US-Funded Experiments in China Could Secretly Manipulate Viruses: Email

FBI tipped off to risky experiments, which were funded by the agency headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Experiments in China funded by the U.S. government could manipulate coronaviruses and leave no trace, according to newly disclosed emails.

Details of the experiments showed that changing the viruses could be done and “would leave no signatures of purposeful human manipulation,” an unknown person told the FBI on April 23, 2020, one of the emails showed.

The details were outlined on a webpage for a grant funded by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the agency headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci until late 2022. The government has funded $4.3 million for the grant. Some of the funds were sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a laboratory located in the same Chinese city in which the first COVID-19 cases appeared in 2019.

An FBI official forwarded the email to another FBI official about an hour after receipt. “Hey are you going to be in office tomorrow? We just interviewed our person from [redacted] again and he provided us with some alarming new info,” the official wrote. “Give me a call if you can.”

The identities of the source and FBI officials were redacted in the messages, which were obtained by the nonprofit Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The FBI and EcoHealth did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“These smoking gun documents showed the FBI quickly understood that Fauci’s agency funded the gain-of-function research that could disguise the resulting coronavirus as ‘natural,’” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “These new documents further demonstrate the need for a comprehensive criminal investigation into Fauci’s gain-of-function scandal.”

Robert Garry, who has a doctorate in microbiology and also studied virology, said in private messages that genetic manipulation doesn’t leave signatures. One could “synthesize bits of the genes. … with perfect provision and then add them back in without a trace,” he wrote in early 2020 while analyzing COVID-19.

Mr. Garry and others later wrote in a paper called “Proximal Origin” that the available evidence showed COVID-19 “is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.” Two of the authors defended the change during a hearing in Congress.

Records previously obtained by Judicial Watch showed that the FBI opened an inquiry into the research in Wuhan, which was done under a grant called “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence.”

It’s not clear what specific actions the FBI took, but the bureau has since determined that COVID-19, a coronavirus, likely originated at the Wuhan lab.

“You’re talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab that killed millions of Americans,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in 2023.

The U.S. intelligence community as a whole is divided on the matter, with at least one other agency also assessing a lab origin as likely while others are undecided or lean toward the natural origin theory.

COVID-19 is believed to have come from bats. The grant gave money to scientists to gather bat coronaviruses and experiment on them in labs in Wuhan and elsewhere. China has largely blocked investigations into the origins of COVID-19 and declined to make information from the lab public. Similarities between COVID-19 and a virus on which experiments were proposed in a separate EcoHealth funding application are among the evidence pointing to the lab leak theory, experts say. Others say the available evidence, including early cases at a wet market in Wuhan, suggest a natural origin.

Experiments funded through the U.S. grant did result in a bat coronavirus that made mice sicker than those infected with the original version, government officials have disclosed. Concerns about work at the lab were raised prior to the pandemic, according to an internal report viewed recently by a U.S. senator. Officials renewed EcoHealth’s grant in 2023 but have barred funding to the Wuhan lab after lab leaders stopped sharing information with EcoHealth and U.S. overseers.

 

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