The Wuhan Institute of Virology had a ‘serious biocontainment’ incident’ in 2019, was understaffed and marred by safety concerns, according to a Senate report on COVID origins.
The 329-page report on two years of work also states that the first death of COVID in China was in September 2019 – two months earlier than first thought – and that Beijing tried to keep the outbreak from the rest of the world.
The findings included more circumstantial evidence the virus leaked from the lab – but didn’t contain a smoking gun.
‘A careful reading of reports from the WIV spanning more than a three-year period yielded a picture of a struggling institution: underfunded, underregulated, and understaffed,’ the report, led by Senate Intel ranking member Marco Rubio, read.
The report admits that it does not contain any one ”smoking gun’ – which matters most when assessing the origin question.’
The report traces back to July 2019 when an official at the Wuhan Institute of Virology warned of the ‘current shortcomings and foundational problems in the construction, operation, and maintenance’ of the lab complex and directed staff to ‘prioritize solving the urgent problems we are facing.’
Senate Republicans released a 329-page report two years in the making that includes what they call a ‘mountain of circumstantial evidence’ – but no proof – concluding Covid-19 originated in a lab
Then on September 19, 2019, the Wuhan lab shut down its online virus database in the middle of the night, according to the report. Six days later the WIV advised the Wuhan airport on a drill in case of the outbreak of a ‘novel coronavirus.’ Days after that a Wuhan resident known as Su died from what a Chinese biostatistician believes to be Covid-19, the report says.
By October the Chinese legislature was reviewing a draft biosecurity law, noting ‘currently the biosecurity situation in our country is grim’ and listed ‘laboratories that leak biological agents’ as a threat.
By November 2019 the Chinese government was hiding several documented cases of Covid-19.
CCP officials published a report warning: ‘Once you have opened the stores test tubes, it is just as if having opened Pandora’s Box. These viruses come without a shadow and leave without a trace.’
A CCP official traveled that month from Beijing to Wuhan with important instructions from Xi Jinping on ‘the complex and grave situation currently facing safety work,’ the report said.
The CCP did not alert the World Health Organization of the outbreak of a virus ‘of unknown etiology’ until January 2020.
By February 2020, the PRC had launched a campaign to strengthen biosafety at the WIV and other labs throughout the country. ‘Just as Beijing was denying the possibility that COVID-19 came from a lab on the world stage, it was warning its own officials of such risks and rolling out new measures to prevent lab accidents.’
Chinese scientists filed a patent for a Covid-19 vaccine by Feb. 24, 2020 – and the report says the ‘research methodology’ suggests they began work on the vaccine no later than November 2019.
‘Just as Beijing was denying the possibility that COVID-19 came from a lab on the world stage,’ the report read, ‘it was warning its own officials of such risks and rolling out new measures to prevent lab accidents.’
In a February speech to the Chinese politburo, Xi cast a link ‘between the political security of the party-state, public health, and better regulation of biosafety and biosecurity.’
‘A careful reading of reports from the WIV spanning more than a three-year period yielded a picture of a struggling institution: underfunded, underregulated, and understaffed,’ the report, led by Senate Intel ranking member Marco Rubio, read
Meanwhile the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology issued additional regulations to address ‘a long-lasting mechanism to prevent and control biosafety risks.’
‘If the central authorities believed that the initial human infection of SARS-CoV-2 likely occurred at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, it is unclear why they took the time to address biosafety conditions … precisely when the COVID-19 outbreak was at its most acute stage in China and they were urgently mobilizing an all-hands-on-deck response.’
Chinese officials have insisted the lab leak theory is a lie and refused to provide access to international efforts to determine the origin of a virus that has killed 7 million globally.
The report seems to follow in the vein of other intelligence conclusion – containing probable but not provable evidence the lab leak theory once considered a conspiracy by many is true.
The Department of Energy, which oversees biological research labs in the U.S., concluded with ‘low confidence’ in February of this year that the virus most likely came from a lab in Wuhan. The FBI concluded the same with moderate confidence.