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Today, US House Foreign Affairs Committee has released an addendum to the Origins of COVID-19 Report. Worth reading in full.


https://gop-foreignaffairs.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/ORIGINS-OF-COVID-19-REPORT.pdf

ORIGINS-OF-COVID-19-REPORT.pdf (house.gov)

 HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
REPORT MINORITY STAFF
LEAD REPUBLICAN MICHAEL T. MCCAUL
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTEENTH CONGRESS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION TO ADDENDUM TO THE FINAL REPORT
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
KEY PEOPLE
I. The City of Wuhan: Epicenter of a Pandemic…………………………………………13
II. Evidence of a Lab Leak…………………………………………………………………………14
III. Evidence of Genetic Modification………………………………………………………….29
IV. Evidence of a Lab Leak Cover-Up ………………………………………………………..41
V. Hypothesis: A Lab Leak That Caused a Pandemic………………………………….58
VI. Recommendations…………………………………………………………………………………60
VII. Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………………62
VIII. Appendix……………………………………………………………………………………………..63
Timeline of the WIV Lab Leak and the Start of the COVID-19 Pandemic……………………………………63
China Center for Disease and Control Memo on Supplementary Regulations……………………………….67
JPCM Confidential Notice on the Standardization of the Management of Publication of Novel
Coronavirus Pneumonia Scientific Research…………………………………………………………………………….72
February 6, 2020, Email at 12:43am from Peter Daszak to Ralph Baric, Linfa Wang, and Others
Inviting Them to Sign the Statement……………………………………………………………………………………….78
February 6, 2020, Email at 3:16pm from Peter Daszak to Ralph Baric Relaying Wang’s Request Not
to Sign the Statement…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….82
February 8, 2020, Email at 8:52pm from Peter Daszak to Rita Colwell Alleging WIV Researchers
Requested the Statement………………………………………………………………………………………………………..83
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ADDENDUM TO THE FINAL REPORT
Five hundred and four days ago, on March 16, 2020, Committee Minority Staff began its
investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 global pandemic at the direction of
Ranking Member Michael T. McCaul. The House Foreign Affairs Committee Minority Staff Final
Report on The Origins of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic, Including the Roles of the Chinese
Communist Party and the World Health Organization was published in late September 2020. At the
time of its release, there were an estimated 30.8 million cases of COVID-19 around the world, and a
death toll of approximately 958,000. Today, the cumulative count stands at more than 196.4 million
cases and 4,194,061 dead.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee Minority Staff has continued to investigate the origins of
COVID-19, examining new information as it became available, including through expert testimony.
We have done so because approximately 48 million of our population are under the age of 12 and
without access to a vaccination, while others remain unvaccinated due to underlying medical
conditions, leaving a large portion of American citizens at risk of infection. We prepared this
addendum as reports increase regarding various strains around the globe, and as PRC authorities
continue to withhold critical information about the early months of the pandemic. We have strongly
urged our Majority colleagues to take this investigation seriously and conduct a full bipartisan
investigation into the origins of COVID-19, and will continue to do so. President Biden has said he
wants to discover how the pandemic began, and it is our duty to the American people to use all the
tools in our arsenal in pursuit of that goal. As always, we stand ready to address this and other foreign
policy challenges together and in a bipartisan manner. We must not let up on pressing General
Secretary Xi and CCP authorities for answers.
Here we share the result of these efforts in an addendum to our September 2020 Final Report. In
particular, this update focuses on whether the virus may have leaked from a medical research
laboratory in Wuhan, Hubei Province, PRC, and the efforts to conceal such a leak. The evidence used
to inform this report is based upon open source information and includes published academic work,
official PRC publications (both public and confidential), interviews, emails, and social media
postings.
Since the publication of the September 21, 2020 Final Report new questions have been raised
pertaining to the origins of COVID-19. The PRC’s continued lack of transparency resulted in
President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.’s May 26, 2021, order to the United States Intelligence Community to
prepare a report in 90 days on the origins of COVID-19, “including whether it emerged from human
contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident.”
INTRODUCTION
“Statement by President Joe Biden on the Investigation into the Origins of COVID-19.” The White House, 26 May 2021,
www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/05/26/statement-by-president-joe-biden-on-the-investigation-into-theorigins-of-covid-19/.
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INTRODUCTION
Based on the material collected and analyzed by the Committee Minority Staff, the preponderance of
evidence suggests SARS-CoV-2 was accidentally released from a Wuhan Institute of Virology
laboratory sometime prior to September 12, 2019. The virus, or the viral sequence that was
genetically manipulated, was likely collected in a cave in Yunnan province, PRC, between 2012 and
2015. Researchers at the WIV, officials within the CCP, and potentially American citizens directly
engaged in efforts to obfuscate information related to the origins of the virus and to suppress public
debate of a possible lab leak. It is incumbent on these parties to respond to the issues raised herein
and provide clarity and any exonerating evidence as soon as possible. Until that time, it must be
assumed General Secretary Xi and the Chinese Communist Party, prioritizes preserving the Party
over the lives of its own people and those around the global suffering the effects of the COVID-19
pandemic.
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The sudden removal of the WIV’s virus and sample database in the middle of the night on
September 12, 2019 and without explanation;
Safety concerns expressed by top PRC scientists in 2019 and unusually scheduled maintenance at
the WIV;
Athletes at the Military World Games held in Wuhan in October 2019 who became sick with
symptoms similar to COVID-19 both while in Wuhan and also shortly after returning to their
home countries;
Satellite imagery of Wuhan in September and October 2019 that showed a significant uptick in
the number of people at local hospitals surrounding the WIV’s headquarters, coupled with an
unusually high number of patients with symptoms similar to COVID-19;
The installation of a People’s Liberation Army’s bioweapons expert as the head of the WIV’s
Biosafety Level 4 lab (BSL-4), possibly as early as late 2019; and
Actions by the Chinese Communist Party and scientists working at or affiliated with the WIV to
hide or coverup the type of research being conducted at there.
More than one year after the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, the world is still
reeling from the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. More
than four million people have lost their lives worldwide, including more than 612,000 Americans,
while economies around the world have been devastated by the fallout. This report investigates the
origin of this virus and looks at how it became a deadly pandemic.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology
Last September, the House Foreign Affairs Committee Minority Staff, under the direction of Ranking
Member Michael T. McCaul, released a report on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. That report
highlighted the possibility SARS-CoV-2 could have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology
(WIV). However, as we continued our investigation and uncovered more information, we now
believe it’s time to completely dismiss the wet market as the source of the outbreak. We also believe
the preponderance of the evidence proves the virus did leak from the WIV and that it did so sometime
before September 12, 2019.
This is based upon multiple pieces of evidence laid out in the report, including:
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
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Genetic Modification
This report also lays out ample evidence that researchers at the WIV, in conjunction with U.S.
scientists and funded by both the PRC government and the U.S. government, were conducting gainof-function research on coronaviruses at the WIV, at times under BSL-2 conditions. Much of this
research was focused on modifying the spike protein of coronaviruses that could not infect humans so
they could bind to human immune systems. The stated purpose of this work was to identified viruses
with pandemic potential and to create a broad-spectrum coronavirus vaccine. In many instances, the
scientists were successful in creating “chimeric viruses” – or viruses created from the pieces of other
viruses – that could infect human immune systems. With dangerous research like this conducted at
safety levels similar to a dentist’s office, a natural or genetically modified virus could have easily
escaped the lab and infected the community.
Committee Minority Staff has also identified scientists who are directly tied to the WIV, and who
worked on gain-of-function research in the years prior to the start of the current pandemic, who had
the ability to modify genetically modify coronaviruses without leaving any trace evidence. An
American scientist, Dr. Ralph Baric, assisted in creating a method to leave no trace of genetic
modification as early as 2005. And as early as 2016, scientists working at the WIV were able to do
the same. This makes it clear that claims by the scientific community that SARS-CoV-2 could not be
man-made because it has no genetic modification markers are disingenuous.
We conclude there is ample proof that the virus could have been genetically manipulated, and that it
is vitally important we fully investigate this hypothesis to determine if that happened here.
The Cover-Up
In the original report, we laid out many of the ways the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the
World Health Organization (WHO) went to great lengths to cover up the initial epidemic, and how
their cover-up likely turned what could have been a local outbreak into a global pandemic. The CCP
detained doctors in order to silence them, and disappeared journalists who attempted to expose the
truth. They destroyed lab samples, and hid the fact there was clear evidence of human-to-human
transmission. And they still refuse to allow a real investigation into the origins. At the same time, the
WHO, under Director General Tedros, failed to warn the world of the impending pandemic. Instead,
he parroted CCP talking points, acting as a puppet of General Secretary Xi.
In this addendum, we have uncovered further evidence of how top scientists at the WIV and Dr. Peter
Daszak, an American scientist, furthered that cover-up. Their actions include bullying other scientists
who questioned whether the virus could have leaked from a lab; misleading the world about how a
virus can be modified without leaving a trace; and, in many, instances directly lying about the nature
of the research they were conducting, as well as the low-level safety protocols they were using for
that research.
These actions not only delayed an initial investigation into the possibility of a lab leak costing
valuable time, but provide further proof the virus likely leaked from the WIV. These actions also call
into question the way in which U.S. government grants are used in overseas labs and call for more
oversight of those grants.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
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Next Steps
After this extensive investigation, we believe it is time to call Peter Daszak to testify before
Congress. There are still many outstanding questions about the type of research he funded at the WIV
that only he can answer. In addition, we believe there is legislation Congress can pass that would not
only hold those responsible accountable but also help to prevent a future pandemic, including but not
limited to:
Institute a ban on conducting and funding any work that includes gain-of-function
research until an international and legally binding standard is set, and only where that
standard is verifiably being followed.
Sanction the Chinese Academy of Sciences and affiliated entities.
List the Wuhan Institute of Virology and its leadership on the Specially Designated
Nationals and Blocked Persons List and apply additional, appropriate secondary
sanctions.
Authorize new sanctions for academic, governmental, and military bioresearch facilities
that fail to ensure the appropriate levels of safety and information sharing.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Gain-of-Function Research
“Research that improves the ability of a pathogen to cause
disease.” – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Spike Protein
A protein structure on the surface of an enveloped virus
responsible for anchoring the virus to the host cell’s surface and
enabling the injection of the virus’ genetic material into the
host cell.
RBD
Receptor-Binding Domain. The specific short fragment in a
spike protein of a virus that binds the virus to a specific
receptor on the host cell.
Primary Author The first listed author of an academic paper, usually the
person who contributes the most to a paper.
Corresponding Author The point of contact for editors and outside readers who
have questions about an academic paper.
USAID Predict
An epidemiological research grant program funded by the
United States Agency for International Development.
PREDICT provided funding for biological sampling aimed at
virus identification and collection. The program provided
grant funding to EcoHealth Alliance.
SARS Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. A viral respiratory
disease caused by SARS-CoV, a betacoronavirus. First
identified as the cause of a 2002-2003 epidemic.
MERS Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. A viral respiratory
disease caused by MERS-CoV, a betacoronavirus. First
identified as the cause of a 2012 outbreak.
SARS-CoV-2 The betacoronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Coronavirus An RNA virus that causes disease in mammals and birds.
Range in severity from the common cold to SARS-CoV-2.
Betacoronavirus One of the four subclassifications of coronaviruses. Found in
bats and rodents, this is the genus includes SARS, MERS, and
SARS-CoV-2.
Biosafety Level 1 (BSL1) Designed for work on microbes not known to cause disease
in healthy adults and present minimal potential hazard to
laboratorians and the environment. Work can be performed
on an open lab bench or table.
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GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Biosafety Level 2 (BSL2) For work with microbes that pose moderate hazards to
laboratorians and the environment. The microbes are typically
indigenous and associated with diseases of varying severity.
Personal protective equipment includes lab coats and gloves.
Work can be performed in the open or in a biological safety
cabinet. Commonly compared to the level of safety observed
in a dentist’s office.
Bio Safety Level 3 (BSL3) For work with microbes that are either indigenous or exotic,
and that can cause serious or potentially lethal disease through
respiratory transmission. Respiratory transmission is the
inhalation route of exposure. Researchers should be under
medical surveillance and potentially immunized for the
microbes they work with. Respirators may be required, in
addition to standard personal protective equipment. Work
must be performed within a biological safety cabinet. Exhaust
air cannot be recirculated, and the laboratory must have
sustained directional airflow by drawing air into the
laboratory from clean areas towards potentially contaminated
areas.
Biosafety Level 4 (BSL4) This is the highest level of biological safety. The microbes in
a BSL-4 lab are dangerous and exotic, posing a high risk of
aerosol-transmitted infections. Infections caused by these
microbes are frequently fatal and without treatment or
vaccines. Researchers must change clothing prior to entering
the lab, shower upon exiting, and decontaminate all materials
before exiting. All work with microbes must be performed in
a Class III biological safety cabinet or while wearing a full
body, air-supplied, positive pressure suit. The lab must be in a
separate building or in a restricted zone, and must have a
dedicated supply and exhaust air, as well as vacuum lines and
decontamination systems.
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Wuhan Institute of Virology
(WIV)
A research institute in Wuhan, PRC focused on focused on
virology, that consists of at least two facilities – the Wuhan
National Biosafety Laboratory and the Wuhan Institute of
Virology Headquarters.”
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Wuhan National Biosafety
Laboratory
The WIV’s new campus, located in the Zhengdian Scientific
Park in Jiangxia District, Wuhan. The location of the WIV’s
Biosafety Level 4 laboratory space.
WIV Headquarters The older WIV facility, located in Wuchang District, Wuhan
near the Wuhan Branch of the Chinese Academies of Science.
Chinese Academy of
Sciences
The national academy for natural sciences in the PRC.
Reports to the State Council of the People’s Republic of
China.
WIV1 The first novel coronavirus isolated by WIV researchers.
Isolated from bat fecal samples in 2013. A SARS like
coronavirus.
WIV16 The second coronavirus isolated by WIV researchers.
Isolated from a single bat fecal sample in 2016. A SARS
like coronavirus.
Rs4874 The third coronavirus isolated by WIV researchers. Isolated from
a single bat fecal sample in 2017. A SARS like coronavirus.
ID4491/RaTG13 A SARS like coronavirus collected in 2013 in a mining cave.
96.1% similar to SARS-CoV-2.
ACE2 Angiotensin-converting enzyme-2, found on the surface of
certain cells in a variety of animals, including humans, mice,
and civets. The entry point for coronaviruses.
hACE2 The human version of ACE2. Primarily found on the surface
of cells and tissues throughout the human body, including the
nose, mouth, and lungs. In the lungs, hACE2 is highly
abundant on type 2 pneumocytes, an important cell type
present in chambers within the lung called alveoli, where
oxygen is absorbed, and waste carbon dioxide is released. The
primary entry point for SARS-CoV-2 into human cells.
Chimeric Virus An artificial, man-made virus. Created by joining two or more
viral fragments.
Natural Virus A virus found in nature; “wild type.”
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GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Reverse Genetics System A method in molecular genetics that is used to help
understand the function(s) of a gene by analyzing the
phenotypic effects caused by genetically engineering specific
nucleic acid sequences within the gene. Can be used to create
chimeric viruses indistinguishable from natural viruses.
Furin Cleavage Site An enzyme in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 that increases
how infectious the virus is in humans. SARS-CoV-2 is the
only betacoronavirus to have this structure.
Phylogenetic Analysis The study of the evolutionary development of a species or a
group of organisms or a particular characteristic of an
organism. Used to identify the relationship between different
viruses in the same family.
CGG Double Codon “CGG-CGG.” This group of six nucleotides (a group of three
nucleotides is also know as a codon) is half of the 12
nucleotides that create the furin cleavage site. The CGG
double codon is relatively rare in coronaviruses, and SARSCoV-2 is the only coronavirus in its family to have one.
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KEY PEOPLE
Dr. Wang Yanyi
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Director General of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Dr. Yuan Zhiming Director of the WNBL BSL-4 lab. General Secretary of the
Chinese Communist Party Committee within the Wuhan
Branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to which the
WIV belongs.
Dr. Shi Zheng-li Senior scientist as the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
Serves as Director, Research Center for Emerging Infectious
Diseases; Director, Chinese Academy of Sciences Key
Laboratory of Special Pathogens; Director, Biosafety Working
Committee; and Deputy Director of the Wuhan National
Biosafety Laboratory’s Biosafety-Level 4 lab.
Dr. Ben Hu WIV researcher and former doctoral student of Shi Zheng-li.
Deeply involved in the WIV’s coronavirus research.
Dr. Linfa Wang PRC national, Director and Professor of the Program in
Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Duke-NUS Graduate
Medical School in Singapore. Chair of the Scientific Advisory
Board for the Center for Emerging Diseases at the WIV.
Dr. Peter Daszak CEO of EcoHealth Alliance. Longtime collaborator of Shi and
others at the WIV. Provided subgrants to the WIV to help
fund coronavirus research.
Dr. Ralph Baric Researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
who has collaborated with Shi and other WIV researchers on
coronavirus research.
ADDENDUM TO THE REPORT
I. THE CITY OF WUHAN: EPICENTER OF A PANDEMIC
Wuhan is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. Located in central PRC where the Yangtze
River, the PRC’s longest river, and the Han River meet, Wuhan is the capital city of Hubei Province
and boasts a population of about 11.1 million in about 3,280 square miles. It is home to the PRC’s
tallest skyscrapers, multiple colleges and universities, including the prominent Wuhan University,
major historical and cultural sites, and an influential research laboratory, the Wuhan Institute of
Virology (WIV). To put the scale of Wuhan in perspective, the city covers an area five times the size
of Houston and has a larger population than New York City and Chicago combined.
Wuhan is home to the Hankou railway station, central PRC’s biggest European-style Railway station,
and two other major train stations. Hankou Station connects directly to the Tianhe International
Airport, the busiest airport in central PRC and the geographic center of the PRC’s airport network.
From the Tianhe airport, travelers can fly direct to New York City, San Francisco, Paris, Milan,
Rome, Hamburg, Bangkok, Tokyo, Seoul, and Dubai, among many other destinations around the
world.
The PRC calls Wuhan one of its nine “National Central Cities,” an official state label that means it
leads the way, along with the capital Beijing, Shanghai, and other major cities, in developing culture,
politics, and the economy. An August 2016 report by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, a
government agency that operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate
Policy, identified Wuhan as a major hub not just within the PRC, but also globally within the Chinese
“One Belt One Road” initiative due to its accessibility. The city is also home to significant railway
commerce. A 2018 report from Xinhua news expected an estimated 500 freight trains from Wuhan to
Europe for the export of goods.
France, the U.S., the Republic of Korea, and the UK maintain Consulates in the city, which was
selected to host the 7th International Military Sports Council (CISM) Military World Games. During
the games, more than 9,000 military personnel from over 100 countries stayed in Wuhan in
accommodations at an athletes’ village built specifically for the games.
“WHO-convened Global Study of Origins of SARS-CoV-2: China Part.” Joint WHO-China Study. 30 March 2021,
https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus/origins-of-the-virus
Xu, Zongwei. “China Unveils National Central City Strategy.” China Watch, 29 Mar. 2018,
www.chinawatch.cn/a/201803/29/WS5ad061d6a310cc9200067c6c.html.
