Scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China were intentionally merging dangerous coronaviruses to create new mutant viruses just before the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to a new report. At the same time, the Chinese military was pursuing biological weapons while also funding researchers at the Wuhan lab, investigators reportedly said.
The Sunday Times published an eye-opening report that accuses China of engineering mutant coronaviruses for malicious purposes, including using the new virus as a bioweapon while developing a vaccine to protect their citizens.
"As the world emerged from lockdown, U.S. State Department investigators were given access to secret intelligence on what had been happening in China in the months and years before COVID emerged," the report read. "More than a dozen investigators were given unparalleled access to 'metadata, phone information and internet information' from intercepts collected by the U.S. intelligence services."
The Sunday Times spoke with three members of the investigative team, which determined: "Wuhan scientists were conducting experiments on RaTG13 from the Moijang mine, and that covert military research, including laboratory animal experiments, was being done at the institute before the pandemic."
The source claimed that scientists at the Wuhan lab were working on nine different COVID variants.
In 2012, six men clearing an abandoned copper mine in the Mojiang region of south China were infected with a mystery illness, that had symptoms of fever, coughs, and pneumonia. Three of the men required treatment at a hospital and later died. The men did not test positive for any known illnesses, but did have antibodies for an unknown coronavirus.
The cave in Mojiang had a large bat colony, and the cave was littered with guano – bat feces.
A virus was recovered from the cave in the remote mountains of Yunnan province in southern China. The discovery was made by the team led by Dr. Shi Zhengli – a top Chinese researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, who was known as China's "bat woman."
Around 2018, the Wuhan Institute of Virology reportedly began combining SARS-like viruses with the cave virus labeled as "WIV1," using the Wuhan lab's initials. Rutgers University Professor of Chemical Biology Richard Ebright described the project as the most dangerous coronavirus experiment ever undertaken.
The combination of viruses killed 75% of the albino mice with human-like lungs that were infected with – three times as lethal as the original WIV1.
The Sunday Times stated, "The scientists had created a highly infectious super-coronavirus with a terrifying kill-rate that in all probability would never have emerged in nature. The new genetically modified virus was not COVID-19 but it might have been even more deadly if it had leaked."
The gain-of-function experiment was partially funded by EcoHealth Alliance's grant money. However, documents obtained by the Freedom of Information Act show that the deaths of the infected mice were not mentioned in an April 2018 progress report to the NIH by EcoHealth Alliance's president Peter Daszak.
Daszak reportedly applied for more funding, and asked for $14 million over three years from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. However, DARPA rejected the application to fund the research.
"The application, entitled Defuse — which names Daszak, Shi and Baric — proposed the Wuhan laboratory find large numbers of new SARS viruses and mix some of them with their two deadly strains from the Shitou cave — WIV1 and SHC014 — to see what would happen," the Sunday Times said.
In November 2019, several researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology purportedly got sick and were taken to a hospital with symptoms similar to COVID. A relative of one of the laboratory workers allegedly died from the same mystery illness.
"We were rock-solid confident that this was likely COVID-19 because they were working on advanced coronavirus research in the laboratory," an investigator said. "They’re trained biologists in their thirties and forties. Thirty-five-year-old scientists don’t get very sick with influenza.”
At the time of the outbreak, which was a month before the West was made aware of the mystery virus, researchers at the Wuhan lab were conducting dangerous experiments, according to the Sunday Times, citing two U.S. researchers who collaborated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The investigators also saw evidence that the institute was conducting “serial passaging” experiments on at least one of the mine viruses. This is a process in which lab animals are infected with viruses and monitored to see which strain is harmful to their health. The most damaging strain is selected for repeat experiments to encourage the pathogens to mutate into something more deadly. The investigators spoke to a Wuhan institute insider who alleged serial passaging experiments were being carried out on RaTG13. “Humanized mice with the serial passaging is a toxic combination,” said a source. “It speeds up the natural mutation process. So instead of taking years to mutate, it can take weeks or months. It guarantees that you accelerate the natural process."
Dr. Steven Quay, a U.S. scientist who advised the State Department on its investigation, said, "There has never been an example of a bat virus directly infecting humans and killing."
Quay believes COVID-19 was created by inserting a furin cleavage site into one of the mine viruses and then serial passaging it through humanized mice. He submitted a statement to the U.S. Senate explaining the process. “You infect the mice, wait a week or so, and then recover the virus from the sickest mice. Then you repeat. In a matter of weeks this directed evolution will produce a virus that can kill every humanized mouse.” This explains why from the beginning of the outbreak, he says, the pandemic virus was so remarkably well adapted to infect humans.
The Sunday Times noted that there is no published information about the experiments because it was a top-secret program funded by the Chinese military. U.S. State Department investigators determined that the Wuhan Institute of Virology had conducted experiments on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017.
The report stated, "The investigators believe the Chinese military had taken an interest in developing a vaccine for the viruses so they could be used as potential bioweapons. If a country could inoculate its population against its own secret virus, it might have a weapon to shift the balance of world power."
A U.S. investigator told the British outlet, "My view is that the reason Mojiang was covered up was due to military secrecy related to [the army’s] pursuit of dual use capabilities in virological biological weapons and vaccines."
The Sunday Times reported:
The PLA had its own vaccine specialist, Zhou Yusen, a decorated military scientist at the academy, who had collaborated with the Wuhan scientists on a study of the MERS coronavirus and was working with them at the time of the outbreak. Suspicion fell on him after the pandemic because he produced a patent for a COVID vaccine with remarkable speed in February 2020, little more than a month after the outbreak of the virus had first been admitted to the world by China. A report published in April, co-authored by Dr Robert Kadlec, who was responsible for the U.S.’s vaccine development program, concluded that Zhou’s team must have been working on a vaccine no later than November 2019 — just as the pandemic began.
Zhou died in May 2020, at age 54.