It is “extremely unlikely” that the virus causing Covid-19 leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), but for the World Health Organization there’s more to the story. According to WHO mouthpiece Peter Ben Emerek, the issue does not even warrant further study.
“Phew. That’s China off the hook, then,” wrote Miranda Devine of the New York Post.
Contrary to Emerek, a food safety and nutrition specialist, not a virologist, the WIV warrants plenty of further study. Consider, for example, recent revelations from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
“Two Canadian government scientists escorted from the National Microbiology Laboratory amidst an RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] investigation and internal review have been let go from the Public Health Agency of Canada,” Karen Pauls of the CBC reported on February 6. Canada’s health agency gave no explanation for the dismissal of Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, a virologist from Tianjin, China, and her husband, Keding Cheng.
As Pauls explains, in 2017-18 Qiu made at least five trips to China, including one to train scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, “which does research with the most deadly pathogens.” According to Canadian government officials, Qiu was acting in response to the WIV’s request for virus samples.
In July, 2019, Cheng, Qiu and her students from China were removed from the National Microbiology Lab (NML), Canada’s only Level 4 lab, over a possible “policy breach” and administrative matter.
As Pauls reported that month, the ouster of Cheng and Qiu came “several months after IT specialists for the NML entered Qiu’s office after-hours and replaced her computer.” Qiu also started to deny her regular trips to China. The “policy breach” remained unexplained and officials said it posed no danger to the public. That month, Brian Owens of Science magazine cited speculation that “the case involves concerns about the improper transfer of intellectual property to China.”
According to Pauls, the viruses Qiu exported to Wuhan included: Ebola Makona (three different varieties), Mayinga, Kikwit, Ivory Coast, Bundibugyo, Sudan Boniface, Sudan Gulu, MA-Ebov, GP-Ebov, GP-Sudan, Hendra, Nipah Malaysia, and Nipah Bangladesh.
In an August 2, 2019 National Post report headlined, “Canadian lab immersed in RCMP probe sent Ebola and another deadly virus to China,” Tom Blackwell noted that of the viruses Qiu sent to the WIV, Nipah attracted the most attention. Nipah was transmitted from animals to people and “also able to jump between humans — it can cause acute breathing problems and encephalitis, potentially fatal brain inflammation.” In cases in Bangladesh and India, death rates ranged between 50 and 100 percent. Blackwell cited a 2018 NML paper that Nipah’s “threat to cause a widespread outbreak and its potential for weaponization has increased.”
According to government documents obtained by the CBC, Qiu’s trips to the Wuhan lab were “third-party funded” but the name of the party was redacted. Also blacked out were names of Qiu’s collaborators during her September, 2017, trip to China.
In her June 14, 2020 report, Pauls explains how one of the Chinese scientists “was responsible for exporting the pathogens to the Wuhan Institute of Virology” four months before the RCMP removed the pair from the NML. Amir Attaran, law professor and epidemiologist at the University of Ottawa, was willing to go on the record.
“We have a researcher who was removed by the RCMP from the highest security laboratory that Canada has for reasons that government is unwilling to disclose,” Attaran told Karen Pauls. “The intelligence remains secret. But what we know is that before she was removed, she sent one of the deadliest viruses on Earth, and multiple varieties of it to maximize the genetic diversity and maximize what experimenters in China could do with it, to a laboratory in China that does dangerous gain of function experiments. And that has links to the Chinese military.”
In 2014, the U.S. National Institutes of Health banned dangerous “gain of function” research, which involves “manipulating viruses in the lab to explore their potential for infecting humans.” The moratorium ended in 2017, and in 2019, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases boss Dr. Anthony Fauci started shipping U.S. dollars to the Wuhan lab, as Newsweek reported, for “research that included some gain-of-function work.” Fauci has been evasive about China’s role in release of the Wuhan virus.
In 2019, Canada removed Qiu and Cheng from the NML and this month terminated the pair from the Public Health Agency of Canada. The government claims the move is unrelated to the pandemic, but Amir Attaran is not satisfied.
“This adds to the appearance that NML staff acted improperly, and perhaps illegally, when they exported Canada’s collection of Ebola virus to a lab in Wuhan, China, totally without any scientific justification that NML cares to offer,” Attaran told the CBC. “It is a deeply suspicious transaction that deserves powerful, but not politicized, parliamentary scrutiny when it comes to an extremely lethal virus.”
Powerful scrutiny is unlikely under China-compliant Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. South of the border, NIAID’s Anthony Fauci and the CDC’s Nancy Messonnier are fully WHO-China compliant. Both are favorites of Joe Biden, on record that Chinese Communists are “not bad folks.” When President Trump imposed a ban on travel from China in January of 2020, Biden called it “xenophobic.”
By letting China off the hook for the pandemic, Miranda Devine explains, “WHO has provided the Biden administration with a perfect out,” to continue cozying up to Beijing. “Three weeks ago the Wuhan Institute published a patent for a new bat breeding program so it can continue its risky research. It’s business as usual.”