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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Newly-released documents have revealed that – far before COVID-19 was a daily presence in most American’s lives – the U.S. government was actively pursuing joint research relationships with China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) – ever since 2017, in order to prepare for “future pandemics.”
In October 2017, Associate Director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases Gray Handley emailed colleagues that China had “interest” in participating in the Global Virome Project, “a collaborative scientific initiative to discover zoonotic viral threats & stop future pandemics” according to the organization’s website.
“U.S.-China collaboration on the Global Virome Project is an opportunity to lead innovation in science, collaborate with China, and potentially contribute to scientific breakthroughs,” Handley said.
Handley’s email was part of 92 pages of documents obtained and released this week by the conservative group Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit with the National Institutes of Health. The documents note that the “U.S.-China collaboration” would take place over a number of years, and would include training for Wuhan lab scientists in 2018, with a concentration on “pandemic preparedness” that would “enable rapid detection” of viruses to prevent outbreaks.
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The State Department was also involved in this situation, the documents show.
Emails sent between U.S. and Chinese health officials, according to the documents, include a 2018 exchange that discusses WIV research into bats that showed that they “harbor highly pathogenic viruses like Ebola, Marburg and SARS coronavirus but do not show clinical signs of disease.”
Another email, this one with redacted information, seems to indicate a potential visit to China by members of EcoHealth Alliance, a research group that received $600,000 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the direction of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), headed up by Dr. Anthony Fauci. The grant is alleged to have funded gain-of-function research at WIV, which is medical research that alters an organism or disease in a way that increases pathogenesis, transmissibility, or host range.
However, by January 2020, inquires into reports of the outbreak of COVID-19 in China were downplayed by the Chinese government, who U.S. health officials noted were not being forthcoming with information. In addition, widespread rumors – which are gaining more and more credibility lately – allege that the virus was human-engineered and that a possible leak at WIV was the potential starting point for the ongoing, two-plus year global pandemic.