Van de Bovenkamp, Judith and Yuan Fei. “Economic Overview of Hubei Province.” Neatherlands Business Support Of ice Wuhan,
Aug. 2016, https://www.rvo.nl/sites/default/files/2016/08/Economic-overview-Hubei-province-China.pdf
“Central China-Europe Rail Freight to Surge in 2018.” Xinhua, 1 Feb. 2018. http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2018-
02/01/content_50372222.htm
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II. EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK
As discussed in the previously issued report, the WIV continues to be a focal point of debate
concerning the origins of SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent months, new
information about the WIV has come to light, enabling us to better understand the institute, the type
of research conducted by scientists working there, and its ties to the CCP and their military, the
People’s Liberation Army (PLA). We now believe the preponderance of evidence shows the virus
accidentally leaked from one of the WIV’s facilities.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology
The WIV was founded in 1956 as the Wuhan Microbiology Laboratory and has operated under the
administration of the Chinese Academy of Sciences since 1978. The institute currently occupies at
least two campuses – the much-discussed Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory (WNBL) in
Zhengdian Scientific Park (see Figure 1), and the older facility (hereafter WIV Headquarters) located
in the Xiaohongshan park in the Wuchang District of Wuhan (see Figure 2). The WNBL is a large
complex with multiple buildings that house 20 Biosafety Level II (BSL-2) laboratories, two Biosafety
Level III (BSL-3) laboratories, and 3000 square meters of Biosafety Level IV (BSL-4) space,
“including four independent laboratories areas and two animal suites.” Construction was completed
in 2015, but due to delays the BSL-4 space did not become operational until early 2018.
Fig. 1: Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory (WNBL)
Missing from the majority of public debates regarding the WIV is the research conducted at the WIV
Headquarters, the older location in the Wuchang District of Wuhan. Located 12 miles northeast of the
WNBL, in the Wuchang District, this facility remains the administrative headquarters of the WIV. In
addition to the BSL-2 labs at this location, the WIV constructed a BSL-3 laboratory at the facility in
2003.
“History.” Wuhan Institute of Virology, http://english.whiov.cas.cn/About_Us2016/History2016/.
World Health Organization. “WHO Consultative Meeting on High/Maximum Containment (Biosafety Level 4) Laboratories
Networking.” Meeting Report, Lyon, France, 13-15 Dec. 2018. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/311625/WHO-WHECPI-2018.40-eng.pdf
Zhiming, Yuan. “Current status and future challenges of high-level biosafety laboratories in China.” Journal of Biosafety and
Biosecurity, 1 Sept. 2019, 1(2): 123-127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jobb.2019.09.005
Zheng Qianli, “Jiang Xia plays new essays and plays Yoko on the crane——The construction and research team of P4 laboratory of
Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.” Chinese Journal of Science, 1 Jan. 2018,
https://archive.is/V3GHk#selection-517.35-517.202
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EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK
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According to the WIV’s website, Shi Zheng-li serves as the Director of the WIV’s Research Center
for Emerging Infectious Diseases, the Deputy Director of the WNBL BSL-4 lab, the Director of the
BSL-3 lab, and the Director of the Biosafety Working Committee. Shi is also the Director of the
Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens and Biosafety, which
includes the majority of scientists who are conducting gain-of-function research on coronaviruses at
the WIV.
It should be noted that the WIV has a Chinese Communist Party Committee within the institute, as
well as a Commission for Discipline Inspection. The Party Committee is divided into four party
branches, which are then divided into subbranches organized around the individual WIV
departments, research centers, and offices. Each subbranch has its own Propaganda Committee.
Committee Minority Staff were able to identify eight WIV researchers on these committees,
including several who are affiliated with the Key Laboratory that Shi directs.
“Shi Zhingli.” Wuhan Institute of Virology,
http://www.whiov.cas.cn/sourcedb_whiov_cas/zw/rck/200907/t20090718_2100074.html
“Prof. SHI Zhengli elected a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.” Wuhan Institute of Virology,
http://english.whiov.cas.cn/ne/201903/t20190308_206697.html
“Party Branch.” Wuhan Institute of Virology, http://www.whiov.cas.cn/djkxwh/dqzz/dzb/
Wang Q, et. al. “Structural Basis for RNA Replication by the SARS-CoV-2 Polymerase.” Cell, 23 July 2020, 182(2):417-428.e13,
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32526208/
Zhang, Xiaowei et al. “Tick-borne encephalitis virus induces chemokine RANTES expression via activation of IRF-3 pathway.” Journal
of Neuroinflammation, 30 Aug. 2016, 13(1):209. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27576490/
It was here, in the center of Wuhan, that Dr. Shi Zheng-li and her team conducted gain-of-function
research on coronaviruses in the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fig. 2: WIV Headquarters in Wuchang
WIV Researcher Lab Affiliation Propaganda Committee
EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK
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Liu Qiaojiue Key Laboratory of Special
Pathogens and Biosafety
Party Branch of Research
Center for Emerging
Infectious Diseases
Zhang Xiaowei Key Laboratory of Special
Pathogens and Biosafety and Key
Laboratory of Virology
Party Branch of the
Research Center for
Microbiology and
Nanobiology
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Shen Xurui Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens
and Biosafety
Graduate Party Branch of the
Research Center for Emerging
Infectious Diseases
Tang Shuang State Key Laboratory of Virology Party Branch of the Research
Center for Microbial
Resources and Bioinformatics
Wu Yan State Key Laboratory of Virology Party Branch of Molecular
Virus and Pathology
Research Center
He Lihong State Key Laboratory of Virology Party Branch of the Research
Center for Microbial
Resources and
Bioinformatics
Wang Qingxing State Key Laboratory of Virology Graduate Party Branch of the
Research Center for
Molecular Viruses
and Pathology
Yang Mengsi State Key Laboratory of Virology Graduate Party Branch of the
Research Center of
Microbiology and
Nanobiology
Table 1: WIV Researchers on CCP Propaganda Committees
The Committee for Discipline Inspection is charged with “the implementation of the party’s line, policy,
party discipline, relevant laws and regulations, and the institute’s rules and regulations.”
In addition to the researchers serving on propaganda committees, other key figures at the WIV also
serve as CCP officials. Dr. Wang Yanyi serves as the Director of the WIV and joined the China Zhi
Gong Party, a CCP controlled minority party, in 2010. In 2018, the same year she became the Director
General of the WIV, she was elected the Deputy Director of the Wuhan Municipal Party Committee.
EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK
Zhou, Peng et al. “A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin.” Nature March 2020, 579(7798): 270-
273. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32015507/
Abudurexiti, Abulikemu, et al. “Taxonomy of the order Bunyavirales: update 2019.” Archives of Virology, July 2019, 164(7): 1949-1965.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31065850/
Su, Hai-Xia et al. “Anti-SARS-CoV-2 activities in vitro of Shuanghuanglian preparations and bioactive ingredients.” Acta Pharmacologica
Sinica, September 2020, 41(9): 1167-1177. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32737471/
Shao, Wei et al. “Functional Characterization of the Group I Alphabaculovirus Specific Gene ac73.” Virologica Sinica, Dec. 2019, 34(6):
701-711. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31317397/
Su, Haixia et al. “Identification of pyrogallol as a warhead in design of covalent inhibitors for the SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease.” Nature
Communications, 15 June 2021, (2(1): 3623. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34131140/
Zhang, Juan, et. al. “Passive cancer targeting with a viral nanoparticle depends on the stage of tumorigenesis.” Nanoscale, 8 July 2021,
13(26):11334-11342, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34165123/
“Commission for Discipline Inspection.” Wuhan Institute of Virology, http://www.whiov.cas.cn/djkxwh/dqzz/jw/
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EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK
Until late 2019, the BSL-4 lab was managed by Dr. Yuan Zhiming. Yuan is the General Secretary of
the Chinese Communist Party Committee within the Wuhan Branch of the Chinese Academy of
Sciences, to which the WIV belongs. Local CCP leaders not only run the WIV itself but also directly
managed the BSL-4 lab.
Director Wang’s 2021 New Year’s speech makes reference to the Party Committee of Wuhan
Institute of Virology, pledging that the party committee will “effectively play the role of a battle
fortress of grassroots party organizations.” The WNBL also has its own party branch, the Zhengdian
Laboratory Party Branch, which was “awarded the title of ‘Red Flag Party Branch’ by the Hubei
Provincial Party Committee and Provincial Organization Working Committee, effectively playing an
advanced and exemplary role.” Notably, in discussing the COVID-19 pandemic, Director Wang’s
2021 speech takes pains to address questions of lab safety – “The institute’s high-level biosafety
laboratory operates safely for more than 300 days throughout the year.” Her 2020 address, posted
sometime after April 2020, makes no such mention.
The WNBL’s BSL-4 lab was constructed as a result of an agreement between the PRC and France
that was signed after the 2003 SARS pandemic. At the time, all BSL-3 labs in the PRC were
controlled by the PRC’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Then-President of France, Jacques Chirac,
and his Prime Minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, approved the project despite concerns from both the
French Ministry of Defense and French intelligence services – Raffarin himself described it as “a
political agreement.” The PRC was suspected of having a biological warfare program, and the
military and intelligence services were worried that the dual-use technology required to build a BSL4 lab could be misused by the PRC government. The uneasy compromise reached within the French
government was that the agreement would require joint PRC-France research to be conducted in the
lab, with French researchers present.
In 2016, the PRC requested dozens of the containment suits required to work in the lab. The French
Dual-Use Commission, tasked with considering exports of sensitive equipment, rejected their request.
According to French reporting, the request was “well above the needs of the Wuhan [lab].” This
continued to fuel concerns within the French Ministry of Defense that the PRC was seeking to
engage in military research or open a second BSL-4 lab for military means. Despite the
agreement that the BSL-4 lab would be a site of joint research, and an announcement at the 2017
inauguration by then Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve of €5 million in funding, there has only been
one French scientist assigned to the lab. His tour ended in 2020.
Izambard, Antoine. “L’histoire Secrète Du Laboratoire P4 De Wuhan Vendu Par La France à La Chine.” Challenges, 30 Apr. 2020
www.challenges.fr/entreprise/sante-et-pharmacie/revelations-l-histoire-secrete-du-laboratoire-p4-de-wuhan-vendu-par-la-france-a-lachine_707425.
“New Year’s Speech by the Director in 2021.” Wuhan Institute of Virology, http://www.whiov.cas.cn/gkjj/szzc_160220/
“New Year’s Message from the Director in 2020.” Wuhan Institute of Virology,
https://web.archive.org/web/20200701032318/http://www.whiov.cas.cn/gkjj/szzc_160220/
Ibid.
“About WIV.” Wuhan Institute of Virology, http://english.whiov.cas.cn/About_Us2016/Brief_Introduction2016/.
Izambard, Antoine. “L’histoire Secrète Du Laboratoire P4 De Wuhan Vendu Par La France à La Chine.” Challenges, 30 Apr. 2020,
www.challenges.fr/entreprise/sante-et-pharmacie/revelations-l-histoire-secrete-du-laboratoire-p4-de-wuhan-vendu-par-la-france-a-lachine_707425.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Izambard.
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One year later, in June 2019, George Gao, the Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and
Prevention, expressed concerns about safety protocols at the WIV. In an almost prophetic statement
published in Biosafety and Health, Gao wrote (emphasis added):
Advances in biomedical technologies, such as genome editing and synthetic biotechnology, have the
potential to provide new avenues for biological intervention in human diseases. These advances may
also have a positive impact by allowing us to address risks in new approaches. However, the
proliferation of such technologies means they will also be available to the ambitious, careless,
inept, and outright malcontents, who may misuse them in ways that endanger our safety. For
example, while CRISPR-related techniques provide revolutionary solutions for targeted cellular
genome editing, it can also lead to unexpected off-target mutations within genomes or the possibility
of gene drive initiation in humans, animals, insects, and plants. Similarly, genetic modification of
pathogens, which may expand host range as well as increase transmission and virulence, may result in
new risks for epidemics. For example, in 2013, several groups showed that influenza H5N1 viruses
with a few nucleotide mutations and H7N9 isolates reasserted with 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus could
have the ability for airborne transmission between ferrets. Likewise, synthetic bat-origin SARS-like
coronaviruses acquired an increased capability to infect human cells. Thus, modifying the
genomes of animals (including humans), plants, and microbes (including pathogens) must be
highly regulated.
Three months later, in September 2019, Yuan Zhiming, the Director of the BSL-4 lab at the WNBL
and Shi’s superior, published an article in the Journal of Biosafety and Biosecurity.
EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK
Safety Concerns and Unusual Maintenance
There have been several reports of safety concerns at PRC labs starting as early as 2004, when it was
discovered SARS leaked from a lab in Beijing. Several other accidental releases have happened in the
years since.
As discussed in our original report released last year, in 2018 U.S. State Department officials sent
cables to Washington, D.C. highlighting concerns with safety issues at the WIV. The cables reported
that scientists at the WIV noted “a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and
investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory.” The cables also questioned
the PRC’s commitment to prioritizing the important research for which the lab was designed.
18
Fig. 4: Excerpt from January 19, 2018 Cable from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing to
State Department Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Rogin, Josh. “Opinion | State Department Cables Warned of Safety Issues at Wuhan Lab Studying Bat Coronaviruses.” The
Washington Post, 14 Apr. 2020, www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/14/state-department-cables-warned-safety-issues-wuhanlab-studying-bat-coronaviruses/.
Gao, George F. “For a better world: Biosafety strategies to protect global health.” Biosafety and Health, June 2019, 1(1): 1-3.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7147920/
Advances in biomedical technologies, such as genome editing and synthetic biotechnology,
have the potential to provide new avenues for biological intervention in human diseases.
These advances may also have a positive impact by allowing us to address risks in new
approaches. However, the proliferation of such technologies means they will also be
available to the ambitious, careless, inept, and outright malcontents, who may misuse
them in ways that endanger our safety. For example, while CRISPR-related techniques
provide revolutionary solutions for targeted cellular genome editing, it can also lead to
unexpected off-target mutations within genomes or the possibility of gene drive initiation in
humans, animals, insects, and plants. Similarly, genetic modification of pathogens, which
may expand host range as well as increase transmission and virulence, may result in new
risks for epidemics. For example, in 2013, several groups showed that influenza H5N1
viruses with a few nucleotide mutations and H7N9 isolates reasserted with 2009 pandemic
H1N1 virus could have the ability for airborne transmission between ferrets. Likewise,
synthetic bat-origin SARS-like coronaviruses acquired an increased capability to infect
human cells. Thus, modifying the genomes of animals (including humans), plants, and
microbes (including pathogens) must be highly regulated.
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Entitled, “Current status and future challenges of high-level biosafety laboratories in China,” the article
discusses at length the construction of the WNBL. Yuan identifies multiple key issues, including
inadequate biosafety management systems, insufficient resources for efficient laboratory operation, and
deficiency of professional capacity. With a surprising level of transparency, Yuan admits that the
enforcement of pathogen, waste, and laboratory animal management regulations “needs to be
strengthened.” Discussing the insufficient level of resources being provided by the PRC government,
he stated:
Yuan also raised concerns about a lack of specialized biosafety managers and engineers to run the labs.
It is important to note that researchers at the WIV had previously conducted gain-of-function
research on coronaviruses at the BSL-2 and BSL-3 levels. This is important given that both the
head of the China CDC and the head of the WIV’s BSL-4 labs had expressed concern about the
safety of this research and the labs in which it was being conducted.
Interestingly, there appears to have been ongoing maintenance and repairs projects occurring at the
WIV in 2019, before Yuan published his article raising these concerns. It is important to note that at the
time of the hazardous waste treatment system renovation project, the WNBL had been operational for
less than two years. Such a significant renovation so soon after the facility began operation appears
unusual. Procurement announcements published on the PRC’s government procurement website
provide evidence of ongoing work at what appears to be both WIV locations.
EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK
19
Maintenance Project of P3
Laboratory and Laboratory
Animal Center in Zhengdian Park
WNBL March 1, 2019
Project Name Date Budget (USD)
$401,284.10
Procurement of Positive Pressure
Protective Clothing
WNBL March 21, 2019 $177,161.40
Hazardous Waste Treatment System
Renovation Project
WNBL July 31, 2019 $1,521,279.28
Yuan Zhinming. “Current status and future challenges of high-level biosafety laboratories in China.” Journal of Biosafety and Biosecurity,
Sept. 2019, 1(2): 123-127. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2588933819300391#b0080
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
“Announcement of Competitive Consultation on Maintenance Project of P3 Laboratory and Laboratory Animal Center in Zhengdian Park,
Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.” China Government Procurement Network, 1 March 2019,
https://archive.is/7eCPU#selection-229.0-229.185
“Announcement of a single source for the purchase of positive pressure protective clothing project by Wuhan Institute of Virology,
Chinese Academy of Sciences.” China Government Procurement Network, 21 March 2019, https://archive.is/VUcNA#selection-229.0-
229.157
“Announcement on the transaction of the hazardous waste treatment system renovation project in Zhengdian Park, Wuhan Institute of
Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.” China Government Procurement Network, 31 July 2019, https://archive.is/3CW03#selection229.0-229.166
The maintenance cost is generally neglected; several high-level BSLs have insufficient
operational funds for routine yet vital processes. Due to the limited resources, some BSL-3
laboratories run on extremely minimal operational costs or in some cases none at all.
Location
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Procurement Project of The
Environmental Air Disinfection
System and The Scalable Automated
Sample Storage Management System
EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK
20
Unclear August 14, 2019 $132,200,025.47
Security Service Procurement Project WNBL September 12, 2019 $1,281,022.33
Central Air Conditioning
Renovation Project
Unclear September 16, 2019 $606,382,986.11
Table 2: WIV Procurement Projects in 2019
The references to maintenance at the BSL-3 and animal center at the WNBL, the procurement of
an environmental air disinfection system, and renovations to the hazardous waste treatment
system and central air conditioning system all raise questions about how well these systems were
functioning in the months prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The Disappearing Database
On September 12, 2019 the WIV’s online, public database of samples and virus sequences was taken
offline in the middle of the night between 2:00AM and 3:00AM local time. The database contained
more than 22,000 entries consisting of sample and pathogen data collected from bats and mice. The
database contained key information about each sample, including what type of animal it was collected
from, where it was collected, whether the virus was successfully isolated, the type of virus collected,
and its similarity to other known viruses.
“Announcement of winning the bid for the procurement project of the environmental air disinfection system and the scalable automated
sample storage management system of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.” China Government
Procurement Network, 14 Aug. 2019, https://archive.is/1nXLD#selection-229.0-229.228
“Competitive consultation on the procurement project of security services in Zhengdian Science Park, Wuhan Institute of Virology,
Chinese Academy of Sciences.” China Government Procurement Network, 12 Sept. 2019,https://archive.is/tUi75#selection-229.0-
229.156
“Competitive Consultation on Central Air Conditioning Renovation Project of Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of
Sciences.” China Government Procurement Network, 16 Sept. 2019, https://archive.is/bfoTD#selection-229.0-229.131
“The Wuhan Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences plans to use a single-source procurement method to publicize
the procurement of air incineration devices and test service projects.” China Government Procurement Network, 3 Dec. 2019,
https://archive.is/Jifqr#selection-229.0-229.197
“Status breakdown of the database of characteristic wild animals carrying virus pathogens (September 2019).” Scientific Database
Service Monitoring & Statistics System. https://archive.is/AGtFv#selection-1553.0-1567.2
Procurement of Air Incinerator
and Testing Service
Unclear December 3, 2019 $49,388.81
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21
Fig. 6: Example Database Entry
To date, there has been no consistent answer provided as to why the database was removed or when
or if it will be put back online.
Shi is listed as the data correspondence author for the project. When questioned about the database
being taken offline, Shi has given several conflicting answers. During a December 2020 interview
with BBC, Shi said the database was taken offline for “security reasons” after cyberattacks against the
work and personal emails of WIV staff. She also insisted that WIV virus sequences were saved in the
GenBank database, run by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Shi stated, “It’s
completely transparent. We have nothing to hide.”
In a January 26, 2021 email to someone inquiring about the database, however, Shi stated the
database was taken down due to cyberattacks “during [the] COVID-19 pandemic.” She also claimed
that researchers had “only entered a limit[ed] data in this database” despite it having more than
22,000 entries.
