A doctor working for the US government visited the facility in Wuhan, where questions about the origins of Covid-19 were raised and safety concerns were raised nearly two years before the start of the pandemic.
Dr. Ping Chen was director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) office in China when she joined the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in October 2017.
The following month she wrote a report expressing her concerns about the laboratory and the staff who worked there.
“It is clear to me from speaking with the technician that there is certainly a need for training support,” Dr. Chen wrote in the memo seen by The New York Post.
The FBI believes that Covid-19 ‘most likely’ originated in a ‘Chinese government-controlled laboratory’ and proponents of the theory have pointed to the WIV – but there is no evidence to prove this claim.
A doctor working for the US government visited the Wuhan facility, where questions about the origins of Covid-19 and safety concerns were raised nearly two years before the start of the pandemic
Dr. Ping Chen was director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) office in China when she joined the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in October 2017
“It is clear to me from speaking with the technician that there is certainly a need for training support,” Dr. Chen wrote in the memo.
“I believe the institute would welcome any assistance and technical support from NIAID,” Dr. Chen wrote of the Wuhan laboratory.
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is seeking more information about the concerns the doctor previously raised.
He believes that a 2018 State Department cable that referenced Chen and other scientists’ doubts about the WIV was more pointed.
“During interactions with WIV laboratory scientists, they noted that the new laboratory has a severe shortage of properly trained technicians and researchers needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory,” it said.
Some of Dr. Chen’s personal concerns about the Wuhan factory have been previously documented.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) was pressured for more information in 2021 by Johnson and Senator Rand Paul.
They were given a redacted copy of Chen’s report and allowed to review it behind closed doors.
However, Johnson was frustrated by the large number of redactions in the version of the report handed to him.
The Ministry of Health later admitted that all redactions had now been made due to national security concerns.
“In the public FOIA document, HHS has included Dr. Chen redacted and claimed to contain privacy and deliberative information,” Johnson said in a letter to the head of the HSS and the National Institutes of Health on Thursday.
“It seems clear that the only reason HHS redacted this information was to hide the contents of the report from the American people.
Dr. Chen wrote a report the following month expressing her concerns about the laboratory and the staff who worked there
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is seeking more information about the concerns the doctor previously raised
He was frustrated by the large number of redactions in the version of Chen’s report given to him
“Perhaps HHS did not want the public to fully understand that NIH and NIAID officials were aware of safety issues at WIV as early as 2017.”
Those who believe the “lab leak” theory have suggested that the pandemic began at the WIV, where “gain-of-function” research on the bat coronavirus was conducted, some of which was funded by the US taxpayer.
The HHS told Congress on Tuesday that the Wuhan facility would no longer receive US government funding until at least July 2033.
It pointed out that the laboratory did not comply with government regulations.
Senator Johnson, the ranking member of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, interviews Dr. Chen demanded.
He is also calling for unredacted copies of her 2017 report, her private communications about it, and other materials related to the WIV.
“HHS and NIH continue to hinder my oversight efforts. It is unacceptable that HHS and NIH rejected Dr. Chen and provided only a slightly less edited version for my staff to review behind closed doors,” he said.
Johnson sent a letter with these demands to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and NIH Acting Director Lawrence Tabak.
Nearly seven million people have died worldwide due to the coronavirus, including 1.1 million in the US.
Dailymail.com has contacted the HSS and NIAID for comment.