Senators are demanding answers about a Montana lab where U.S. taxpayer money was used to manipulate coronaviruses before the pandemic.
DailyMail.com revealed last week how government-sponsored researchers infected bats with a “SARS-like” virus in 2018 as part of a collaboration with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is at the center of the Covid cover-up scandal.
Republican Senators Joni Ernst of Iowa and Eric Schmitt of Missouri will send a letter today to the National Institutes of Health demanding to ‘know more about potentially risky research’ conducted at Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML).
The senators’ letter, seen by DailyMail.com, says: “There is no room for error and no excuse for carelessness, as even a minor mishap can be catastrophic when it comes to dangerous biological agents, especially those with pandemic potential.” .
The letter raises 10 questions, including how many live bats are currently housed in the lab and future experiments planned.
Photos of bats confined at the Maryland Zoo that sent the animals to an NIH lab for coronavirus experiments in 2018 obtained by the White Coat Waste Project
Questions include: “Will the revamped RML conduct gain-of-function research or any other type of experimentation that enhances the pathogenicity of infectious agents or creates chimeric versions?”
‘Should any biosafety incident occur at RML, how will Congress and the public be notified?’
‘Where do RML’s laboratory animals come from? Are bats or other animals being imported from foreign countries?
The senators’ letter highlighted that the lab had previously reported a series of protocol violations, including a mouse infected with an Ebola-like virus that escaped its cage and roamed freely for a day and unauthorized people, including a child, found wandering near the laboratory’s primate facilities. .
The CDC was not immediately alerted to the violations because, according to the letter, lab officials “did not believe it was necessary to report the escaped rodent, but later did so when told to do so by CDC officials.”
Last week’s revelation was met with anger among politicians who said it revealed disturbing links between the NIH, which at the time was under the leadership of Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the Chinese laboratory feared to have sparked the global coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19.
He also exposed controversial investigative tactics funded by American taxpayer money.
In the 2018 collaboration, Rocky Mountain researchers infected 12 Egyptian fruit bats that had been acquired from a shady “roadside” zoo in Maryland.
The animals were infected with a “SARS-like” virus called coronavirus WIV1 to study the behavior and transmissibility of the virus. The virus had been sent from the Wuhan laboratory FBI believed to have caused the Covid pandemic, although research determined the new virus could not cause a “strong infection.”
Rocky Mountain Laboratories was built in 1928 in Hamilton, Montana, and is a “state-of-the-art biomedical research facility,” the NIH said. A key component of the facility is its research on vector-borne diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease, as well as coronaviruses and antibiotic-resistant diseases.
Now, the lab is spending $125 million in Covid-19 funds to build a new biosafety level 2 laboratory that will support animal breeding, keeping and testing programs, as well as quarantine for animals classified as biosafety levels. 3 and 4.
The new facility will also expand RML’s capabilities for studies involving exotic species, including bats.
Senators sent a letter to the NIH asking 10 questions about a lab in Montana that conducts dangerous virus experiments on animals.
Shi Zhengli, nicknamed the ‘Bat Lady’ or ‘Bat Woman’ for her work on bat coronaviruses, investigated the possibility that Covid could have emerged from her lab in 2020, according to her colleagues.
WCW Senior Vice President Justin Goodman told DailyMail.com: “We applaud Senator Ernst for taking swift and decisive action to hold the NIH accountable for wasting taxpayer money on cruel, unnecessary and potentially catastrophic animal testing in its Montana bioagent super lab, which has a history of animal leaks and safety violations.
The senators added that they are also concerned about the work the NIH is doing with the nonprofit scientific research organization EcoHealth Alliance.
Senator Joni Ernst told DailyMail.com in a statement: ‘We have seen the horror film of Chinese state laboratory Wuhan’s experiments on coronaviruses in bats, and I have worked to defund dangerous Ecohealth projects.
‘Voluntarily allowing the sequel to be produced at the expense of taxpayers is simply insane. But under Fauci’s leadership, Rocky Mountain Lab has ramped up its risky research into pandemic potential.
“We cannot allow what happened in Wuhan to happen on our own shores, which is why I am working to prevent any future lab leaks.”
The RML has a long and continuing history of collaboration with the organization, which lawmakers describe as “the virus hunting group that diverted American taxpayer money to the Wuhan Institute for Bat Coronavirus Research.”
They said the EHA violated the health agency’s grant policies by failing to notify officials when the EHA’s subcontractor, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, improved coronaviruses in its laboratories and repeatedly refusing requests to provide documents about those. experiments, which senators claim could hold crucial clues about the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The senators added: ‘Needless to say, we are deeply concerned (the) NIH continues to invite this shady organization to collaborate, especially on pandemic prevention studies, as the group has so far not prevented any pandemics, but may have caused a.
‘Frankly, it sounds too much like a bad horror movie sequel, with the same cast of characters and a predictable plot.
“Therefore, we would like to know more about RML’s past, present and future experimentation with select agents and dangerous pathogens, as well as collaborations with EcoHealth Alliance.”
The 10 questions from legislators to the NIH are:
1. What is RML’s anticipated annual budget for the next fiscal year and the last five fiscal years, including any supplemental or COVID-related funding?
2. What is the total number of bats and other live animals currently found in RML, broken down by species?
3. What is the total number of live bats and other live animals expected to be housed in the expanded RML facility, delineated by species?
4. Where do RML laboratory animals come from? Are bats or other animals being imported from foreign countries?
5. Are there any current or future RML projects involving EcoHealth Alliance or collaborators of the organization? List all past and current RML projects that include collaborators representing or affiliated with EcoHealth Alliance and describe participation.
6. Are there any future or pending RML projects involving researchers, laboratories and other institutions and individuals based in the People’s Republic of China? List all past, present and planned RML projects involving collaborations with researchers, laboratories and other institutions and individuals based in the People’s Republic of China and describe your involvement.
7. Will the renewed RML conduct gain-of-function research or any other type of experimentation that enhances the pathogenicity of infectious agents or creates chimeric versions? If so, how will Congress and the public be informed about such planned experiments at RML?
8. How will Congress and the public be informed about proposed RML research involving select agents, defined by the CDC as “biological agents and toxins that have been determined to have the potential to pose a serious threat to health and safety?” public safety?”
9. Should a biosecurity incident occur at RML, how will Congress and the public be notified?
10. Describe and detail all RML experiments and/or studies with live bats or live non-human primates, prior to December 2019, involving a SARS-like virus or a chimera of a SARS-like virus. Include the GenBank reference number for the viruses studied or, if the sequences are not published, explain why.