By Jon Dougherty @TheNatSent
(TNS) For weeks, there has been speculation that the coronavirus may have accidentally escaped from China’s only Level 4 bio lab, which is, coincidentally, located in Wuhan city, where COVID-19 reportedly originated.
Anyone who has offered up such speculation has been pilloried by the ‘mainstream media,’ though honestly, criticism from those fools is meaningless given their inability to accurately report basic facts and their penchant to present every story from an angle that hurts President Donald Trump.
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Now we learn that the U.S. government actually provided millions in funding to the very same lab where the virus may have been developed and released, according to the UK Daily Mail — which, once again, scooped all American media who are more focused on Trump ‘gotcha’ questions:
The Chinese laboratory at the center of scrutiny over a potential coronavirus leak has been using U.S. government money to carry out research on bats from the caves which scientists believe are the original source of the deadly outbreak.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology undertook coronavirusÂ experiments on mammals captured more than 1,000 miles away in Yunnan which were funded by a $3.7 million grant from the US government.Â
Sequencing of the COVID-19 genome has traced it back to bats found in Yunnan caves but it was first thought to have transferred to humans at an animal market in Wuhan.
The revelation that the Wuhan Institute was experimenting on bats from the area already known to be the source of COVID-19 – and doing so with American money – has sparked further fears that the lab, and not the market, is the original outbreak source.Â
“I’m disgusted to learn that for years the US government has been funding dangerous and cruel animal experiments at the Wuhan Institute, which may have contributed to the global spread of coronavirus, and research at other labs in China that have virtually no oversight from US authorities,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. said, according to the Daily Mail.
The outlet notes that the lab, formally known as the Wuhan Institute of Virology, is located 20 miles from the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Documents obtained by the Daily Mail indicate that funding for the Chinese lab comes in partly from the US National Institutes of Health. What’s more, the institutes continue to license the Chinese lab so it can continue receiving U.S. tax dollars.
Other U.S. partners include the University of Alabama, the University of North Texas, Harvard University, and the National Wildlife Federation.
The news that COVID-19 bats were under research there means that a leak from the Wuhan laboratory can no longer be completely ruled out.Â
According to one unverified claim, scientists at the institute could have become infected after being sprayed with blood containing the virus, and then passed it on to the local community.Â
A second institute in the city, the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control â€“ which is barely three miles from the market â€“ is also believed to have carried out experiments on animals such as bats to examine the transmission of coronaviruses.Â
U.S. experts and academics defended the lab, saying it is designed with the highest industry standards and its research staff is trained (some in the U.S.) in the most up-to-date techniques.
And yet…we have this pandemic.
Prof. Richard Ebright, of Rutgers University’s Waksman Institute of Microbiology, New Jersey, said that evidence suggests that COVID-19 wasn’t actually created in the lab. However, he said it could have easily escaped.
He told the Daily Mail he’d seen evidence that scientists at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Institute of Virology often studied viruses with only “Level 2” security rather than the recommended Level 4, with “provides only minimal protections against infection of lab workers.”
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“Virus collection, culture, isolation, or animal infection would pose a substantial risk of infection of a lab worker, and from the lab worker then the public,” he said.
Thus, the evidence leaves him to conclude there is “a basis to rule out [that coronavirus is] a lab construct, but no basis to rule out a lab accident.”
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