“Database of pathogens of bat and murine viruses.” Wikisource, https://zh.wikisource.org/zhhant/%E8%9D%99%E8%9D%A0%E6%BA%90%E5%92%8C%E9%BC%A0%E6%BA%90%E7%97%85%E6%AF%92%E7
%97%85%E5%8E%9F%E6%95%B0%E6%8D%AE%E5%BA%93
Sudworth, John. “Covid: Wuhan Scientist Would ‘Welcome’ Visit Probing Lab Leak Theory.” BBC News, 21 Dec. 2020,
www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-55364445.
Cleary, Tommy. “Prof Zheng-Li Shi Replied to Me, to CNRI,中⽂DOI运维 I Can Only Conclude @PeterDaszak & the
Rest of the @WHO Organisation Were given the Same Information Access Ultimatum:No Trust, No
Conversation.@SciDiplomacyUSA Has Its Work Cut Out.Data Hostage? Pic.twitter.com/KhiFs42U7j.” Twitter, 10 Mar.
2021, https://twitter.com/tommy_cleary/status/1369689088790425602?s=20.
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In an apparent contradiction of her BBC interview, Shi admitted that “access to the visitors is
limited,” but maintains:
…all our work regarding the different type of bat coronavirus (partial sequences or full-length
genome sequences) have been published and the sequence and sample information have been
submitted to GenBank. (49)
At the end of her email, Shi writes, “I’ll not answer any of your questions if your curiosity is based
on the conspiracy of ‘man made or lab leak of SARS-CoV-2’ or some non-sense questions based on
your suspicion. No trust, no conversation” (emphasis added).
Sudworth.
Ibid.
Ibid.
“Yuan Zhiming.” Wuhan Institute of Virology, http://www.whiov.cas.cn/sourcedb_whiov_cas/zw/rck/200907/t20090718_2100080.html
Gertz, Bill. “Chinese Maj. Gen. Chen Wei TAKES Leading Role in Coronavirus Fight.” The Washington Times, 16 Feb. 2020,
www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/feb/16/chinese-maj-gen-chen-wei-takes-leading-role-in-cor/.
Guli. “Major General Chen Wei, China’s Chief Biochemical Weapons Expert, Takes Over Wuhan P4 Virus
Laboratory.” Radio France Internationale, https://www.rfi.fr/cn/%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD/20200208-
%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD%E9%A6%96%E5%B8%AD%E7%94%9F%E5%8C%96%E6%AD%A6%E5%99%A8%E
4%B8%93%E5%AE%B6%E9%99%88%E8%96%87%E5%B0%91%E5%B0%86%E6%8E%A5%E7%AE%A1%E6%AD
%A6%E6%B1%89p4%E7%97%85%E6%AF%92%E5%AE%9E%E9%AA%8C%E5%AE%A4
Honorof, Marshall. “China Marks Tiananmen Massacre with ‘Internet Maintenance Day.’” NBC News, 4 June 2013,
https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna52096871
New Leadership and PLA Involvement
The WIV’s website indicates that Yuan
Zhiming serves as the Dean of the Wuhan
Branch of the Chinese Academy of
Sciences and director of the WNBL BSL-4
lab. However, news posted on Weibo
Douban, a PRC website, on February 7th,
2020 stated that PLA officials were
dispatched to assume control of the
response. The report says PLA Major
General Chen Wei, an expert in biology
and chemical weapon defenses , was
deployed to Wuhan in January 2020
and took control of the WNBL BSL-4
lab. The posting of this information to
Douban is significant given the website’s
history of censoring posts critical of the
CCP, including censoring words related to
the Tiananmen Square Massacre. The
post’s survival on a heavily CCP censored
site confirms its legitimacy.
…all our work regarding the different type of bat coronavirus (partial sequences or
full-length genome sequences) have been published and the sequence and sample
information have been submitted to GenBank.
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Committee Minority Staff have also received testimony from a former senior U.S. official that
Gen. Chen actually took control of the WNBL BSL-4 lab in late 2019, not January 2020 as was
publicly reported. Gen. Chen taking over part of the WIV demonstrates the CCP was concerned
about the activity happening there as news of the virus was spreading. If she took control in 2019, it
would mean the CCP knew about the virus earlier, and that the outbreak began earlier – a topic
discussed further in this section.
Gen. Chen is a researcher at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing, and served as a
delegate to the 12th National People’s Congress. In January 2018, Gen. Chen was made a member of
the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
According to the U.S.-China Economic Security Review Commission, the CPPCC is a “critical
coordinating body that brings together representatives of China’s other interest groups and is led by a
member of China’s highest-level decision-making authority, the CCP’s Politburo Standing
Committee.”
According to a January 15, 2021 fact sheet published by the State Department, in the years leading up
to the pandemic, researchers at the WIV were engaged in classified research, including experiments
on animals, on behalf of the PLA. Dr. Shi has repeatedly denied any involvement of the PLA at the
WIV. During a lecture hosted only by Rutgers Medical School, Shi stated:
We—our work, our research is open, and we have a lot of international collaboration. And from my
knowledge, all our research work is open, is transparency. So, at the beginning of COVID-19, we
heard the rumors that it’s claimed in our laboratory we have some project, blah blah, with army, blah
blah, these kinds of rumors. But this is not correct because I am the lab’s director and responsible for
research activity. I don’t know any kind of research work performed in this lab. This is incorrect
information.
This statement is demonstrably false. The WIV had multiple connections to PLA researchers prior to
the COVID-19 pandemic; several were listed on the WIV’s English language website. The Academic
Committee of State Key Laboratory of Virology at the WIV included a Deputy Director from the
Second Military Medical University and a member from the 302 Military Hospital of China. The
Scientific Advisory Committee for the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases had among its
members a researcher from the Institute of Military Veterinary at the Academy of Military Medical
Sciences. This website was scrubbed on May 28, 2020, and the lists of committee members
removed. However, archived copies of the website are available online.
EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK
23
“List of Deputies to the Twelfth National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China.” Sohu,
http://news.sohu.com/20130227/n367313787.shtml
Bowe, Alexander. “China’s Overseas United Front Work: Background and Implications for the United States.” U.S.-China Economic
and Security Review Commission, 24 Aug. 2018,
https://www.uscc.gov/sites/default/files/Research/China%27s%20Overseas%20United%20Front%20Work%20-
%20Background%20and%20Implications%20for%20US_final_0.pdf
United States, Department of State. “Fact Sheet: Activity at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” 15 Jan. 2021, https://2017-
2021.state.gov/fact-sheet-activity-at-the-wuhan-institute-of-virology/index.html
Eban, Katherine. “The Lab-Leak Theory: Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins.” Vanity Fair, 3 June 2021,
www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/06/the-lab-leak-theory-inside-the-fight-to-uncover-covid-19s-origins.
“Committees.” Wuhan Institute of Virology,
https://web.archive.org/web/20200527045823/http://english.whiov.cas.cn/About_Us2016/Committees/
We—our work, our research is open, and we have a lot of international collaboration. And
from my knowledge, all our research work is open, is transparency. So, at the beginning of
COVID-19, we heard the rumors that it’s claimed in our laboratory we have some project,
blah blah, with army, blah blah, these kinds of rumors. But this is not correct because I am the
lab’s director and responsible for research activity. I don’t know any kind of research work
performed in this lab. This is incorrect information.
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EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK
Fig. 3: Archived Versions of the WIV Committees Page
This raises the obvious question of why Shi, who served on one of the committees, would lie about
military researchers working with the WIV. Her denial and the scrubbing of the website appear to
be obvious attempts to obfuscate the PLA’s involvement with the WIV.
Geospatial Analysis of Traffic Patterns at Wuhan Hospitals Near the WIV
Around the time the WIV’s virus database went offline, car traffic at hospitals in downtown Wuhan
began to increase. Researchers from Boston University School of Public Health, Boston Children’s
Hospital, and Harvard Medical School used satellite imagery to examine parking lot volume of
hospitals in Wuhan for the two and a half years prior to December 2019. They found that five of six
hospitals analyzed had the highest relative daily volume of cars in the parking lot in September and
October 2019, before the first reported cases of COVID-19.
24
EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK
Fig. 7: Time-series of Dif erent Influenza-like Illnesses, Symptoms and Surveillance signals
This peak corresponded with an increase in searches for “cough” and “diarrhea” in Wuhan on Baidu,
a Chinese search engine. According to the CDC, both cough and diarrhea are symptoms of COVID19. This study suggests a virus with similar symptoms as COVID-19 was circulating in Wuhan in
September and October.
The Initial Outbreak’s Proximity to the WIV
When people get sick, they are likely to seek healthcare near their home or work. Each of the
hospitals that saw a rise in traffic with patients complaining of COVID-19 symptoms are located
within 6.5 miles of the WIV Headquarters and are connected by public transit lines. The below map
shows the location of the WIV Headquarters (in red) and the six hospitals (in blue) which
experienced increase vehicle traffic in September and October 2019. When plotted on a map, these
six hospitals are clustered around the WIV Headquarters in Wuchang, Wuhan, and are connected to
that facility via the Wuhan Metro – various lines are shown in black, yellow, pink, and green on the
map. The pink line represents Line 2, whose daily passenger volume exceeded one million trips in
2017.
25
Nsoesie, Elaine Okanyene, et. al. “Analysis of hospital traffic and search engine data in Wuhan China indicates early disease activity in
the Fall of 2019 (2020).” Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard, 2020. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42669767
“Symptoms of COVID-19.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptomstesting/symptoms.html
Nsoesie
“Wuhan Metro is bursting with passengers, breaking records for two consecutive days.” 5 April 2017,
https://web.archive.org/web/20170825184909/http://ctjb.cnhubei.com/html/ctjb/20170405/ctjb3089625.html
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Map 1: Harvard Study Hospitals in Relation to the WIV Headquarters
It is also important to note, according to an Australian scientist who worked in the BSL-4 lab, a daily
shuttle bus transfers WIV researchers from the Wuhan Branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
to the WNBL facility and back again. According to public mapping data, the shuttle pick up and
drop off point is less than 500 meters from the WIV Headquarters. As such, it is likely that
researchers from both the WIV Headquarters, as well as the WNBL, used the Wuhan metro and/or
the WNBL shuttle bus, as part of their daily work commute.
Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude, based on the WIV’s extensive sample library and
history of genetically manipulating coronaviruses, that in early September, one or more
researchers became infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the lab and carried it out into the city. Based
on the WIV’s publications, researchers could have been exposed while experimenting with a
natural virus collected from the wild or infected with a virus they genetically manipulated.
Those researchers likely traveled to and from the WIV via the Wuhan metro or via the shuttle service,
providing a vector for the virus to spread. This corresponds with the first signs of a growing wave of
ill people in Wuhan centered around the WIV’s Wuchang facility.
The 2019 Military World Games and Sick Athletes
The 7th International Military Sports Council Military World Games (MWGs) opened in Wuhan on
October 18, 2019. The games are similar to the Olympic games but consist of military athletes with
some added military disciplines. The MWGs in Wuhan drew 9,308 athletes, representing 109
countries, to compete in 329 events across 27 sports. Twenty-five countries sent delegations of more
than 100 athletes, including Russia, Brazil, France, Germany, and Poland.
Cortez, Michelle Fay. “The Last—And Only—Foreign Scientist in the Wuhan Lab Speaks Out.” Bloomberg, 27 June 2021,
www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-06-27/did-covid-come-from-a-lab-scientist-at-wuhan-institute-speaks-out.
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65 “Military Games to Open Friday in China.” China Daily, 17 Oct. 2019, www.china.org.cn/sports/2019-
10/17/content_75311946.htm.
EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK
The PRC government recruited 236,000 volunteers for the games, which required 90 hotels, three
railroad stations, and more than 2,000 drivers. An archived version of the competition’s website
from October 20, 2019, lists the more than thirty venues that hosted events for the MWGs across
Wuhan and the broader Hubei province. The live website is no longer accessible – it is unclear why
it was removed.
During the games, many of the international athletes became sick with what now appear to be
symptoms of COVID-19. In one interview, an athlete from Luxembourg described Wuhan as a
“ghost town,” and recalls having his temperature taken upon arriving at the city’s airport. In an
interview with The Financial Post, a Canadian newspaper, one member of the Canadian Armed
Forces who participated in the games said (emphasis added):
“2019 Military World Games Kicks off in Central China’s Wuhan.” CISION, 17 Oct. 2019, www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/2019-military-worldgames-kicks-off-in-central-chinas-wuhan-300940464.html.
“Competition Venues.” Wuhan 2019 Military World Games,
https://web.archive.org/web/20191020154108/en.wuhan2019mwg.cn/html/Competition_venues/.
Houston, Michael. “More athletes claim they contracted COVID-19 at Military World Games in Wuhan.” Inside the Games, 17 May 2020,
https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1094347/world-military-games-illness-covid-19
Francis, Diane. “Diane Francis: Canadian Forces Have Right to Know If They Got COVID at the 2019 Military World Games in Wuhan.” Financial
Post, 25 June 2021, https://financialpost.com/diane-francis/diane-francis-canadian-forces-have-right-to-know-if-they-got-covid-at-the-2019-militaryworld-games-in-wuhan.
Ibid.
Houston.
Liao, George. “Coronavirus May Have Been Spreading since Wuhan Military Games Last October.” Taiwan News, 13 May 2020,
www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3932712.
[I got] very sick 12 days after we
arrived, with fever, chills, vomiting,
insomnia.… On our flight to come
home, 60 Canadian athletes on the
flight were put in isolation [at the
back of the plane] for the 12-hour
flight. We were sick with symptoms
ranging from coughs to diarrhea
and in between.
– Canadian Athlete
The service member also revealed his family
members became ill as his symptoms increased, a
development that is consistent with both human-tohuman transmission of a viral infection and
COVID-19. Similar claims about COVID-19 like
symptoms have been made by athletes from
Germany, France, Italy, and Sweden.
By cross referencing the listed MWG venues with
publicly available mapping data, it is possible to
visualize the venues (in black) in relation to the
WIV Headquarters (in red) and the abovementioned hospitals (in blue). The green figures
represent athletes who have publicly expressed
their belief they contracted COVID-19 while in
Wuhan and are mapped at the venues which hosted
the events in which they competed. Some of these
athletes resided in the military athletes’ village.
27
This was a city of 15 million people that was in lockdown. It was strange, but we were
told this was to make it easy for the Games’ participants to get around. [I got] very sick
12 days after we arrived, with fever, chills, vomiting, insomnia.… On our flight to come
home, 60 Canadian athletes on the flight were put in isolation [at the back of the plane]
for the 12-hour flight. We were sick with symptoms ranging from coughs to diarrhea
and in between.
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1. Italy. In February 2021, researchers from Italy published a research letter in the CDC’s
Emerging Infectious Diseases journal describing a case involving a 4-year-old boy from Milan. A
retrospective analysis of samples taken in 2019 identified the boy, who developed a cough on
November 21, 2019, as having been infected with SARS-CoV-2 three months before Italy’s first
reported case. The boy had no reported travel history.
2. Brazil. A March 2021 article by researchers in Brazil examined wastewater samples from
October to December 2019. Previous studies have confirmed that humans infected with the virus
can experience prolonged viral shedding via their gastrointestinal tract. A sample from
November 27th tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA, confirming the virus was circulating in
Santa Catarina, Brazil months before January 21, 2020, when the first case in the Americas was
reported.
3. Sweden. Sweden’s Public Health Agency said it is likely that individuals in the country were
infected with SARS-CoV-2 as early as November 2019.
Amendola, Antonella¸ et. al. “Evidence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in an Oropharyngeal Swab Specimen, Milan, Italy, Early December
2019.” Emerging Infectious Diseases, Feb. 2021, 27(2). https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2702.204632
Fongaro, Gislaine et al. “The presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in human sewage in Santa Catarina, Brazil, November 2019.” The
Science of the Total Environment, 8 March 2021, 778: 146198. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.scitotenv.2021.146198
“Coronavirus May Have Arrived in Sweden in November: Public Health Agency.” The Local, 5 May 2020,
www.thelocal.se/20200505/the-coronavirus-may-have-arrived-in-sweden-in-november/.
EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK
Map 2: WIV Headquarters, Hospitals, MWG Venues, and Sick Athletes
28
At least four countries who sent delegations to the MWGs have now confirmed the presence of
SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 cases within their borders in November and December 2019, before the
news of an outbreak first became public.
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4. France. Researchers in France also re-tested samples from late 2019 in an effort to identify early
COVID-19 cases. They identified a 42-year-old male who presented to the emergency room on
December 27th with an influenza-like illness. He had no connection to the PRC and no recent travel
history. Upon re-testing, the patient’s samples were positive for SARS-CoV-2. It should be noted that
one of his children also had similar symptoms before the man became sick, suggesting that the first
case in France was likely earlier than December 27th.
As stated above, athletes from France, Italy, and Sweden also complained of illnesses with symptoms
similar to COVID-19 while at the MWGs in Wuhan. The presence of SARS-CoV-2 in four
countries, on two separate continents, suggests a common source. If, as presumed, SARS-CoV-2
first infected humans in Wuhan before spreading to the rest of the world, the 2019 Military
World Games in Wuhan appears to be a key vector in the global spread – it other words,
potentially one of the first “super spreader” events.
Conclusion
While much of the public debate was initially focused on the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan as the
origin of the pandemic, the preponderance of evidence now suggests that the virus leaked from the
Wuhan Institute of Virology. Given the WIV’s demonstrated history of conducting gain-of-function
experiments on coronaviruses, including genetically manipulating viruses specifically to make them
infectious to humans in BSL-2 labs, as well as their possession of one of the world’s largest
collections of coronaviruses, it is completely plausible that one or more researcher(s) was
accidentally infected and carried the virus out of the lab. The evidence outlined above, combined the
cover-up conducted CCP authorities, strongly suggest the Wuhan Institute of Virology as the source
of the current pandemic.
III. EVIDENCE OF GENETIC MODIFICATION
Deslandes, A et al. “SARS-CoV-2 was already spreading in France in late December 2019.” International Journal of Antimicrobial
Agents, 3 May 2020, 55(6): 106006. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.ijantimicag.2020.106006
Stahl, Lesley. “What Happened In WUHAN? Why Questions Still Linger on the Origin of the Coronavirus.” CBS News, 28 Mar.
2021, www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-19-wuhan-origins-60-minutes-2021-03-28/.
29
The other topic of debate is whether the virus could
have been genetically modified. The WIV was
conducting gain-of-function research on
coronaviruses and testing them against human
immune systems in the months leading up to the
emergence of SARS-CoV-2, however the scientific
community has claimed it is not possible it was
anything but a naturally occurring virus. But, as this
report lays out, we believe it is a viable hypothesis
that the virus could have been modified.
EVIDENCE OF GENETIC MODIFICAITON
“You can engineer a virus
without leaving any trace.
The answers you are looking
for, however, can only be
found in the archives of the
Wuhan laboratory.”
– Dr. Ralph Baric
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4. France. Researchers in France also re-tested samples from late 2019 in an effort to identify
early COVID-19 cases. They identified a 42-year-old male who presented to the emergency
room on December 27th with an influenza-like illness. He had no connection to the PRC and no
recent travel history. Upon re-testing, the patient’s samples were positive for SARS-CoV-2. It
should be noted that one of his children also had similar symptoms before the man became sick,
suggesting that the first case in France was likely earlier than December 27th.76
the form of grants from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), National Institutes
of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID).
