Democrat President Joe Biden’s team shut down an investigation launched by then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s State Department into whether the coronavirus pandemic originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The effort was focused on looking at whether China’s biological weapons program could have had a “greater role in the pandemic’s origin in Wuhan,” CNN reported. The probe was run out of the State Department’s arms control and verification bureau.
“Officials involved in the effort relied on scientific research as well as public and classified information to probe the lab leak theory, including looking into any possible connection between the virus and the Chinese government’s biological weapons program,” the report said. “The US government has said that it believes China maintained an offensive biological weapons program even after joining the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in 1984. China refutes this.”
Biden officials claimed that the reason that they shut down the probe was because they were concerned about the quality of the work and evidence. The story comes as the U.S. mainstream media has rapidly shifted its reporting on the lab leak theory from portraying it as an improbably conspiracy during the Trump-era to now portraying it as a credible theory.
A new report published this week stated that three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) — China’s only Biosafety level-4 laboratory — were hospitalized in November 2019 with symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
“The details of the reporting go beyond a State Department fact sheet, issued during the final days of the Trump administration, which said that several researchers at the lab, a center for the study of coronaviruses and other pathogens, became sick in autumn 2019 ‘with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness,’” The Wall Street Journal reported. “The disclosure of the number of researchers, the timing of their illnesses and their hospital visits come on the eve of a meeting of the World Health Organization’s decision-making body, which is expected to discuss the next phase of an investigation into Covid-19’s origins.”
The Australian reported earlier this month that documents obtained by the U.S. Government showed that the Chinese military had discussed weaponizing SARS coronaviruses a few years before the coronavirus pandemic erupted:
The document, written by People’s Liberation Army scientists and senior Chinese public health officials in 2015, was obtained by the US State Department as it conducted an investigation into the origins of COVID-19. The paper describes SARS coronaviruses as heralding a ‘new era of genetic weapons’ and says they can be ‘artificially manipulated into an emerging human disease virus, then weaponized and unleashed in a way never seen before.’
The report from The Australian was careful to caution that no information has been made public suggesting that the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic was the result of an intentional act. Many officials have urged investigations into the Wuhan Institute of Virology to determine if that lab, which is China’s only Biosafety Level-4 lab (BSL-4), had any role in the origin of the pandemic. BSL-4 is a designation for facilities that are designed to handle pathogens so contagious and dangerous that “infections caused by these microbes are frequently fatal and without treatment or vaccines,” according to the CDC.
This report has been updated to include additional information.
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