OAN’s Brooke Mallory
12:48 PM – Friday, November 3, 2023
A recent investigation has revealed that coronaviruses from the Chinese facility in Wuhan, which is now understood to be the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, were experimented with a little over a year before the worldwide pandemic. These efforts were also funded by U.S. taxpayers.
In 2018, a “SARS-like” virus known as WIV1 was introduced in a lab in Montana, infecting 12 Egyptian fruit bats under the direction of Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health.
The WIV1 coronavirus was reportedly tested on bats obtained from a “roadside” Maryland zoo and was transported from the Wuhan facility, where the FBI now suspects the COVID-19 pandemic originated.
According to data that was made public this week by a campaign organization, the unique virus was unable to generate a “robust infection.”
However, the study provides additional proof of the connections between the U.S. government, the Wuhan lab, and the tax-payer funded risky virus research.
In 2018, the publication of the study was completed, showing that the “SARS-Like Coronavirus WIV1-CoV Does Not Replicate in Egyptian Fruit Bats.” DRASTIC, an online activist organization that looks into the origins of COVID-19 and the lab leak scenario, initially brought attention to the study.
The White Coat Waste Project (WCW), a watchdog group, is currently requesting further information on the experiment under the Freedom of Information Act. The group has been campaigning to prevent American tax funds from being sent abroad to finance controversial virus research.
The 2018 study was conducted under the direction of Fauci, the former head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at the NIH’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana. Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina, a partner with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and the NIH’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories also collaborated on the study.
Twelve Egyptian fruit bats were taken from a Maryland zoo by scientists, who then injected the animals with the WIV1-coronavirus, which was initially identified in Chinese rufous horseshoe bats.
Every day, they examined the bats and took their temperatures and body weights. Researchers also collected samples from the mouths and nostrils of the animals.
Four of the bats were put to sleep on days three, seven, and 28, and their heart, liver, kidney, spleen, bladder, reproductive organs, eyes, and brain were taken out for examination. Antibodies and white blood cell counts were also examined by researchers.
The WIV1-coronavirus did not create “a robust infection,” according to the researchers, who also found “very limited evidence of virus replication.”
The WCW said that the zoo’s curator and director of animal health, who had previously worked at the NIH’s own animal testing labs from 2003 to 2012, had shipped the bats from a “roadside” Maryland zoo to the Montana facility.
The Catoctin Wildlife Preserve (CWP), which is situated in Thurmont, Maryland, less than 15 minutes from Camp David, has a history of violating animal welfare laws. In 2012, the CWP was fined $12,000 for providing subpar care and shelter for animals that was deemed unsafe and negligent.
As of April 2023, records indicate that of the 523 federally controlled creatures housed in the preserve, 241 were bats, 41 of which were Egyptian fruit bats.
“I left heart broken and sad. The enclosures are so small and not well kept. This place is so unkept. It’s awful. It needs to be shut down. You can see the pain in these animals eyes. Something has to be done about this place,” said one reviewer of the establishment.
The United States conducts the majority of gain-of-function virus research across the globe. In gain-of-function trials, pathogens are rendered more lethal or contagious.
Proponents of the experiments argue that they help scientists anticipate future outbreaks, while detractors contend that the hazards of a leak exceed any possible advantages. Due to these concerns, U.S. officials discreetly terminated a $125 million study last month that searched for novel viruses using public funding.
“Our investigation has uncovered the real-life horror story of how a shady roadside zoo whose curator was an NIH animal experimenter shipped off bats to a deadly government virus lab overseen by Dr. Fauci to be infected with a coronavirus obtained directly from the Wuhan lab that experts believe caused COVID,” said the founder of WCW, Anthony Bellotti.
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