Beginning in 2005, and continuing over the next 16 years, Shi and Daszak have collaborated on
coronavirus research. Together, they “led dozens of expeditions to caves full of bats, to collect
samples and analyze them.” They have identified more than 500 novel coronaviruses, including
roughly 50 related to SARS or MERS, and they have repeatedly engaged in gain-of-function
research on coronaviruses designed to make them more infectious in humans. As discussed
below, the vast majority of the most relevant scientific publications that have emerged from the
WIV regarding coronaviruses was conducted with funding provided by Peter Daszak through
EcoHealth Alliance.
30
The WIV’s work on bat
coronaviruses dates back to the
aftermath of SARS in the early
2000s. Shi met Peter Daszak, an
American citizen, in 2004 during an
effort to find the origins of the 2002
SARS pandemic. Daszak is the
CEO of EcoHealth Alliance, a New
York-based NGO that funds
scientific research around the
world. For the last year and a half,
questions have been raised about
how and why EcoHealth Alliance
provided the WIV with U.S.
taxpayer dollars. Those funds were
provided to EcoHealth Alliance in
Research Regarding SARS Like Coronaviruses from 2004-2017
Article and Publication: “Bats Are Natural Reservoirs of SARS-Like Coronaviruses,” in
Science (2005).
Participants: Li Wendog, primary author; Shi, second author and one of three corresponding
authors; Peter Daszag; additional scientists from Australia and China.
Funding: The paper was supported in part by funding from the PRC government, who provided
a special grant for Animal Reservoirs of SARS-CoV from the State Key Program for Basic
Research (grant no. 2005CB523004) and the State High Technology Development Program
(grant no. 2005AA219070) from the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Zaugg, Julie. “In Wuhan with Bat Woman, at the origins of the Covid-19.” L’Illustre, 22 Jan. 2021, https://www.illustre.ch/magazine/a-wuhanavec-bat-woman-aux-origines-du-covid-19
Ibid.
Ibid.
EVIDENCE OF GENETIC MODIFICAITON
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Purpose: The scientists hoped to identify the origins of SARS by identifying species of bats
which are a natural host for SARS-like coronaviruses.
Conclusion: “These findings on coronaviruses, together with data on henipaviruses (23–25, 28),
suggest that genetic diversity exists among zoonotic viruses in bats, increasing the possibility of
variants crossing the species barrier and causing outbreaks of disease in human populations. It is
therefore essential that we enhance our knowledge and understanding of reservoir host
distribution, animal-animal and human-animal interaction (particularly within the wet-market
system), and the genetic diversity of bat-borne viruses to prevent future outbreaks.”
Relevance: This conclusion would drive the next fifteen years of collaboration between the WIV
and Peter Daszak, with Shi directing the laboratory work.
Article and Publication: “Difference in Receptor Usage between Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome (SARS) Coronavirus and SARS-Like Coronavirus of Bat Origin” in Journal of
Virology.
Participants: WIV researchers and Linfa Wang. Shi is listed as the corresponding author.
Funding: This work was funded by the PRC government and grants from Australia and the
European Commission.
Purpose: This study focused on the receptors used by the spike protein of SARS-like
coronaviruses, which are the major surface structures that enable coronaviruses to bind to
receptors on cells. To test this, researchers created multiple chimeric viruses by inserting different
sequences of the SARS-CoV spike protein into the spike protein of the SARS-like virus being
examined, and tested them against bat, civet, and human ACE2 expressing cells.
Conclusion: One of these chimeric viruses was able to enter cells through the human ACE2
receptor. ACE2 is an abbreviation for angiotensin converting enzyme-2, which is a protein found
on the surface of cells and tissues throughout the human body,
31
Ibid.
Wang L-F, Shi Z, Zhang S, Field H, Daszak P, Eaton BT. “Review of bats and SARS.” Emerg Infect Dis, Dec. 2006; 12(12): 1834-1840.,
http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid1212.060401
Cui J, et. al. “Evolutionary relationships between bat coronaviruses and their hosts.” Emerg Infect Dis., Oct. 2007; 13(10):1526-32.
https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/13/10/07-0448_article
EVIDENCE OF GENETIC MODIFICAITON
It was also funded by the U.S. government, through the NIH and NSF, who provided funding in
the form of an ‘Ecology of Infectious Diseases’’ award (no. R01-TW05869) from the John E.
Fogarty International Center and the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation.
In 2006, Shi and Daszak collaborated with a researcher in Australia to publish “Review of bats and
SARS” in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a peer-reviewed journal published monthly by the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shi was again listed as the second author, and the work
was funded by the same PRC and NIH/NSF grants referenced above. The following year, these
grants supported the publication of “Evolutionary Relationships between Bat Coronaviruses and
Their Hosts” in Emerging Infectious Diseases. Shi is listed as the sixth author, followed by another
WIV researcher, and Peter Daszak is listed as one of two corresponding authors.
In 2007, Shi and several other WIV researchers joined additional scientists in publishing another
paper on coronaviruses.
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including the nose, mouth, and lungs. “In the lungs, ACE2 is highly abundant on type 2
pneumocytes, an important cell type present in chambers within the lung called alveoli, where
oxygen is absorbed and waste carbon dioxide is released.” ACE2 is also the location where
SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein binds to human cells. Researchers concluded that “a minimal insert
region” is “sufficient to convert the SL-COV S [SARS-like coronavirus spike protein] from nonACE2 binding to human ACE2 binding.”
Relevance: In other words, WIV researchers were able to take a SARS-like coronavirus that
does not infect humans and modify it so it was able to do so. Also importantly, this work was
done under BSL-2 conditions.
Article and Publication: “Isolation and characterization of a bat SARS-like coronavirus that
uses the ACE2 receptor” in Nature.
Participants: WIV and EcoHealth researchers, including Hu,. Shi, Daszak, and Wang who are
credited for designing the experiments. Shi and Daszak listed as corresponding authors.
Funding: The study was funded by grants from the PRC government (including grant no.
2013FY113500), as well as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
(no. R01AI079231), a NIH/NSF “Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases” award (no.
R01TW005869), an award from the NIH Fogarty International Center supported by International
Influenza Funds from the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human
Services (no. R56TW009502), and USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT program.
Purpose: This work marked “the first recorded isolation of a live SL-CoV” [SARS-live
coronavirus], which researchers isolated from bat fecal samples and named WIV1. Additionally,
they identified two novel bat coronaviruses (SCH014 and Rs3367) and reported “the first
identification of a wild-type bat SL-CoV capable of using ACE2 as an entry receptor.”
Conclusion: “Finally, this study demonstrates the public health importance of pathogen
discovery programs targeting wildlife that aim to identify the ‘known unknowns’—previously
unknown viral strains closely related to known pathogens. These programs, focused on specific
high-risk wildlife groups and hotspots of disease emergence, may be a critical part of future
global strategies to predict, prepare for, and prevent pandemic emergence.”
Relevance: By isolating a wild-type (common strain in nature) SARS-like coronavirus that binds
to ACE2, and testing it in human lung tissue, the authors proved that bat coronaviruses are
capable of infecting humans directly, without having to pass through an intermediate host.
32
Sriram, Krishna, et al. “What Is the ACE2 Receptor, How Is It Connected to Coronavirus and Why Might It Be Key to Treating
COVID-19? The Experts Explain.” The Conversation, 25 May 2021,
https://theconversation.com/what-is-the-ace2-receptor-how-is-it-connected-to-coronavirus-and-why-might-it-be-key-to-treating-covid19-the-experts-explain-136928.
Ren.
Ge, Xing-Yi et al. “Isolation and characterization of a bat SARS-like coronavirus that uses the ACE2 receptor.” Nature, 30 Oct. 2013,
503(7477): 535-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5389864/
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
EVIDENCE OF GENETIC MODIFICAITON
Relevance: In other words, WIV researchers were able to take a SARS-like coronavirus that
does not infect humans and modify it so it was able to do so. Also importantly, this work was
done under BSL-2 conditions.
Shi and Daszak do not appear as coauthors on a paper again until 2013.
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In 2014, Shi and Daszak coauthored two more joint WIV-EcoHealth Alliance papers. The lead author
for one of the papers, entitled “Detection of diverse novel astroviruses from small mammals in
China,” was Ben Hu, a WIV researcher who was a coauthor of earlier Shi/Daszak papers. Shi is listed
as the corresponding author, and the paper was again jointly funded by the PRC government
(including grant no. 2013FY113500) and USAID’s PREDICT program.
The next year, in 2015, Shi provided Ralph Baric and other researchers at the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill with spike protein sequences and plasmids of SCH014, one of the viruses Shi,
Daszak, and WIV researchers identified in bat feces samples in 2013. American researchers used
those samples to create “a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a
mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone.” In other words, they removed the spike protein from
SHC014 and inserted it into a SARS coronavirus that was genetically manipulated to better
infect mice. This work was done under BSL-3 conditions. The newly created virus was then shown
to bind to ACE2 in humans, replicate “efficiently” in primary human airways cells, and withstand
antibodies and vaccines. Researchers concluded that the work “suggests a potential risk of SARSCoV re-emergence from viruses currently circulating in bat populations.” This research was funded
by NIAID and the NIH under multiple awards (nos. U19AI109761, U19AI107810, AI085524,
F32AI102561, K99AG049092, DK065988), USAID’s PREDICT program via EcoHealth Alliance,
and the PRC government. Baric was the corresponding author.
2015 also saw the publication of another Shi/Hu/Wang/Daszak paper. Entitled “Isolation and
Characterization of a Novel Bat Coronavirus Closely Related to the Direct Progenitor of Severe
Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus,” it was published in the Journal of Virology. Nine of the
twelve authors were WIV researchers, including Hu and Shi, who was the corresponding author. Here
the WIV reported the successful isolation of a second novel coronavirus, WIV16. The SARS-like
coronavirus was isolated from a single sample of bat fecal matter collected in Kunming, Yunnan
Province of the PRC in July 2013. Like previous papers, this work was supported by a NIAID grant
(no. R01AI110964) and by grants from the PRC government (including grant no. 2013FY113500).
In addition to her aforementioned work with researchers at UNC Chapel Hill, Shi also provided them
with additional bat coronavirus sequences and plasmid of WIV1’s spike protein. The resulting paper,
“SARS-like WIV1-CoV poised for human emergence,” was published in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America in March 2016. While neither Shi nor
Daszak (nor any WIV researcher) are listed as coauthors, Baric was the corresponding author.
33
Hu, Ben, et. al. “Detection of diverse novel astroviruses from small mammals in China.” J Gen Virol. Nov 2014, 95(Pt 11): 2442-2449.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25034867/
Menachery, Vineet, et. al. “A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence.” Nat Med, 9
Nov. 2015, 21:1508–1513. https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.3985
Menachery
Ibid.
Ibid.
Yang, Xing-Lou et al. “Isolation and Characterization of a Novel Bat Coronavirus Closely Related to the Direct Progenitor of Severe
Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus.” Journal of Virology, 30 Dec. 2015, 90(6): 3253-6.
https://dx.doi.org/10.1128%2FJVI.02582-15
EVIDENCE OF GENETIC MODIFICAITON
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This paper is significant because the authors discuss moving from disease surveillance to
creating chimeric viruses as a means of pandemic preparedness; “this manuscript describes
efforts to extend surveillance beyond sequence analysis, constructing chimeric and full-length
zoonotic coronaviruses to evaluate emergence potential.”
During this work, researchers produced chimeric viruses created by inserting the spike protein from
WIV1 into a strain of SARS-CoV adapted to infecting mice. They subsequently tested this chimeric
virus in human airway epithelial cells as well as in mice. In addition to standard BALB/c mice (a
strain of albino, lab-breed house mice used in experimentation ), researchers genetically manipulated
the mice to create a strain of mice expressing the human ACE2 (hACE2) receptor. While hACE2 was
found primarily in the lungs of the mice, it was also present in the brain, liver, kidneys, and
gastrointestinal tract. The WIV1 chimeric virus was then tested in these hACE2 expressing mice,
proving that the chimeric virus could infect humans. This work was funded by NIAID and NIH
awards (nos. U19AI109761, U19AI107810, AI1085524, F32AI102561, K99AG049092, DK065988,
AI076159, and AI079521).
In 2016, Shi and Daszak also coauthored two additional papers focused on infectious diseases that
year. One, entitled “Bat Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Like Coronavirus WIV1 Encodes an
Extra Accessory Protein, ORFX, Involved in Modulation of the Host Immune Response,” was
coauthored by Wang and represents a major step forward in the WIV’s work. While working on this
project, WIV researchers created a reverse genetics system and used it to genetically modify WIV1,
the live coronavirus that was successfully isolated in 2013 and that UNC researchers manipulated
months earlier. WIV researchers created multiple versions of this virus by deleting or adding genetic
information to the virus’ RNA. According to the paper, all experiments with live virus for this paper
were done under BSL-2 conditions, which does not require respirators or biological safety cabinets.
Nine of the eleven authors are WIV researchers, and Shi is the corresponding author. The
experimentation for the paper was supported by a grant from NIAID (no. R01AI110964) and funding
from the PRC government.
The following year, Ben Hu was the lead author of a paper entitled “Discovery of a rich gene pool of
bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus.” As with
previous papers, the overwhelming majority (14 out of 17) of the authors worked at the WIV.
Daszak, Shi, and Wang are all listed as coauthors. Hu is the lead author and Shi is one of two
corresponding authors. Daszak is credited for “funding acquisition.”
Additionally, using the reverse genetics system they debuted the previous year, WIV researchers
created eight separate chimeric viruses by inserting the spike protein of various SARS-like
coronaviruses into WIV1. Two of these chimeric viruses (WIV1-Rs4231S and WIV1-Rs7327S), and
one natural virus, Rs4874, all replicated within hACE2 expressing cells.
34
.
Menachery, Vineet, et al. “SARS-like WIV1-CoV poised for human emergence.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States
of America, 14 March 2016, 113(11): 3048-53. https://dx.doi.org/10.1073%2Fpnas.1517719113
Ibid.
“Inbred Strains: BALB.” MGI, www.informatics.jax.org/inbred_strains/mouse/docs/BALB.shtml.
Menachery 2016.
Zeng, Lei-Ping et al. “Bat Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Like Coronavirus WIV1 Encodes an Extra Accessory Protein, ORFX, Involved in
Modulation of the Host Immune Response.” Journal of Virology, 24 June 2016, 90(14): 6573-6582. https://dx.doi.org/10.1128%2FJVI.03079-15
Hu, Ben et al. “Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus.” PLOS
Pathogens, 30 Nov. 2017, 13(11). https://dx.doi.org/10.1371%2Fjournal.ppat.1006698
Hu, 2017.
EVIDENCE OF GENETIC MODIFICAITON
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To reiterate, WIV researchers created chimeric coronaviruses able to infect humans in 2017,
before the WNBL BSL-4 lab became operational. This work was jointly funded by NIAID (no.
R01AI110964), USAID’s PREDICT program, and the PRC government (including grant no.
2013FY113500).
Research Regarding SARS-Like Coronaviruses at the WIV or in Conjunction with WIV
Scientists from 2018-2019
While Shi and Daszak coauthored several additional papers in 2018 and 2019 regarding
coronaviruses, none include gain-of-function research on SARS-like coronaviruses designed to make
them more infectious to humans. This is especially odd given that in 2018 the Chinese Academy of
Science launched a new special project titled “Pathogen Host Adaption and Immune Intervention.”
One of the five subprojects was titled “Research on Virus Traceability, Cross-Species Transmission,
and Pathogenic Mechanism,” – Shi is listed as one of the two scientists in charge. This subproject
had three areas of focus: 1) the traceability, evolution and transmission mechanism of new pathogens;
2) molecular mechanisms of viral cross-species infection and pathogenicity, and 3) the interaction
mechanism between virus and host.
A second WIV scientist, Cui Zongqiang, was one of two researchers in charge of another subproject
entitled, “New methods and new technologies for infection and immune research.” This project
focused on, among other things, evaluating new vaccines and establishing “humanized small animal
models” for in vitro pathogen testing.
In January 2018, Shi was appointed Principal Investigator for a new Strategic Priority Research
Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant no. XBD29010101, $1.35 million USD),
investigating “genetic evolution and transmission mechanism of important bat-borne viruses.” This
project, especially with its focus on transmission mechanisms, aligns with the first focus area
mentioned above. That same month, Shi began work on a project titled “Study on the evolutionary
mechanism of bat SARS-like coronavirus adapted to host receptor molecules and the risk of crossspecies infection.” The project was funded at a value of roughly $850,000 USD (grant no. 31770175)
and is slated to run until December 2021. This grant aligns with the second focus area, the
description of which specifically mentions replicating and modifying coronaviruses (emphasis
added):
35
“Guidelines for the application of the ‘Pathogen Host Adaptation and Immune Intervention’ project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Strategic
Leading Technology.” Chinese Academy of Sciences, 6 Sept. 2018, https://archive.is/spmNg#selection-3389.0-3389.160
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Shi, Zheng-li. “Curriculum Vitae.” https://www.ws-virology.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Zhengli-Shi.pdf
“Study on the evolutionary mechanism of bat SARS-like coronavirus adapted to host receptor molecules and the risk of cross-species infection.”
MedSci, https://archive.is/g35C6#selection-1425.0-1425.139
Ibid.
“Guidelines for the application of the ‘Pathogen Host Adaptation and Immune Intervention’ project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Strategic
Leading Technology.” Chinese Academy of Sciences, 6 Sept. 2018, https://archive.is/spmNg#selection-3389.0-3389.160
For important emerging emergencies and virulent viruses (influenza virus, Ebola virus,
coronavirus, Marburg virus, arenavirus, etc.), by studying their ability to invade different
host cells and their ability to replicate in different host cells, analyze the key molecules
affecting their cross-species infections and their pathogenic mechanisms. Including: virus
invasion, virus replication and assembly, and infection model.
EVIDENCE OF GENETIC MODIFICAITON
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“Catalogue and introduction of the 2018 National Natural Science Award winning projects.” Ministry of Science and Technology, 8 Jan. 2019,
https://archive.is/jKq7B#selection-187.0-187.86
“Pathogenicity of two new bat SARS-related coronaviruses to transgenic mice expressing human ACE2.” MedSci, https://archive.is/shrM2#selection1545.0-1558.0
“[Good News] 100% winning bid! All applications of the National Natural Science Foundation of China(NSFC) were approved.” Faculty of Economics
and Management, ECNU Academy of Statistics and Interdisciplinary Sciences, 11 May 2020,
http://asis.ecnu.edu.cn/asisenglish/64/ba/c23635a287930/page.htm
“Pathogenicity of two new bat SARS-related coronaviruses to transgenic mice expressing human ACE2.” MedSci, https://archive.is/shrM2#selection1545.0-1558.0
Joint Report – ANNEXES.
Shi, Zheng-li. “Reply to Science Magazine.” Science Magazine, https://www.sciencemag.org/sites/default/files/Shi%20Zhengli%20Q%26A.pdf
Shi did not publish any papers funded by this grant before the start of the pandemic. As such, it is
impossible to know what experiments she was conducting in the months prior to the pandemic.
Further evidence expands on Shi’s work in 2018 and 2019. In January 2019, Shi and several other
scientists were awarded a National Natural Science Award Second Prize for a project entitled,
“Research on Important Viruses Carried by Chinese Bats.” Five out of the six researchers on the
award were coauthors of the previously discussed 2013 paper entitled, “Isolation and characterization
of a bat SARS-like coronavirus that uses the ACE2 receptor.”
In January 2019, Ben Hu, was awarded $385,850 in grant money (grant no. 31800142) by the Youth
Science Fund Project (YSFP) of the National Natural Science Foundation of China. The YSFP
“supports the young researchers to independently select topics within the scope of the scientific
funding and carry out basic research.” This project, selected by Ben Hu, was titled, “Pathogenicity of
two new bat SARS-related coronaviruses to transgenic mice expressing human ACE2.” To date, the
two novel SARS-related coronaviruses have not been identified, and the grant money has only been
cited in papers published about SARS-CoV-2.
