she wrote.
Shortly after the removal of the database, the lab requested bids for additional security at the lab, such as ‘gatekeepers, guards, video surveillance, security patrols, and people to handle the ‘registration and reception of foreign personnel,’ according to house Republicans’ report.
Other pieces of evidence compiled include that Major General Chen Wei, a biology and chemical weapons defense expert, had taken control of one of the institute’s labs in late 2019.
Further proof of the earlier timeline, the committee Republicans say, includes international press reports that the World Military Games, hosted in Wuhan in October, 2019, were held without fans.
Later, athletes who attended the games, the report says, developed Covid-like symptoms in November and December, 2019.
The report also says that Yu Chuanhua, the Vice President of the Hubei Health Statistics and Information Society had tried to retract statements he made in a Feb. 27 interview with Health Times in which he spoke of a patient who had become sick with Covid-19 in September, 2019, as well as two other cases in November.
The report says the attempt was likely in response to a Chinese gag order as news of the coronavirus spread.
The house Republicans on the committee also seek to argue that the virus was possibly genetically modified, and cite an interview with Dr. Ralph Baric, who had collaborated with the Wuhan lab, in which he said it was possible to engineer a virus, ‘without leaving a trace.’
The report also found the facility had sought to improve its waste management and ventilation systems.
Dr. Shi Zhen-Li (pictured) a senior scientist at the Wuhan institute has said she would not answer further questions regarding whether the virus had leaked from one of her labs
The facilities seeking the renovations were part of the Wuhan National Biosafety Lab, and had been operational for less than two years.
‘Such a significant renovation so soon after the facility began operation appears unusual,’ Republican staff on committee wrote in their report.
The renovations, they wrote, ‘all raise questions about how well these systems were functioning in the months prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.’
The information regarding the lab’s procurement posting for the renovations will be included as an addendum by staff for Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the Committee.
The report and the addendum was viewed by Fox News.
Republicans on the committee will submit the full report in September.
It’s not clear why the lab requested the bids or if the work was actually carried out, but the information is intended to add more to evidence Republicans on the committee are compiling to suggest that the coronavirus accidentally leaked from Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The report will come as an intelligence review ordered by the Biden administration into the origins of the virus is set to release its findings.
Fauci v Paul: The debate over gain-of-function research and the $600K NIH grant to the Wuhan lab
Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci have been at loggerheads over gain-of-function research and a $600,000 grant the National Institutes of Health (NIH) gave to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2014.
Gain of Function Research (GOF) is a controversial practice that involves altering a virus or pathogen in order to study the development of new diseases and their transmission. The research can ultimately make the virus more contagious or more deadly in a lab.
According to an NIH definition, GOF includes studying and altering viruses in animals to make them transmissible to humans – and potentially more contagious and deadly.
Paul accused Fauci on May 11 of misleading Congress by saying the U.S. has never funded gain-of-function projects at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The Kentucky Republican points to a $3.7million grant NIH gave EcoHealth Alliance in 2014. EcoHealth Alliance in turn distributed nearly $600,000 of that funding to its collaborator, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
Paul has maintained that emails from Fauci showed that he was worried NIH funded gain-of-function research in February 2020 when the pandemic first started to emerge.
In an interview in June, Paul told Fox News: ‘I think we’ve had a change of opinion. Everybody left-of-center was saying this was a conspiracy, no way it could have happened in the Wuhan lab. Now even Dr. Fauci is saying we should investigate it’
‘But the emails paint a disturbing picture, a disturbing picture of Dr. Fauci form the very beginning worrying that he had been funding gain of function research. And he knows it to this day but hasn’t admitted it.’
Paul claimed in the interview that ‘there is a lot of evidence’ that Fauci’s views on the Wuhan lab-leak theory were compromised by a ‘conflict of interest.’
‘If it turns out this virus came from the Wuhan lab, which it looks like it did, that there’s a great deal of culpability in that he was a big supporter of the funding,’ Paul said.
‘But he was also a big supporter to this day of saying that we can trust the Chinese on this, that we can trust Chinese scientists and I think that’s quite naïve and really should preclude him form the position that he’s in.
In June, Fauci dismissed revelations that he was warned at the start of pandemic that COVID-19 may have been ‘engineered’.
Fauci seemed to play down a mass trove of damaging emails which include warnings from the start of the pandemic that the virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
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’