WIV researchers confirmed to the WHO investigative team that they were conducting
experimentations testing chimeric coronaviruses in 2018 and 2019. According to an interview
with Shi published by Science, all coronavirus experimentation, including infecting hACE2
mice and civets, was done at the BSL-2 and BSL-3 levels – “the coronavirus research in our
laboratory is conducted in BSL-2 or BSL-3 laboratories.”
This ongoing work appears to coincide with Peter Daszak’s stated goal of developing a broadspectrum coronavirus vaccine. In a May 19, 2020, interview with “This Week in Virology,” Daszak
discussed the goal of the gain-of-function work he funded on coronaviruses with the WIV (emphasis
added):
Coronaviruses are pretty good – I mean you’re a virologist, you know all this stuff – but
the… you can… um manipulate them in the lab pretty easily. The spike protein drives a
lot of what happens with the coronavirus – zoonotic risk. So, you can get the sequence,
you can build the protein, and we work with Ralph Baric at UNC to do this, insert it into a
EVIDENCE OF GENETIC MODIFICAITON
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backbone of another virus, and do some work in the lab. So, you can get more predictive
when you find a sequence – you’ve got this diversity. Now, the logical progression for
vaccines is, if you’re going to develop a vaccine for SARS, people are going to use
pandemic SARS, but let’s try to insert some of these other related [viruses] and get a
better vaccine.
Racaniello, Vincent. “TWiV 615: Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance.” YouTube, interview by Vincent Racaniello,19 May 2020,

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37
Shi, Hu, and others at the WIV were the ones collecting, identifying, genetically modifying, and
testing these novel coronaviruses against human immune systems for Peter Daszak.
Research by Shi and others at the WIV on how to alter the spike protein of non-infectious
SARS-like coronaviruses so that they can bind to human ACE2 receptors;
Repeated collaboration between Shi, Hu, Daszak, Wang, and other researchers on
genetically manipulating coronaviruses to increase their infectiousness in humans;
A new PRC Strategic Priority Research Program, run by Shi, that was actively
manufacturing chimeric viruses in BSL-2 and BSL-3 conditions and seeking out novel
viruses;
Evidence of ongoing collaboration between Shi and the other scientists who first isolated
a live coronavirus in 2013;
A second grant awarded to Hu to test novel coronaviruses against human immune
systems in BSL-2 and BSL-3 conditions;
A stated effort to develop a broad-spectrum coronavirus vaccine.
In sum, in the years leading up to the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, there was:
Unusual Features of SARS-CoV-2
Committee Minority Staff interviews with scientists and current and former U.S. government
officials raised several questions about the natural origins of SARS-CoV-2, including:
1. The highly infectious nature of SARS-CoV-2, which they consider as infectious as measles;
2. The lack of an identified intermediate host (found 4 months after the outbreak of SARS and 9
months after MERS); and
3. The highly efficient binding to human ACE2.
The highly contagious nature of SARS-CoV-2 has been a hot topic of conversation since the virus
began to spread around the world. Some scientists and other experts point to the incredibly high case
numbers as evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is inherently different from known natural betacoronaviruses.
For example, MERS first appeared in 2012 and has infected less than 4,000 people. SARS first
appeared in 2002 and infected less than 10,000. At the time of writing, less than two years from when
it has first appeared, SARS-CoV-2 has infected more than 196.4 million people.
SARS-CoV-2 also has a highly unusual affinity for binding to human ACE2 receptors over other
hosts. In February 2020, American researchers examined this issue closely. They found that SARSCoV-2’s spike protein “binds at least 10 times more tightly than the corresponding spike protein of
severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)–CoV to their common host cell receptor.” In other words,
SARS-CoV-2 binds more than 10 times more tightly to human ACE2 than the virus that causes
SARS. The researchers found this likely explains why the virus is so contagious.
Given the above, it is self-evident that Shi and her colleagues, with funding and support from
Daszak, were actively genetically manipulating coronaviruses and testing them against human
immune systems in 2018 and 2019, before the beginning of the pandemic.
EVIDENCE OF GENETIC MODIFICAITON
1. The highly infectious nature of SARS-CoV-2, which they consider as infectious as measles;
2. The lack of an identified intermediate host (found 4 months after the outbreak of SARS and 9
months after MERS); and
3. The highly efficient binding to human ACE2.
Wrapp, Daniel et al. “Cryo-EM structure of the 2019-nCoV spike in the prefusion conformation.” Science, 13 March 2020, 367(6483):
1260-1263. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7164637/
Ibid.
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Piplani, S., et. al. “In silico comparison of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-ACE2 binding affinities across species and implications for
virus origin.” Scientific Reports, 24 June 2021, 11(13063) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-92388-5
Piplani, S., et. al. Preprint of “In silico comparison of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-ACE2 binding affinities across species and
implications for virus origin.” ArXiv, 13 May 2020, https://arxiv.org/abs/2005.06199v1
Coutard, B et al. “The spike glycoprotein of the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV contains a furin-like cleavage site absent in CoV of the
same clade.” Antiviral Research, Feb. 2020, 176: 104742 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7114094/
Wu, Yiran, and Suwen Zhao. “Furin cleavage sites naturally occur in coronaviruses.” Stem Cell Research, 9 Dec. 2020, 50:102115.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7836551/
Johnson, B.A., et. al. “Loss of furin cleavage site attenuates SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis.” Nature, 25 Jan. 2021, 591: 293-299.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03237-4
Australian and British researchers also examined how SARS-CoV-2 binds to the ACE2 of various
animals, publishing their research in Scientific Reports on June 24, 2021. The scientists found that
SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein binds the strongest to human ACE2. They reported (emphasis added):
This finding was surprising as a zoonotic virus typically exhibits the highest affinity
initially for its original host species, with lower initial affinity to receptors of new host
species until it adapts. As the virus adapts to its new host, mutations are acquired that
increase the binding affinity for the new host receptor. Since our binding calculations
were based on SARS-CoV-2 samples isolated in China from December 2019, at the
very onset of the outbreak, the extremely high affinity of S protein for human ACE2 was
unexpected.
The first preprint version of this paper went further, concluding, “the data indicates that SARS-CoV2 is uniquely adapted to infect humans, raising important questions as to whether it arose in
nature by a rare chance event or whether its origins might lie elsewhere” emphasis added. This
research provides evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is uniquely well adapted to humans, suggesting a
non-zoonotic source of the outbreak.
The Furin Cleavage Site
One of the most discussed questions centers around the furin cleavage site (FCS) of SARS-CoV-2.
The FCS is part of the virus’ spike protein, which enables it to bind to and enter human cells. In
February 2020, French and Canadian scientists reported SARS-CoV-2 contains an FCS that is absent
in other coronaviruses of the same clade, or branch of viruses believed to have a similar common
ancestor. The scientists also reported that when a bronchitis virus was modified by inserting a similar
cleavage site, the virus’ pathogenicity was increased. While some scientists have noted that other
coronaviruses contain furin cleavage sites, phylogenetic analysis shows that SARS-CoV-2 is the only
identified sarbecovirus (a subsection of betacoronaviruses) with this feature.
In January 2021 a group of American researchers published “Loss of furin cleavage site attenuates
SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis” in Nature. In the article, researchers reported the FCS “may have
facilitated the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in humans.” Using a reverse genetic system, they created
a mutant strain of SARS-CoV-2 which lacked the FCS. The result was a virus that was weakened in
human respiratory cells and that exhibited reduced development in hACE2 expressing mice. This
demonstrates the importance of the FCS in the rapid spread of COVID-19.
EVIDENCE OF GENETIC MODIFICAITON
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In other words, did the FCS develop naturally, or was it added in via genetic manipulation? Part of
the genetic sequence for the FCS includes a CGG double codon (CGG-CGG). This group of six
nucleotides (a group of three nucleotides is also known as a codon) is half of the 12 nucleotides that
create the FCS. SARS-CoV-2 is the only identified coronavirus within its class to feature this
combination. Some believe this is evidence of genetic manipulation, arguing this double codon is a
telltale sign of the FCS being artificially inserted into the virus.
The “No-See-Um” Method
Critics of the theory that the virus was genetically modified or man-made have repeatedly pointed to
the apparent lack of telltale signs of genetic manipulation in the SARS-CoV-2 genome. They claim
this is “proof” the virus was not only naturally occurring, but that the COVID-19 pandemic could
only be the result of a zoonotic spillover event. Such arguments ignore key pieces of evidence to the
contrary.
39
Quay, Steven, and Richard Muller. “The Science Suggests a Wuhan Lab Leak.” The Wall Street Journal, 6 June 2021,
www.wsj.com/articles/the-science-suggests-a-wuhan-lab-leak-11622995184.
Baric R.S., Sims A.C. “Development of Mouse Hepatitis Virus and SARS-CoV Infectious cDNA Constructs.” Curr Top Microbiol
Immunol, 2005; 287:229-52. https://doi.org/10.1007/3-540-26765-4_8
Ibid.
EVIDENCE OF GENETIC MODIFICAITON
Molecularly cloned viruses were
indistinguishable from wild type.
– Dr. Ralph Baric
In 2005, Ralph Baric, one of the researchers at
UNC Chapel Hill with whom Shi would later
collaborate with between 2014 and 2016,
published a paper entitled, “Development of
mouse hepatitis virus and SARS-CoV
infectious cDNA constructs.” In this paper,
Baric references using a novel genetic
engineering system he developed with other
UNC colleagues to engineer full-length SARSCoV genomes via a “no-see-um” method. This
method allows for the assembly of various
partial genomic sequences into a full-length
genome, creating a new and infectious
coronavirus. The publication includes the
below figure, which is titled, “Systemic
Assembly Strategy for the SARS-CoV
infectious clone.” It clearly shows the various
SARS fragments and how they were used to
create a full-length, custom genomic sequence.
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The paper stated these viruses were “indistinguishable from wild type,” meaning that it is impossible
to tell they were synthetically created.
Baric himself confirmed this interpretation in a September 2020 interview, where he stated, “You can
engineer a virus without leaving any trace. The answers you are looking for, however, can only be
found in the archives of the Wuhan laboratory.” Referring to chimeric viruses he generated in 2015
with WIV researchers, Baric said his team intentionally left signature mutations to show that it was
genetically engineered. “Otherwise there is no way to distinguish a natural virus from one made in
the laboratory.”
Shi and Baric have collaborated on multiple papers regarding coronaviruses. The most recent of
which was in May 2020, when they joined other researchers in publishing “Pathogenesis of SARSCoV-2 in Transgenic Mice Expressing Human Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2.” One year later,
Baric signed onto a May 14, 2021, letter published in Science which argued that the lab leak
theory must be taken seriously and should be fully evaluated.
40
Ibid.
Renda, Silvia. “Possibile Creare Un Virus in Laboratorio Senza Lasciare Traccia? La Risposta Dell’autore Della Chimera Del 2015 Di
Cui Parlò Tg Leonardo.” L’Huf Post, 14 Sept. 2020, www.huffingtonpost.it/entry/e-possibile-creare-un-virus-in-laboratorio-senzalasciare-traccia-la-risposta-dellesperto_it_5f5f3993c5b62874bc1f7339.
Ibid.
Jiang, Ren-Di et al. “Pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 in Transgenic Mice Expressing Human Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2.” Cell,
21 May 202, 182(1): 50-58.e8. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.cell.2020.05.027
Bloom, Jesse D., et. al. “Investigate the origins of COVID-19.” Science, 14 May 2021; 372(6543): 694.
https://science.sciencemag.org/content/372/6543/694.1
Fig. 5: Baric’s “No-See-Um” System
EVIDENCE OF GENETIC MODIFICAITON
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In 2017, a dissertation was submitted to the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences by Zeng
Leiping, a doctoral student working at the WIV, entitled “Reverse Genetic System of Bat SARS-like
Coronaviruses and Function of ORFX.” The referenced reverse genetic system is the same that was
used by the WIV in 2016 to create genetically modified viruses and conduct experiments with live
viruses under BSL-2 conditions. In his dissertation, Zeng stated the he and other WIV researchers
used this system to “construct an S gene chimeric recombinant viral infectious BAC clone with
WIV1 as the backbone and without leaving any trace sequences (e.g. incorporated enzymatic sites) in
the recombinant viral genome” (emphasis added).
Leiping, Zeng. Reverse Genetic System of Bat SARS-like Coronaviruses and Function of ORFX. 2017. The University of Chinese
Academy of Sciences, PhD dissertation. English translation first made available by @TheSeeker268 on Twitter,

Ibid.
Ibid.
“Leiping Zeng.” Stanford, https://profiles.stanford.edu/leiping-zeng
Stanway, David. “Explainer: China’s Mojiang Mine and Its Role in the Origins of COVID-19.” Reuters, 9 June 2021,
www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/chinas-mojiang-mine-its-role-origins-covid-19-2021-06-09/.
Qiu, Jane. “How China’s ‘Bat Woman’ Hunted Down Viruses from SARS to the New Coronavirus.” Scientific American, 1 June 2020,
www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-chinas-bat-woman-hunted-down-viruses-from-sars-to-the-new-coronavirus1/
In an end-of-chapter discussion in the dissertation, Zeng reiterates this lack of evidence of genetic
manipulation, stating:
We established a reverse genetics system for coronaviruses, and based on the genomic
backbone of WIV1, we established a scheme to replace the S gene without traces,
constructed infectious BAC clones of 12 S-gene chimeric recombinant viruses, and
successfully rescued. Four of these recombinant viral strains (including Rs4231, Rs4874,
Rs7327, and SHC014) were tested for ACE2 utilization by these strains in humans,
civets, and bats.
Zeng was employed at the WIV when he submitted his dissertation, and Shi was his advisor. As
such, it is clear that Shi and others at the WIV not only possessed the capability to genetically
modify coronaviruses “without traces,” but were actively doing so in the years leading up to the
current pandemic. It appears Zeng Leiping is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in
bioengineering at Stanford University.
41
EVIDENCE OF GENETIC MODIFICAITON
IV. EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK COVER-UP
In addition to the events previously discussed (sequence database taken offline, road closures during
the MWG, etc.), there are several additional incidents that suggest the PRC, WIV researchers, and
others were actively working to suppress and discredit early conversations that the virus could have
been man-made or that it could have leaked from a WIV facility.
In April 2012, six miners working in a copper mine located in Yunnan province of the PRC fell ill.
Between the ages of 30 and 63, the workers presented to a hospital in Kunming with “persistent
coughs, fevers, head and chest pains and breathing difficulties.” Three of the six eventually died.
Researchers from the WIV were asked to investigate and test samples from the sick miners. They also
began collecting samples from bats in the cave that housed the mine, which led to the discovery of
several new coronaviruses. As a result, the WIV began a long-term study of the mine, collecting
samples each year. Despite this, Shi maintains the miners were killed by a fungus growing on bat
feces not from a virus.
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EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK COVER-UP
Ge, Xing-Yi et al. “Coexistence of multiple coronaviruses in several bat colonies in an abandoned mineshaft.” Virologica Sinica, 3 Feb.
2016; 31(1): 31-40. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007%2Fs12250-016-3713-9
Ibid.
Zhou, P., et al. “A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin.” Nature, 3 Feb 2020, 579: 270–273.
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2012-7
Wang, Yanan. “Human-to-Human Transmission Confirmed in China Coronavirus.” AP NEWS, 20 Jan. 2020.
https://apnews.com/14d7dcffa205d9022fa9ea593bb2a8c5
Lai, Shengjie, et al. “Effect of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions for Containing the COVID-19 Outbreak in China.” MedRxiv, 2020,
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.03.20029843v3.
Zhou (2020).
A 2016 paper published by PRC researchers (most of whom are affiliated with the WIV) describes
these efforts as researchers conducting “surveillance of coronaviruses in bats in an abandoned
mineshaft in Mojiang County, Yunnan Province, China, from 2012–2013.” Shi and Hu are listed as
coauthors. WIV researchers identified two new betacoronaviruses – HiBtCoV/3740-2 and
RaBtCoV/4991. The study concluded, “RaBtCoV/4991 showed more divergence from human SARSCoV than other bat SL-CoVs and could be considered as a new strain of this virus lineage.” Shi
designed and coordinated the study, drafted the manuscript, and is listed as the corresponding author.
Four years later and after the initial reports of an unknown SARS-like coronavirus in Wuhan, Shi and
28 other PRC scientists submitted an article to Nature for publication entitled, “A pneumonia
outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probably bat origin,” on January 20, 2020. It was
published in early February. It should be noted that this manuscript was submitted on the same day
the PRC’s National Health Commission first issued a statement confirming human-to-human
transmission – one month after local health officials warned the CCP human-to-human transmissions
were occurring. It is highly unlikely Shi and her coauthors would have written this paper the same
day they submitted it, meaning they were aware for days or perhaps weeks that the virus was
spreading via from human-to-human transmission and did not alert the world. According to a study
by researchers at the University of Southampton, implementing appropriate restrictions based on
human-to-human transmission just one week before this paper was published would have reduced the
number of cases in Wuhan by 66%. This would have made a significant difference in the spread of
the virus, especially in conjunction with the significant travel that occurred during the Spring
Festival, which ran from January 10 to January 23, 2020, when the city of Wuhan was locked down.
Shi is listed as the corresponding author for the article, which states that COVID-19 “has now
progressed to be transmitted by human-to-human contact.” The researchers conclude that RaTG13,
an allegedly naturally occurring bat coronavirus, is the closest relative to SARS-CoV-2 (emphasis
added):
We then found that a short region of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp)
from a bat coronavirus (BatCoV RaTG13)—which was previously detected in
Rhinolophus affinis from Yunnan province—showed high sequence identity to 2019-
nCoV. We carried out full-length sequencing on this RNA sample (GISAID accession
number EPI_ISL_402131). Simplot analysis showed that 2019-nCoV was highly similar
throughout the genome to RaTG13 (Fig. 1c), with an overall genome sequence identity of
96.2%. Using the aligned genome sequences of 2019-nCoV, RaTG13, SARS-CoV and
previously reported bat SARSr-CoVs, no evidence for recombination events was detected
42
ID4991 vs. RaTG13: SARS-CoV-2’s “Closest Relative”
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EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK COVER-UP
Ibid.
Zhou, P., et. al. “Addendum: A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin.”
Nature, 17 Nov. 2020, 588: E6. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2951-z
Shi, Zheng-li. “Reply to Science Magazine.” Science Magazine,
https://www.sciencemag.org/sites/default/files/Shi%20Zhengli%20Q%26A.pdf
Sudworth, John. “Covid: Wuhan Scientist Would ‘Welcome’ Visit Probing Lab Leak Theory.” BBC News, 21 Dec. 2020,
www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-55364445.
Asis, Francisco de. “Quite Important the Conversation with Danaoshan Inhabitant.- He Pointed towards the Location We Already
Knew for the Mine.- The Roadblocks Are Probably the Diverted Traffic We Already Observed Too.Rest of the Story Is Just Incredible!
Pic.twitter.com/kzHz7v5rSg.” Twitter, Twitter, 12 Mar. 2021, https://twitter.com/franciscodeasis/status/1370183826731888641?s=20.
Andersen, Kristian G et al. “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2.” Nature Medicine, 17 March 2002, 26(4):450-452.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7095063/
Ibid.
in the genome of 2019-nCoV. Phylogenetic analysis of the full-length genome and the
gene sequences of RdRp and spike (S) showed that—for all sequences—RaTG13 is the
closest relative of 2019-nCoV and they form a distinct lineage from other SARSrCoVs (Fig. 1d and Extended Data Fig. 2)…The close phylogenetic relationship to
RaTG13 provides evidence that 2019-nCoV may have originated in bats.
A close examination of the paper, and the corrections published months later, reveal inconsistences in
the researchers’ claims. Several of the statements made in the above quotation are simply false. After
months of criticism and questioning about RaTG13, Shi and the other researchers were forced to
publish an addendum on November 17, 2020. That addendum reveals that RaTG13 was actually
ID4991, the sample collected years prior in 2012 or 2013, and that the full-length genomic
sequence was obtained in 2018, not in January 2020 as the paper originally stated.
Unfortunately, no other labs can confirm the genomic sequence of RaTG13 – Shi said in an interview
published in Science Magazine that the entire sample was used up after genomic sequencing. The
inability of outside researchers to verify the genome of RaTG13, and the above efforts to obfuscate
when the WIV collected and sequenced RaTG13, raises multiple questions:
Why leave out of the February 2020 article that the virus sequence was renamed?
Why lie about when the full-length sequence was obtained?
Why only issue a correction almost ten months later?
Why was this sample destroyed via testing when others weren’t?
In December 2020, reporters from BBC News attempted to visit the cave in Yunnan where RaTG13
was collected. They found themselves followed by plain-clothes police officers and stopped at
checkpoints where they were told to stay out of the area. A French publication, Envoye Special,
produced a video in which they reported conversations with villagers who lived near the mine.
According to one of those villagers, the mine was closed and monitored via surveillance cameras.
That villager also alleged several people were arrested for venturing too close to the mine.
It is important to note that in March 2020, American, British, and Australian researchers published
“The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2” in Nature Magazine. Regarding RaTG13, they found,
“Although RaTG13, sampled from a Rhinolophus affinis bat, is ~96% identical overall to SARSCoV-2, its spike diverges in the RBD, which suggests that it may not bind efficiently to human
ACE2.” “RBD” is an abbreviation for receptor-binding domain, part of the virus’ spike protein. This
is the same part of the virus’ genome that Shi, Hu, and other WIV researchers were genetically
modifying and replacing as far back as 2015.
43
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44
Andersen, Kristian G. Email to Anthony Facui and Jeremy Farrar. 31 Jan. 2020.
https://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/20793561/leopold-nih-foia-anthony-fauci-emails.pdf
Zhou, Peng, et. al. Preprint of “Discovery of a novel coronavirus associated with the recent pneumonia outbreak in humans and its
potential bat origin.” 23 Jan. 2020, bioRxiv, https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.01.22.914952v2
Young, Alison. “’I Remember It Very Well’: Dr. Fauci Describes a Secret 2020 Meeting to Talk about COVID Origins.” USA Today, 18
June 2021, www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2021/06/17/covid-19-fauci-lab-leaks-wuhan-china-origins/7737494002/.
If SARS-CoV-2 was genetically modified, this could represent a viable model for how. RaTG13’s
RBD, or full spike protein, could be replaced using the WIV’s reverse genetic system. If one of the
many unpublished coronaviruses in the WIV’s possession was modified, and the resulting chimeric
virus was then exposed to hACE2 expressing mice or civets, the resulting virus could become better
adapted to infecting humans – just like SARS-CoV-2.
According to scientists – including those working at the WIV – ID4991/RaTG13 is more closely
related to SARS-CoV-2 than any other publicly identified virus. It’s now clear WIV researchers had
this virus as early as 2013, several years before the WIV began genetically modifying other
coronaviruses found in the wild. Given the largest difference between RaTG13 and SARS-CoV-2
is at the spike protein – precisely where the WIV modified various coronaviruses for years –
and that WIV researchers renamed the virus and lied about when they sequenced,
ID4991/RaTG13 could be a source of genetic material if SARS-CoV-2 was indeed genetically
modified.
According to emails obtained by Buzzfeed News, it appears Kristian G. Andersen, the lead and
corresponding author of the abovementioned article, initially considered this a viable theory. In a
January 31, 2020 email to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of NIAID, Andersen stated that parts of the
virus were possibly engineered and inconsistent with evolutionary theory:
Fig. 8: Andersen Email Suggesting SARS-CoV-2 was Genetically Modified
The WIV’s intentionally misleading February 2020 paper regarding RaTG13 was uploaded as a
preprint on January 23rd . Given that Andersen and his coauthors cited it in their March 2020 paper,
it is all but certain that Andersen, Dr. Fauci, and the others would have seen it before Andersen sent
this email. The day after Anderson emailed Dr. Fauci on February 1, 2020, Dr. Fauci, Andersen, and
others debated this issue via teleconference. Previously, they had agreed to keep the debate
confidential. Following this discussion, Andersen abandoned his claims that the virus was genetically
modified. It is unclear what was said on this call that led to Anderson doing so.
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45
2019 Natural Science Foundation Query and Analysis System. https://journal.medsci.cn/m/nsfc.do?
u=%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD%E7%A7%91%E5%AD%A6%E9%99%A2%E6%AD%A6%E6%B1%89%E7%97%85%E6%AF%9
2%E7%A0%94%E7%A9%B6%E6%89%80
“Hunting bat viruses, tracking the origin of SARS, an interview with Dr. Hu Ben, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of
Sciences.” First Author, 12 Dec. 2017, https://archive.vn/sVHmq#selection-45.79-45.215
Hu, Ben. “The Wuhan Institute of Virology’s “Research on Chinese Bats Carrying Important Viruses” won the first prize of the 2018
Hubei Provincial Natural Science Award.” Wuhan Branch, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 13 April 2018, archived:
https://web.archive.org/web/20210107222832/http://whb.ac.cn/xw/kyjz/201811/t20181122_5191050.html
Additional Cover-Up Activities by Scientists at the WIV
As more investigative work continues on the type of research being conducted at the WIV, CCP
censors and WIV researchers have been deleting or scrubbing references to coronavirus research that
could be related to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. As previously discussed, Ben Hu received
a Youth Science Fund Project award to test the pathogenicity of two novel SARS-related
coronaviruses beginning in 2019. In some publicly facing PRC websites, Hu’s name has now been
struck from the grant.
Fig. 9: Ben Hu’s Name Removed From 2019 Grant
Of the almost 80 WIV grants listed in the database, the one awarded to Ben Hu is the only one that
does not identify the principal investigator.
A December 12, 2017, interview with Hu was pulled offline after it began circulating on Twitter. In
the article, Hu discusses monitoring and collecting samples from the bat cave in Yunnan and his work
using the reverse genetic system to insert spike proteins into live coronaviruses. Interestingly, he
discusses how Shi Zheng-li “often personally leads the team to take samples.” It is likely that this
article was pulled down for drawing attention to the cave where RaTG13 was collected.
Similarly, a 2018 article written by Hu and published on the website for the Wuhan Branch of the
Chinese Academy of Sciences has also been removed. While the article broadly discusses the work
of Shi and other researchers at the WIV, it does not offer any unique insight or evidence of dangerous
research. So why was it removed?
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Xin, Liu. “Exclusive Interview: CGTN’s Liu Xin Talks to China’s ‘Bat Woman’.” CGTN, 26 Aug. 2020,
https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-08-22/Can-politics-be-put-aside-while-looking-for-origins-of-coronavirus–T9HgctyKv6/index.html.
Guli.
Xin.
Subbaraman, Nidhi. “’Heinous!’: Coronavirus Researcher Shut down for Wuhan-Lab Link Slams New Funding Restrictions.” Nature
News, 21 Aug. 2020, www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02473-4.
Qin, Amy, and Chris Buckley. “A Top Virologist in China, at Center of a Pandemic Storm, Speaks Out.” The New York Times, 14 June
2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/06/14/world/asia/china-covid-wuhan-lab-leak.html
Gordon, Michael R., et al. “WSJ News Exclusive | Intelligence on Sick Staff at Wuhan Lab Fuels Debate on Covid-19 Origin.” The
Wall Street Journal, 23 May 2021, www.wsj.com/articles/intelligence-on-sick-staff-at-wuhan-lab-fuels-debate-on-covid-19-origin11621796228.
Liu Xin: The report actually went further and said that the lab has been taken over by the
Chinese military. It says that Major General Chen Wei has succeeded Yuan Zhiming as
the Director of the WIV and Chen Wei is a Chinese military medical sciences expert.
Shi Zhengli: This is a rumor; there is no such thing.
Liu Xin: You absolutely deny that the Chinese military has taken over the WIV.
Shi Zhengli: Yes, it is a rumor.
Perhaps most incriminating are Shi’s repeated lies about activities taking place at the WIV. In August
2020, after the publication of the Committee Minority Staff’s interim report, the China Global
Television Network interviewed Shi about our work. In the resulting article, Shi denied that Major
General Chen Wei took over the BSL-4 lab:
This is demonstrably false. As previously discussed, posts made on CCP-controlled forums
announcing Chen’s arrival acknowledged her takeover of the lab. The report stated, “PLA Maj. Gen.
Chen Wei has been in Wuhan for more than 10 days. She took over the P4 lab as if it were a
‘reassurance pill.’”
During the same interview, and in response to Committee Minority Staff raising questions about a
possible lab leak, Shi again lied, claiming that all of the WIV’s research has been published and their
samples available for review:
Another piece of evidence that I can give you is that our lab has been doing research for
15 years, and all our work has been published. We also have a library of our own genetic
sequences, and we have experimental records of all our work related to the virus, which
are accessible for people to check.
This, again, is demonstrably false. The WIV’s sequence library was taken offline in September 2019
and is not “accessible for people to check.” Given the previously discussed undisclosed coronavirus
research and military activities at the WIV, it is obvious that not “all” of the WIV’s work has been
published. Daszak confirmed this in an interview with Nature: “we have data that we’ve gathered
over 15 years of working in China — 5 years under a previous grant from the NIH — which haven’t
been published yet.”
In a June 2021 interview, Shi told the New York Times, “my lab has never conducted or cooperated in
conducting GOF experiments that enhance the virulence of viruses.” This is a bizarre claim given the
years of published research, often designed and led by Shi, that explicitly sought to make
coronaviruses more infectious to humans. In the same interview, Shi lied about WIV researchers
falling ill in the fall of 2019 – “The Wuhan Institute of Virology has not come across such cases.”
This is despite the State Department’s January 15th 2021 fact sheet and confirmation from a Dutch
virologist on the WHO’s investigative team that several researchers were sick.
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Experts interviewed in February 2020 by The Global Times stated that PRC labs paid “insufficient
attention to biological disposal.” This included disposing of lab materials into sewage systems.
Given that these new guidelines were issued after the PRC stopped searching for the source of the
outbreak, it raises questions as to what prompted the PRC to stop its search.
Shortly thereafter, on February 25, 2020, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention
issued supplementary regulations affecting how PRC scientists work on research related to COVID19. The guidelines prohibit researchers from sharing data or samples and requires them to receive
permission prior to conducting research or publishing the results.
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Kirchgaessner, Stephanie. “China Did ‘Little’ to Hunt for Covid Origins in Early Months, Says WHO Document.” The Guardian, 23
Feb. 2021, www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/23/china-did-little-hunt-covid-origins-early-months-says-who-document
Caiyu, Liu, and Leng Shumei. “Biosafety Guideline Issued to Fix Chronic Management Loopholes at Virus Labs.” Global Times, 16
Feb. 2020, www.globaltimes.cn/content/1179747.shtml.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Following extensive discussions with and presentation from Chinese counterparts, it
appears that little had been done in terms of epidemiological investigations around
Wuhan since January 2020. The data presented orally gave a few more details than what
was presented at the emergency committee meetings in January 2020. No PowerPoint
presentations were made and no documents were shared.
Cover-Up Activities by the Chinese Communist Party
According to a WHO internal document from August 2020, the PRC put little effort into determining
the source of the SARS-CoV-2 after January 2020:
Given the large amount of financial resources devoted by the PRC in the years prior for locating,
sampling, identifying, and experimenting with coronaviruses, it is odd that little effort would be put
into determining the source of the virus, if the source was unknown. In mid-February 2020, the
PRC’s Ministry of Science and Technology issued new guidelines for laboratory research in the PRC.
Official PRC sources stressed:
The mention of biosafety at labs by the ministry has nothing to do with some saying that
the coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of
Sciences.
Fig. 10: Excerpt from China CDC Regulations Issued on February 25th
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Before the interview was published on February 27th, Yu called the reporter and tried to retract the
information regarding the two sick patients in November. It is likely that this was done to comply
with the China CDC gag order that was issued two days prior.
Nine days later, on March 5, 2020, the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism (JPCM) of the State
Council Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Scientific Research Group issued a confidential memo,
obtained by the Associated Press, entitled, “Notice on the Standardization of the Management and
Publication of Novel Coronavirus Scientific Research.” The notice announced the research group
was taking control of all publication work related to the pandemic for “coordinated deployment.” It
also required units publishing research to notify the JPCM’s propaganda team, which was tasked to
work with a special public opinion team to coordinate publication of research with public opinion and
“social concerns.”
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Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “On the Supplementary Regulations on Strengthening the Management of Science
and Technology During the Emergency Response to the Novel Coronavirus.” 25 Feb. 2020.
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/7340336-China-CDC-Sup-Regs.html
Wang, Zhenya. “Experts Judge the Source of the New Crown: December 8 Last Year May Not Be the Earliest Time of Onset.” Health
Times, 27 Feb. 2020, www.jksb.com.cn/index.php?m=wap&a=show&catid=629&id=160018.
Ibid.
Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Scientific Research Group. “Notice on the
Standardization of the Management and Publication of Novel Coronavirus Scientific Research.” 3 Mar. 2020.
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/7340337-State-Research-regulations.html
Ibid.
Ibid.
Professor Yu Chuanhua said, “For example, there is data on a patient who became ill on
September 29. The data shows that the patient has not undergone nucleic acid testing. The
clinical diagnosis (CT diagnosis) is a suspected case. The patient has died. This data has
not been confirmed and there is no time to death. It may also be wrong data.” With the
research of the database, Professor Yu Chuanhua found more and more case data before
December 8. There were two cases in November, and the onset time was November 14
and November 21, 2019. Before December 8, there were also five or six cases. Among
them, one patient who became ill at the end of November was hospitalized on December
2 and was clinically diagnosed with pneumonia.
A full copy of the regulations is included in the Appendix.
On February 27, 2020, Health Times, published remarks from an interview with Yu Chuanhua, who
referenced health data from February 25th. Yu is the Vice President of the Hubei Health Statistics
and Information Society and Professor of Epidemiology and Health Statistics at Wuhan University,
and was running a database of confirmed COVID-19 cases in early 2020. In the interview, Yu stated
he had evidence of COVID-19 cases as early as September 2019:
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Ibid.
“The Point: Clearing up Confusion in the McCaul Report On Covid-19.” CCTV News, 25 July 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?
v=n5qYogMTZOw.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
The memo concludes with a warning: “Those who fail to apply for approval in accordance with the
prescribed procedures and publish unconfirmed false information on scientific research, thereby
causing serious adverse social impacts, shall be held accountable.” A full copy of the memo is
included in the Appendix. These documents are clear evidence of the CCP’s effort to restrict research
on SARS-CoV-2, so that the only research published supports the Party’s official story on the origins
and emergence of COVID-19.
After the release of the Committee Minority Staff’s interim report on the origins of COVID-19,
China Global Television Network, a PRC state-owned media outlet, released a propaganda video
aimed at undermining this investigation. Entitled, “Clearing up confusion in McCaul report on
COVID-19,” the approximately 45-minute video labels the report “misinformation.” It also discusses
what they call the “tired old theory that the virus could have leaked from a lab” and reveals that Shi
Zheng-li was interviewed about our report. The piece also claims the BSL-4 lab space at the WIV
was never taken over by Maj. Gen. Chen Wei. As discussed earlier, this statement is demonstrably
untrue.
In June 2021, Jesse Bloom published a preprint entitled, “Recovery of deleted deep sequencing data
sheds more light on the early Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 epidemic.” Bloom is a Principal Investigator and
Associate Professor for Basic Sciences and the Herbold Computational Biology Program at Fred
Hutch, a cancer research center. Bloom was able to recover multiple deleted viral sequences collected
from patients in Wuhan in early December 2020. These sequences were originally uploaded to the
NIH’s Sequence Read Archive by researchers in Wuhan, but later deleted at their request.
Fig. 11: Excerpt from JPCM Memo
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The PRC’s efforts to obfuscate the origins of COVID-19 were not limited to destroying samples and
silencing doctors, but featured a sustained disinformation campaign as well. As discussed in our
previous report, Lijian Zhao, an official within the PRC’s Foreign Ministry, shared an article on
Twitter that claimed the virus was brought to the PRC by the U.S. military. The article was from the
Global Times research.ca, a website that pushes pro-Putin propaganda and has reported ties to
Russian state media. His tweet was amplified by the Chinese Embassy in South Africa.
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Bloom, Jesse D. Preprint: “Recovery of deleted deep sequencing data sheds more light on the early Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 epidemic.”
bioRxiv, 29 June 2021, https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.06.18.449051v2
Ibid.
Zhao, Lijian. “This Article Is Very Much Important to Each and Every One of Us. Please Read and Retweet It. COVID-19: Further
Evidence That the Virus Originated in the US. Https://T.co/LPanIo40MR.” Twitter, 13 Mar. 2020,
www.twitter.com/zlj517/status/1238269193427906560
Thomas, Elise, and Aspi. “Chinese Diplomats and Western Fringe Media Outlets Push the Same Coronavirus Conspiracies.” The
Strategist, 30 Mar. 2020, www.aspistrategist.org.au/chinese-diplomats-and-western-fringe-media-outlets-push-the-same-coronavirusconspiracies/.
Chinese Embassy in South Africa. “More Evidence Suggests That the Virus Was Not Originated at the Seafood Market in Wuhan at
All, Not to Mention the so Called ‘Made in China’. Https://T.co/8cRxkSZB3z.” Twitter, 16 Mar. 2020,
www.twitter.com/ChineseEmbSA/status/1239453193689587712
The fact that this informative data set was deleted suggests implications beyond
those gleaned directly from the recovered sequences. Samples from early outpatients
in Wuhan are a gold mine for anyone seeking to understand spread of the virus. Even my
analysis of 13 partial sequences is revealing, and it clearly would have been more
scientifically informative to fully sequence all 34 samples rather than delete the partial
sequence data. There is no obvious scientific reason for the deletion: the sequences are
concordant with the samples described in Wang et al. (2020a,b), there are no corrections
to the paper, the paper states human subjects approval was obtained, and the sequencing
shows no evidence of plasmid or sample-to-sample contamination…. Even though the
sequencing data were on the Google Cloud (as described above) and the mutations were
listed in a table in the Small paper by Wang et al. (2020b), the practical consequence of
removing the data from the SRA was that nobody was aware these sequences
existed. Particularly in light of the directive that labs destroy early samples (Pingui 2020)
and multiple orders requiring approval of publications on COVID-19 (China CDC 2020;
Kang et al. 2020a), this suggests a less than wholehearted effort to maximize
information about viral sequences from early in the Wuhan epidemic.
Oddly, these samples more greatly diverge from SARS-CoV-2’s bat coronavirus ancestor – “the
earliest SARSCoV-2 sequences were collected in Wuhan in December, but these sequences are more
distant from RaTG13 than sequences collected in January from other locations in China or even other
countries.” Bloom concludes (emphasis added):
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To further drive this narrative, CCP-controlled media outlets accused Maatje Benassi, a member of
the U.S. Army Reserve, as being “patient zero.” Benassi competed at the Military World Games
without becoming ill, yet has been repeatedly targeted for harassment. Videos pushing the theory
have been uploaded to WeChat, Weibo, and Xigua – PRC based sites. Two weeks after Zhao tweeted
that the U.S. army brought the virus to Wuhan, the Global Times amplified the narrative, urging the
U.S. government to release athletes’ health info and repeated the claim about Benassi.
Another tweet by Zhao actually suggests the pandemic did start in September, as is suggested in this
addendum, but that it began in the United States.
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51
Shumei, Leng, and Wan Lin. “US Urged to Release Health Info of Military Athletes Who Came to Wuhan in October 2019.” Global
Times, 25 Mar. 2020, www.globaltimes.cn/content/1183658.shtml.
Zhao, Lijian. US CDC Admitted Some #COVID19 Patients Were Misdiagnosed as Flu during 2019 Flu Season. 34 Million Infected &
20000 Died. If #COVID19 Began Last September, & US Has Been Lack of Testing Ability, How Many Would Have Been Infected? US
Should Find out When Patient Zero Appeared. Twitter, 22 Mar. 2020, https://twitter.com/zlj517/status/1241723635964039168?s=20.
Fig. 12: PRC Spokesman Tweet Suggesting COVID-19 Arrived in Wuhan via the Military World Games
Fig. 13: PRC Spokesman Tweet Suggesting the COVID-19 Pandemic Started in September 2019.
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It is important to note that this tweet was sent in March 2020. The previously discussed Harvard
study suggesting the pandemic began in September was not published until the second half of 2020.
This accusation came ten days after Zhao repeated his theory that the U.S. military brought COVID19 to Wuhan. If the CCP realized an investigation would show an uptick in visits of patients with
symptoms similar to COVID-19 in September, October, and November of 2019, this would likely be
the actions they would take to coverup the source of those illnesses.
WIV Disinformation Campaign Involving Peter Daszak
As we have previously explained, Peter Daszak was heavily involved in the gain-of-function research
taking place at the WIV, including research that was done at BSL-2 levels and that was done while
the United States had a moratorium in place on funding gain-of-function research. In addition, we
have uncovered strong evidence that suggests Peter Daszak is the public face of a CCP
disinformation campaign designed to suppress public discussion about a potential lab leak. Emails
obtained by a third-party organization show that Daszak organized a February 19, 2020, statement in
the Lancet “condemn[ing] conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural
origin.” The statement continued, “Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumours, and
prejudice that jeopardise our global collaboration in the fight against this virus.” The emails show
Daszak’s effort to organize a large group of scientists to sign onto a statement that he personally
drafted. One email concludes with Daszak stating, “Please note that this statement will not have
EcoHealth Alliance logo on it and will not be identifiable as coming from any one organization or
person, the idea is to have this as a community supporting our colleagues.”
The emails, sent from Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance email account, also reveal the statement was
drafted in response to a request by WIV researchers with whom Daszak had worked (emphasis
added):
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Calisher, Charles et al. “Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of China
combatting COVID-19.” Lancet, 7 Mar. 2020, 395(10226): e42-e43. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32087122/
Ibid.
Daszak, Peter. Email to Linda Saif, Hume Field, JM Hughe, Rita Colweel, Alison Andrew, Aleksei Chmura, Hongying Li, William B.
Karesh, and Robert Kessler. 6 Feb. 2020. https://usrtk.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/The_Lancet_Emails_Daszak-2.6.20.pdf
Daszak, Peter. Email to Rita Colwell. 8 Feb. 2020. https://usrtk.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/The_Lancet_Emails_Daszak2.8.20.pdf
Wang, Linfa. “Curicullum Vitae.” https://globalhealth.duke.edu/sites/default/files/cv/cv-linfa_wang-jan2017.pdf
You should know that the conspiracy theorists have been very active, targeting our
collaborators with some extremely unpleasant web pages in China, and some have now
received death threats to themselves and their families. They have asked for any show
of support we can give them.
In a separate email, Daszak states that Linfa Wang (who did not sign the statement) pushed for
Daszak and Baric to not sign the statement, effectively hiding their involvement. As previously
discussed, Linfa Wang, who is copied on several other emails about the statement, was a coauthor of
multiple Daszak/Shi/Hu papers. Wang is currently the Director and Professor of the Program in
Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore. He is a PRC
national who received his B.S. in biochemistry from the East China Normal University in Shanghai,
PRC before completing a Ph.D. in molecular biology at the University of California, Davis in the
United States.
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In January 2020, Wang was at the WIV in Wuhan, visiting researchers he worked with. Given his
previous publications, this likely included a vsiit with Hu and Shi, with whom he has authored dozens
of papers. He departed the city on January 18th, less than three weeks before Daszak externally
circulated his draft Lancet statement. Wang is included on the email soliciting cosigners.
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Kupferschmidt, Kai. “This Biologist Helped Trace SARS to Bats. Now, He’s Working to Uncover the Origins of COVID-19.” Science, 9 Sept.
2020, www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/09/biologist-helped-trace-sars-bats-now-hes-working-uncover-origins-covid-19.
Daszak (6 Feb.)
Daszak, Peter. Email to Ralph Baric, Toni Baric, Alison Andre, and Aleksei Chmura. 6 Feb. 2020. https://usrtk.org/wpcontent/uploads/2021/02/Baric_Daszak_email.pdf
Wang.
Calisher.
Editors of The Lancet. “Addendum: competing interests and the origins of SARS-CoV-2.” The Lancet, 26 June 2021, 397: 2449-50.
https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S0140-6736%2821%2901377-5
Ibid.
McNutt, Marcia, et al. “NASEM Response to OSTP Re Coronavirus_February 6, 2020.” Received by Kelvin Droegemeier , National
Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, 6 Feb. 2020, Washington, District of Columbia.
https://www.nationalacademies.org/documents/link/LDA8FF8BAB7F1D4A98AC250C7916649E610A15AD51C6/fileview/DA215521A660F4
0FD8D752FFB82A8E21FA8D3C29976D/NASEM%20Response%20to%20OSTP%20re%20Coronavirus_February%206%2C%202020.pdf?
hide=thumbs+breadcrumbs+favs+props+nextprev+sidebar+pin+actions&scheme=light&fitwidth
I spoke with Linfa last night about the statement we sent round. He thinks, and I agree
with him, that you, me and him should not sign this statement, so it has some distance
from us and therefore doesn’t work in a counterproductive way… We’ll then put it out in
a way that doesn’t link it back to our collaboration so we maximize an independent
voice.
While pushing for Daszak and Baric, the WIV’s most prominent American collaborators, to
hide their efforts to organize this statement, Wang was serving as the Chair of the Scientific
Advisory Board for the Center for Emerging Diseases at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, of
which Shi Zheng-li is the Director.
Baric agreed and chose not to sign. It is unclear why Daszak ultimately changed his mind and signed
the statement. Despite Daszak’s role as the organizer of the Lancet statement, Charles Calisher is
listed as the corresponding author. Oddly, the email address listed for Calisher is a generic one
(COVID19statement@gmail.com ) that appears to have been created specifically for this statement,
an unusual practice for scientific publications.
The February 2021 Lancet statement declared the authors had “no competing interest,” despite
Daszak organizing the letter on behalf of WIV researchers who he funded and with whom he
collaborated. In June 2020, after public concerns regarding Daszak’s connection to the WIV, “the
Lancet invited the 27 authors of the letter to re-evaluate their competing interests.” Daszak
submitted a revised disclosure statement which, while transparent about his prior work with
PRC researchers, fails to reference the WIV or disclose that he drafted the statement at the
request of PRC researchers.
In the email, Daszak states, (emphasis added):
Copies of these emails are included in the Appendix.
The emails also reveal that Daszak helped edit a letter sent on February 6, 2020 by the Presidents of
the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to the White House Office of
Science and Technology Policy regarding the origins of COVID-19.
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While not included in the final version, the last draft edited by Daszak and the other experts who
were consulted included a line stating, “The initial views of the experts is that the available genomic
data are consistent with natural evolution and that there is currently no evidence that the virus was
engineered to spread more quickly among humans.” Daszak actually pushed for broader language, as
he believed “this is a bit too specific, because there are other conspiracy theories out there.” It is
unclear why the sentence was removed by the Presidents of the U.S. National Academies before the
letter was sent to the White House. Daszak specifically sought to time the publication of his statement
in The Lancet for after this letter was released. And the statement references the letter as proof of the
virus’ natural origin, without disclosing that Daszak helped edit it. It is highly likely that senior
government officials, including Dr. Fauci, would have seen both the letter from the U.S. National
Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the statement published in The Lancet,
shaping their opinion and stifling debate within the U.S. federal government regarding the origins of
COVID-19.
Sixteen months after sending this initial letter, the Presidents of the U.S. National Academies of
Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released an updated statement on June 15, 2021, titled, “Let
Scientific Evidence Determine Origin of SARS-CoV-2, Urge Presidents of the National Academies.”
This updated statement acknowledges there are scenarios that the origin of the pandemic could have
resulted from a lab leak, stating (emphasis added):
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Ibid.
Unlike the letter to the White House, this statement does not state which, if any, outside experts were
consulted when drafting the statement.
Interestingly, three weeks later, in July 2021, Daszak and his colleagues released an update to their
February 2020 statement with a very similar title: “Science, not speculation, is essential to determine
how SARS-CoV-2 reached humans.” The second statement was signed by 24 of the original 27
authors and reflects a major step back from those authors’ original position (emphasis added):
However, misinformation, unsubstantiated claims, and personal attacks on scientists
surrounding the different theories of how the virus emerged are unacceptable, and are
sowing public confusion and risk undermining the public’s trust in science and scientists,
including those still leading efforts to bring the pandemic under control… In the case of
SARS-CoV-2, there are multiple scenarios that could, in principle, explain its origin with
varying degrees of plausibility based on our current understanding. These scenarios
range from natural zoonotic spillover (when a virus spreads from non-human
animals to humans) to those that are associated with laboratory work.
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Calisher, Charles H et al. “Science, not speculation, is essential to determine how SARS-CoV-2 reached humans.” Lancet, 5 July 2021,
398:209-211. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8257054/
Calisher (Feb.)
Calisher (July)
Testimony from former senior U.S. official received by Committee Minority Staff.
Joint Report – ANNEXES.
Ibid.
Ibid.
This is quite different from Daszak’s words in the first border-line propaganda statement
“condemn[ing] conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”
Despite this softening, the authors continue to accuse those who seek to investigate the lab leak
hypothesis of being the source of the PRC’s unwillingness to cooperate with an international
investigation:
The second intent of our original Correspondence was to express our working view
that SARS-CoV-2 most likely originated in nature and not in a laboratory, on the
basis of early genetic analysis of the new virus and well-established evidence from
previous emerging infectious diseases, including the coronaviruses that cause the
common cold as well as the original SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. Opinions, however,
are neither data nor conclusions. Evidence obtained using the scientific method must
inform our understanding and be the basis for interpretation of the available information.
Allegations and conjecture are of no help, as they do not facilitate access to information
and objective assessment of the pathway from a bat virus to a human pathogen that might
help to prevent a future pandemic. Recrimination has not, and will not, encourage
international cooperation and collaboration.
Whereas the first statement cited the letter from the Presidents of the U.S. National Academies of
Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (which Daszak helped edit), the second cites the Presidents’
statement released just weeks prior. This raises the question of whether Daszak, or any of the authors,
assisted in drafting or editing the June 15th statement issues by the National Academies.
It should also be noted that Daszak was the only representative of the United States on the WHOChina Joint Study team in early 2021. The United States put forth a list of experts to be considered,
none of whom were chosen. Daszak was not on that list but was nevertheless selected and approved
by the CCP. The annexes of the WHO’s report on the origins of COVID-19, issued in March 2021,
include multiple examples of CCP disinformation that have been repeated by Daszak. This include a
discussion of “conspiracy theories,” which include the lab leak hypothesis and questions regarding
the possible genetically modified nature of SARS-CoV-2. It also refers to the WIV’s sequence
database that was taken offline as a “rumour about missing data.” This is similar language to that
which Daszak used during his Chatham House interview – despite the database remaining offline.
Committee Minority Staff was unable to determine whether Daszak assisted in the drafting or editing
of the WHO report.
Interestingly, three weeks later, in July 2021, Daszak and his colleagues released an update to their
February 2020 statement with a very similar title: “Science, not speculation, is essential to determine
how SARS-CoV-2 reached humans.” The second statement was signed by 24 of the original 27
authors and reflects a major step back from those authors’ original position (emphasis added):
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EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK COVER-UP
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Subbaraman.
Latinne, Alice et al. “Origin and cross-species transmission of bat coronaviruses in China.” Nature Communications, 25 Aug. 2020, 11(1):4235,
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7447761/
Ibid.
Ibid.
Lauer, Michael. Email to Peter Daszak. 24 April 2020.
https://www.sciencemag.org/sites/default/files/Lauer.Daszak.NIH%20grant%20killed.partial%20email%20transcripts.April%202020.pdf
Latinne
Daszak, Peter et al. “A strategy to prevent future epidemics similar to the 2019-nCoV outbreak.” Biosafety and Health, March 2020, 2(1): 6-8.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7144510/
Ibid.
Peter Daszak has taken several additional concerning actions in regard to the origins of COVID-19,
including inexplicably lying about the work conducted by EcoHealth Alliance in the months
following the emergence of SARS-CoV-2. In an August 21, 2020, interview with Nature, after the
NIH suspended the grants he was using to fund research at the WIV, Daszak claimed “The grant isn’t
used to fund work on SARS-CoV-2. Our organization has not actually published any data on SARSCoV-2.” This is despite the fact that four days later Nature Communications published “Origin and
cross-species transmission of bat coronaviruses in China.” Daszak, Shi, Hu, and Wang are all listed
as authors, with Shi and Daszak both being listed as corresponding authors. The preprint for the
article was uploaded on May 31, 2020, almost three months before Daszak’s interview with Nature.
The paper includes a phylogenetic analysis “suggesting a likely origin for SARS-CoV-2 in
Rhinolophus spp. bats.” Daszak, Shi, three EcoHealth Alliance affiliated researchers, and Linfa
Wang are credited with designing the study, conducting fieldwork, and establishing collection and
testing protocols.
The research was funded by the NIH (grant no. R01AI110964) and USAID’s PREDICT project
(cooperative agreement number GHN-A-OO-09-00010-00), as well as the Strategic Priority Research
Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant no. XDB29010101) that Shi was directing. It
also received support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grants no. 31770175
and 31830096). The paper notes:
All work conducted by EcoHealth Alliance staff after April 24th 2020 was supported by
generous funding from The Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust, Pamela Thye, The Wallace
Fund, & an Anonymous Donor c/o Schwab Charitable.
April 24th was the day the NIH terminated the project Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus
Emergence, which was funded under grant R01AI110964, which is cited in the paper as funding this
work. The grant Daszak told Nature was not being used to fund work on SARS-CoV-2 is cited in a
paper presenting research on SARS-CoV-2.
Earlier, in March 2020, Peter Daszak and two other EcoHealth Alliance affiliated researchers
published “A strategy to prevent future epidemics similar to the 2019-nCoV outbreak.” While the
paper lacked lab experimentation, it discussed SARS-CoV-2 and claimed that “wildlife trade has
clearly played a role in the emergence of” the virus. This work was also funded by the same NIH
grant (grant no. R01AI110964), as well as the same cooperative agreement with USAID’s PREDICT
Project.
In December 2020, Daszak stated in a tweet that the suspension of the aforementioned NIH grant
directly prevented him from accessing samples at the WIV. If the grant did not support EcoHealth
Alliance’s work on SARS-CoV-2, how could it be related to their inability to access SARS-CoV-2
samples?
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EVIDENCE OF A LAB LEAK COVER-UP
57
Subbaraman.
“Sustaining the Response: Inside the WHO-China Mission.” Chatham House, 10 March 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=GMllEF58944&t=3249s.
Kahn, Jennifer. “How Scientists Could Stop the Next Pandemic Before It Starts.” The New York Times, 21 Apr. 2020,
www.nytimes.com/2020/04/21/magazine/pandemic-vaccine.html.
Zhou, (Nov. 2020).
Why did Daszak claim the NIH grant “isn’t used to fund work on SARS-CoV-2” when his own
published research and statements show that it was?
Another concerning example of Daszak’s behavior comes from a March 10, 2021 discussion with
Chatham House. In response to a question about the WIV taking down its viral sequence and sample
database in September 2019 and whether the WHO investigative team requested to see the data, Peter
Daszak stated (emphasis added):
I asked the question in front of the whole team, both sides, while we were at the Wuhan
Institute of Virology, about the so-called missing database. And what we were told, by
Shi Zheng-li, was that there had been hacking attempts on it, about 3,000 hacking
attempts, and they took down this excel spreadsheet-based database. Absolutely
reasonable. We did not ask to see the data, and as you know, a lot of this work is work
that has been conducted with EcoHealth Alliance, and I’m also part of those data, and we
do basically know what’s in those databanks. And I shared, I gave a talk to both sides
about the work we’ve done with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and explained
what’s there. There is no evidence of viruses closer to SARS-CoV-2 than RaTG13 in
those databases. It’s as simple as that.
This is a stunning claim given the database contained more than 22,000 samples and was inaccessible
by anyone outside of the WIV after September 2019. It was physically impossible for Daszak to
remotely access the database after the SARS-CoV-2 genome was released in January 2020 in order to
compare the genome to samples in the database. If not, given that no one outside of the WIV knew
RaTG13 was closely related to SARS-CoV-2 prior to publication in February 2020, how could
Daszak claim to know there is not a closer match in one of the 22,000 plus samples when he
could not access the data? This raises the question of whether he has copy of the database.
Daszak has also been, at best, incorrect about how the WIV handed RaTG13. In an April 21, 2020
interview with the New York Times, he stated (emphasis added):
We found the closest relative to the current SARS-CoV-2 in a bat in China in 2013. We
sequenced a bit of the genome, and then it went in the freezer; because it didn’t look
like SARS, we thought it was at a lower risk of emerging. With the Virome project, we
could have sequenced the whole genome, discovered that it binds to human cells and
upgraded the risk. And maybe then when we were designing vaccines for SARS, those
could have targeted this one too, and we would have had something in the freezer ready
to go if it emerged.
This is, of course, untrue. Researchers at the WIV fully sequenced RaTG13’s genome in 2018.
Either Daszak knew this was untrue, and lied to the New York Times, or he was being kept in the
dark about the work being conducted at the WIV. If the later is true, it raises more questions about
Daszak’s March 2021 claim to know everything in the WIV’s database that was taken offline.
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HYPOTHESIS: A LAB LEAK THAT CAUSED A PANDEMIC
58
V. HYPOTHESIS: A LAB LEAK THAT CAUSED A PANDEMIC
Having examined the evidenced discussed in this addendum, Committee Minority Staff has put
together the following hypothesis that could reasonably represent what could have occurred in the
early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the months leading up to an accidental release of SARS-CoV-2, the hazardous waste treatment
system at the WNBL was undergoing renovation. The central air conditioning system at one of the
facilities needed to be renovated, which likely resulted in lower than ideal air circulation and enabling
viral particles to remain suspended in the air longer. After the July 4, 2019 notice from the Ministry
of Science and Technology, and prior to the September 30th deadline, researchers at the WIV were
reviewing samples collected under grant 2013FY113500, held by Yuan Zhiming, the Director of the
WNBL BSL-4.
This is the same grant which funded:
The 2013 paper reporting the first isolation of a live SARS-like coronavirus after sampling
at the cave in Kunming.
The 2014 paper, which was the result of collecting 986 samples from 39 species of small
mammals in Guangxi and Yunnan provinces.
The 2016 paper, where a second live coronavirus was successfully isolated.
The 2017 paper, where a third live SARS-like coronavirus was isolated and WIV
researchers created eight chimeric coronaviruses with altered spike proteins.
Hu, Shi, and others at the WIV were actively testing novel and genetically manipulated coronaviruses
against hACE2 expressing mice and civets at BSL-2 and BSL-3 conditions, including viruses
collected from the cave in Yunnan where the miners fell ill. A defective hazardous waste treatment
system and central air conditioning system would increase the likelihood of a lab employee (or
several) becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2, as viral particles would be more likely to remain in
the air for longer periods of time. As previously discussed, the WIV provides a shuttle for employees,
transporting individuals from near the old WIV facility in Wuchang to the WNBL and back. The
infected employees (whether from the WNBL or the WIV Headquarters) then traveled throughout
central Wuhan, likely by the metro, spreading the virus.
In early September, it became known that an accidental release occurred. Initially, not knowing
SARS-CoV-2 spreads via human-to-human transmission or that asymptotic people are responsible for
a large number of new cases, concern was low. Concern was additionally tempered by the knowledge
that previous accidental releases from labs resulted in only a small number of infections. Still,
measures are ordered in response. At midnight local time on the morning of September 12th, the
Wuhan University, which sits less than a mile from the WIV Headquarters and whose medical school
houses a BSL-3 lab accredited to experiment on animals, issues a notice for laboratory inspections in
late September. It is likely that officials issued similar orders to other labs in the area. Between two
and three hours later, the WIV’s viral sequence database is taken offline in the middle of the night.
Roughly 17 hours later, at 7:09 p.m. local time, the WIV publishes a procurement announcement for
“security services” at the WNBL, to include gatekeepers, guards, video surveillance, security patrols,
and people to handle the “registration and reception of foreign personnel.” The budget provided was
in excess of $1.2 million.
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226
“Notice of the Resource Allocation and Management Department of the Basic Research Department of the Ministry of Science and Technology
on the Comprehensive Performance Evaluation of Special Projects of Basic Science and Technology Work.” Ministry of Science and
Technology, 4 July 2019. https://archive.is/pIwh4#selection-703.7-711.34
Ge.
“About Wuhan University School of Medicine (WUSM).” Wuhan University School of Medicine, 23 Apr. 2013,
https://wsm70.whu.edu.cn/English_Site/About.htm
“Notice on the implementation of laboratory safety inspections in 2019.” Wuhan University, http://simlab.whu.edu.cn/info/1107/1018.htm
“Status breakdown of the database of characteristic wild animals carrying virus pathogens (September 2019).” Scientific Database Service
Monitoring & Statistics System. https://archive.is/AGtFv#selection-1553.0-1567.2
“Competitive consultation on the procurement project of security services in Zhengdian Science Park, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese
Academy of Sciences.” China Government Procurement Network, 12 Sept. 2019,
https://web.archive.org/web/20210716170719/http://www.ccgp.gov.cn/cggg/dfgg/jzxcs/201909/t20190912_12900712.htm
Ibid.
Epstein, Gady A. “Chinese Admit to SARS Mistakes.” Baltimoresun.com, Baltimore Sun, 1 Apr. 2003, www.baltimoresun.com/balte.sars21apr21-story.html.
59
In order to prevent national embarrassment, the decision was made to allow the 2019 Military World
Games to continue. No spectators were allowed to attend the games, but international athletes and
some of the 236,000 volunteers still become infected, spreading the virus in the city. Dozens of
athletes fall ill with symptoms. Since COVID-19 can infect humans without causing symptoms, an
untold number of athletes and volunteers become infected, but are asymptomatic and unaware they
are infectious.
The athletes return to their home countries in late October, carrying SARS-CoV-2 across the world.
Just as was the case in 2002 with SARS, the CCP sought to hide the outbreak, wasting precious time
that could have been used to prevent the global pandemic. By the time the world was alerted to the
virus spreading in Wuhan, it had already begun to spread around the world.
In December, as cases begin to overload local hospitals, it became impossible to hide the outbreak. At
some point in late 2019, Major General Chen Wei is brought in to take over the BSL-4 lab at the
WNBL and lead the response efforts. The Wuhan Branch of the China CDC set a case definition for
COVID-19 that only included those who have visited the Huanan Seafood Market, meaning that only
people who had a link to the market were identified as having COVID-19. This further obscured the
true origins of the virus.
Linfa Wang, a scientist with ties to the WIV and who has worked with Shi, Hu, and Daszak on the
genetic modification of coronaviruses, was in Wuhan in early January 2020. While there he visited
the WIV and likely met with Shi, Hu, and others. Sometime after his departure on Januarty 18th and
before February 6th, WIV researchers asked Peter Daszak to organize a public statement suppressing
debate regarding the lab as the origin of SARS-CoV-2. On January 20th, WIV researchers submitted
the February 2020 article where ID4991 was renamed as RaTG13 and which contained false
information about when the genomic sequence for the virus was obtained.
At 12:43am on February 6th, Daszak sent the draft statement to Wang, Baric, and others asking them
to join as cosigners. Sometime before Daszak went to bed that night, Wang called him and requested
that he, Daszak, and Baric not sign the statement in order to obfuscate their connections to the WIV.
Baric agreed, and neither him nor Wang signed the statement. The statement was published on
February 19th, declaring discussion of a lab leak a conspiracy theory, and suppressing public debate
on the origins of COVID-19.
HYPOTHESIS: A LAB LEAK THAT CAUSED A PANDEMIC
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RECOMMENDATIONS
60
V. RECOMMENDATIONS
In the previously issued report, Committee Minority Staff provided several recommendations for
actions to be taken by the United States in response to COVID-19, including seeking new leadership
at the WHO, pursuing Taiwan’s re-admittance to the WHO as an observer, engaging in an
international investigation with likeminded WHO Member States regarding the early stages of
COVID-19, and supporting concrete reforms to the International Health Regulations. These
recommendations remain relevant.
In response to the new information laid out in this addendum, there are additional steps that can be
taken by the Committee, Congress more broadly, and the Executive Branch on this issue. Given the
previously detailed inconsistences and CCP disinformation campaign regarding a possible lab leak,
Peter Daszak must be subpoenaed to appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate
Foreign Relations Committee as material witness to this investigation. Committee Minority Staff
attempted, on multiple occasions, to contact Daszak with a list of questions relevant to this report. He
never responded. In contrast, Ralph Baric provided answers to a list of questions from Committee
Minority Staff. His assistance was appreciated, and we believe his testimony would also be useful.
Daszak and Baric should provide expert testimony, including but not limited to the following
questions:
What was the extent of genetic manipulation of coronaviruses and their testing against human
immune systems at the WIV in 2018 and 2019?
Who requested the statement of support published in the Lancet?
Did this request include labeling discussion of a possible lab leak as a conspiracy theory?
What was the nature and content of Wang’s call to Daszak in the early hours of February 6th,
2020?
Why did Daszak make conflicting, and apparently false, statements regarding the NIH grant
terminated in 2020?
How could Daszak confirm RaTG13 is the closet match to SARS-CoV-2 in the WIV’s
database if it was taken offline in September 2019?
Does Daszak have a copy of the WIV’s database that was taken offline?
Who put forth Daszak’s name to join the joint WHO-China investigative team?
Was Daszak aware the funding he was providing directly supported gain-of-function research
by paying for the collection of viruses the WIV later experimented with, even though the
federal government had a moratorium on such research from 2014 through 2017?
Do they believe SARS-CoV-2 could possibly be a genetically modified virus created via a
system similar toBaric’s “no-see-um” method and the system used by WIV researchers in
2016, thus leaving no evidence of manipulation?
Committee Minority Staff also recommends Congress pursue legislation to implement the following
restrictions and sanctions in response to the pandemic:
Institute a ban on conducting and funding any work that includes gain-of-function research
until an international and legally binding standard is set, and only where that standard is
verifiably being followed.
Authorize and fund a public-private partnership for pandemic prevention, warning, and early
detection.
RECOMMENDATIONS
61
Sanction the Chinese Academy of Sciences and affiliated entities.
List the Wuhan Institute of Virology and its leadership on the Specially Designated Nationals
and Blocked Persons List and apply additional, appropriate secondary sanctions.
Expand statutory and administrative sanctions regimes to curb the abuse of dual-use
technology.
Authorize new sanctions for academic, governmental, and military bioresearch facilities that
fail to ensure the appropriate levels of safety and information sharing.
Review all H-2B visas of Chinese nationals engaged in biological, chemical, or related
research in the United States for possible revocation.
Review all student visas of Chinese nationals studying at U.S. academic institutions for
possible revocation.
Additionally, the Executive Branch should engage in international negotiations to establish a legally
binding international standard for laboratory biosafety, to include certification and inspections by an
international organization similar to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Foreign governments facing economic contraction that have entered into agreements under the PRC’s
Belt and Road Initiative are encouraged to examine bilateral agreement terms. In particular,
agreements or memoranda of understanding that promote joint scientific and academic research
wherein the Chinese government has access to natural resources, minerals, plant life, and animals
unique to the nation state. Agreements that promote adaptation of governing structures that centralize
control over all local, municipal, or provincial levels increase the risk of creating national governing
structures that manipulate, misinform, misdirect and gaslight their own citizens to protect centralized
governing structures.
Foreign governments considering entering into bilateral agreements with the PRC are advised to be
aware that based on the information presented within this report, the PRC conducts scientific research
without regard for adequate safety protocols in place, in a manner that does not comport with
international safety standards, and without adequate assessment of the risks scientific research may
pose to the environment, test subjects, or humanity. It is the recommendation of the Committee
Minority Staff that such agreements be avoided.
CONCLUSION
62
VII. CONCLUSION
The Intelligence Community 90-day review report on the origins of COVID-19, ordered by President
Biden, is due no later than August 24, 2021. While based on open source information, it is the hope
of Committee Minority Staff that the collection and analysis contained within this addendum,
produced at the direction of Ranking Member Michael T. McCaul, will help inform the public debate
about the viability of a laboratory accident being the source of SARS-CoV-2. It is vital the public
discourse surround the Wuhan Institute of Virology is transparent, honest, and detailed.
It is the opinion of Committee Minority Staff, based on the preponderance of available
information; the documented efforts to obfuscate, hide, and destroy evidence; and the lack of
physical evidence to the contrary; that SARS-CoV-2 was accidentally released from a Wuhan
Institute of Virology laboratory sometime prior to September 12, 2019. The virus, which may
be natural in origin or the result of genetic manipulation, was likely collected in the identified
cave in Yunnan province, PRC, sometime between 2012 and 2015. Its release was due to poor
lab safety standards and practices, exacerbated by dangerous gain-of-function research being
conducted at inadequate biosafety levels, including BSL-2. The virus was then spread
throughout central Wuhan, likely via the Wuhan Metro, in the weeks prior to the Military
World Games. Those games became an international vector, spreading the virus to multiple
continents around the world.
It is incumbent on the parties identified in this report to respond to the issues raised herein and
provide clarity and any new or additional evidence as soon as possible. As always, Committee
Minority Staff stands ready to receive such evidence or testimony that supports or contradicts this
report. Until such time as the Chinese Communist Party lifts its self-imposed veil of secrecy, explains
its lies regarding the early stages of the pandemic, and provides access to the WIV’s archives and
sample database, questions will remain as to the origins of SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19
pandemic. Until that day, it is incumbent upon the United States and likeminded countries around the
world to ensure accountability, and implement the reforms necessary to prevent the CCP’s
malfeasance from giving rise to a third pandemic during the 21st century.
63
VII. APPENDIX
Timeline of the WIV Lab Leak and the Start of the COVID-19 Pandemic
April 2012: Six miners working in a copper mine located in a cave in Yunnan province of
the PRC fall ill. Between the ages of 30 and 63, the workers presented to a hospital in
Kunming with persistent coughs, fevers, head and chest pains, and breathing difficulties.”
Three of the six died.
Late 2012 – 2015: Researchers from the WIV collect samples from bats in the cave.
2015 – 2017: Shi Zheng-li, Ben Hu, Peter Daszak, and Linfa Wang jointly publish research
on the isolation of novel coronaviruses. They conduct gain-on-function research, testing
novel and genetically manipulated coronaviruses against mice and other animals expressing
human immune systems. At times they collaborate with Ralph Baric.
2018 – 2019: Shi, Hu, and other researchers at the WIV infect transgenic mice and civets
expressing human immune systems with unpublished novel and genetically modified
coronaviruses.
July 4, 2019: The PRC’s Ministry of Science and Technology orders a review of several
grants, including grant no. 2013FY113500. This is the grant which funded the collection of
hundreds of coronaviruses and bat samples from the cave in Yunnan province.
July 16, 2019: The WIV publishes a tender requesting bids to conduct renovation on the
hazardous waste treatment system at the Wuhan National Biosafety Lab (WNBL). The
closing date was July 31st.
Late August/Early September 2019: One or more researchers become accidently infected
with SARS-CoV-2, which was either collected in the Yunnan cave, or the result of gain-offunction research at the WIV. They travel by metro in central Wuhan, spreading the virus.
September 12, 2019: At 12:00am local time, the Wuhan University issues a statement
announcing lab inspections. Between 2:00am and 3:00am, the WIV’s viral sequence and
sample database is taken offline. At 7:09pm, the WIV publishes a tender requesting bids to
provide security services at the WNBL.
September – October 2019: Car traffic at hospitals surrounding the WIV Headquarters, as
well as the shuttle stop for the WNBL, show a stead increase before hitting its highest
levels in 2.5 years. Baidu search terms for COVID-19 related symptoms increase in a
corresponding manner.
APPENDIX
Late October – Early November 2019: The international athletes return home, carrying
SARS-CoV-2 around the world.
64
November 21, 2019: A 4-year-old boy from Milan, Italy develops a cough. His samples
will later test positive for COVID-19.
November 27, 2019: Samples of wastewater are collected in Brazil that will later test
positive for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA.
December 1, 2019: The CCP’s first “official” case of COVID-19 become infected.
Late 2019: Major General Chen Wei arrives in Wuhan, taking over the WNBL BSL-4 lab.
Dec. 27, 2019: A Chinese genomic company reportedly sequenced most of the virus in
Wuhan and results showed a similarity to SARS. Zhang Jixian, a doctor from Hubei
Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, tells PRC health
authorities that a novel disease affecting some 180 patients was caused by a new
coronavirus.
Dec. 29, 2019: Wuhan Municipal CDC organized an expert team to investigate after the
Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine and other hospitals
find additional cases.
Dec. 30, 2019: Doctors in Wuhan report positive tests for “SARS Coronavirus” to local
health officials. Under the 2005 International Health Regulations, the PRC is required to
report these results to the WHO within 24 hours. They do not.
APPENDIX
Dec. 31, 2019: WHO officials in Geneva become aware of media reports regarding an
outbreak in Wuhan and direct the WHO China Country Office to investigate.
Jan. 2020: Linfa Wang meets with collaborators at the WIV, likely including Shi and Hu.
Jan. 1, 2020: Hubei Provincial Health Commission official orders gene sequencing
companies and labs who had already determined the novel virus was similar to SARS to
stop testing and to destroy existing samples. Dr. Li Wenliang is detained for “rumor
mongering.”
Jan. 2, 2020: The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) completes gene sequencing of the
virus, but the CCP does not share the sequence or inform the WHO. PRC aggressively
highlights the detentions of the Wuhan doctors.
Jan. 3, 2020: China’s National Health Commission ordered institutions not to publish any
information related to the “unknown disease” and ordered labs to transfer samples to CCP
controlled national institutions or destroy them.
Jan. 11-12, 2020: After a researcher in Shanghai leaks the gene sequence online, the CCP
transmits the WIV’s gene sequencing information to the WHO that was completed 10 days
earlier. The Shanghai lab where the researcher works is ordered to close.
65
Jan. 14, 2020: Xi Jinping is warned by a top Chinese health official that a pandemic is
occurring.
Jan. 18, 2020: Linfa Wang departs Wuhan.
Jan. 20, 2020: WIV researchers submitted an article claiming that SARS-CoV-2 is natural
in origin. The article renames ID4991 as RaTG13 and contained false information about
when the genomic sequence for the virus was obtained.
Jan. 23, 2020: The CCP institutes a city-wide lockdown of Wuhan. However, before the
lockdown goes into effect, an estimated 5 million people leave the city.
Last Week of January 2020: Daszak and other outside experts edit a letter to be sent by
the Presidents of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to the
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Daszak pushes for language to
address “conspiracy theories.”
Jan. 30, 2020: One week after declining to do so, Tedros declares a Public Health
Emergency of International Concern.
APPENDIX
Late Jan. – Early Feb. 2020: PRC researchers, likely those at the WIV, request Peter
Daszak’s assistance in responding to suggestions of a lab leak or genetic manipulation of
SARS-CoV-2. Daszak helps edit the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and
Medicine’s response to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on the
origins of COVID-19.
Feb. 3, 2020: The WIV researchers’ paper submitted on January 20th is published by
Nature online.
Feb. 6, 2020 at 12:43:40 am: Daszak sends the draft Lancet statement, which cites the
Feb. 3 WIV paper, to Wang, Baric, and others asking them to join as cosigners. Within
hours, Wang calls him, informs Daszak that he will not sign, and requests that neither
Daszak or Baric sign.
Feb. 6, 2020 (Afternoon): At 3:16pm, Daszak send a High Important email to Baric,
forwarding Wang’s request, and informing Baric the statement will be “put out in a way
that doesn’t link it back to our collaboration.” At 4:01:22 pm, Baric agrees to not sign the
statement.
Feb. 7, 2020: Dr. Li, who first shared the positive SARS test results with his classmates via
WeChat, dies from COVID-19.
Feb. 9, 2020: The death toll for COVID-19 surpasses that of SARS.
Feb. 15, 2020: First death from COVID-19 outside of Asia occurs, in France.
66
APPENDIX
Feb. 16, 2020: WHO and PRC officials begin a nine-day “WHO-China Joint Mission on
Coronavirus Disease 2019” and travel to the PRC to examine the outbreak and origin of
COVID-19. Many team members, including at least one American, were not allowed to
visit Wuhan.
Feb. 18, 2020: Daszak statement is published by the Lancet online, which references the
letter from the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine he helped
write and the WIV’s February 3rd paper on the origins of COVID-19. Despite drafting the
letter, Daszak is not listed as the corresponding author.
Feb. 25, 2020: For the first time, more new cases are reported outside of PRC than within.
Feb. 26, 2020: The WHO-China Joint Mission issues its findings, praising the PRC for its
handling of the outbreak.
Feb. 29, 2020: The first reported COVID-19 death in the United States occurs.
March 11, 2020: The WHO officially declares the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic after
114 countries had already reported 118,000 cases including more than 1,000 in the United
States.
Nov. 17, 2020: As a result of public pressure, Shi, Hu, and other WIV researchers publish
an addendum to their February 3rd paper, confirming that RaTG13 was ID4991 collected
from the cave in Yunnan, and revealing they collected 293 coronaviruses from the cave
between 2012 and 2015.
June 15, 2021: The Presidents of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering,
and Medicine release a statement saying, “let scientific evidence determine origin of
SARS-CoV-2.”
June 21, 2021: After public pressure, Daszak updates his public disclosure form for the
Lancet statement. He does not mention the WIV or that the statement was drafted at the
request of PRC researchers.
July 5, 2021: Daszak and 23 of the original 27 authors release an update to their February
2021 statement, walking back their labeling of public debate around the source of the virus
as “conspiracy theories.”
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China Center for Disease and Control Memo on Supplementary Regulations
67
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68
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69
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71
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72
JCPM Confidential Notice on the Standardization of the Management of Publication of Novel
Coronavirus Pneumonia Scientific Research
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73
74
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75
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78
APPENDIX
February 6, 2020, Email at 12:43am from Peter Daszak to Ralph Baric, Linfa Wang, and Others
Inviting Them to Sign the Statement
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80
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82
APPENDIX
February 6, 2020, Email at 3:16pm from Peter Daszak to Ralph Baric Relaying Wang’s Request
Not to Sign the Statement
February 8, 2020, Email at 8:52pm from Peter Daszak to Rita Colwell Alleging WIV Researchers
Requested the Statement
APPENDIX
83

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