An investigative report by the Daily Mail has uncovered that U.S. taxpayer funds were allocated for experiments involving coronaviruses from the Chinese lab suspected to be linked to the COVID pandemic's onset over a year before the global outbreak.
In 2018, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spearheaded by Dr. Anthony Fauci, conducted an experiment involving 12 Egyptian fruit bats in a Montana lab. The bats were infected with a 'SARS-like' virus known as WIV1, which was sourced from the Wuhan lab currently under scrutiny for potential links to the pandemic's genesis.
The study, titled “SARS-Like Coronavirus WIV1-CoV Does Not Replicate in Egyptian Fruit Bats”, published in the Viruses Journal in 2018, showed that the virus did not cause a substantial infection in the bats. The research was initially highlighted by DRASTIC, an activist group probing the origins of COVID-19.
The experiment took place at the NIH's Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, overseen by Fauci. The effort was a collaborative initiative between the NIH's Montana laboratory and Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina, a known collaborator with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Records indicate that the bats used in this experiment were sourced from the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve in Maryland. The preserve, which has faced past criticisms for animal welfare violations, is located near Camp David.
The watchdog group White Coat Waste Project, recognized for its efforts to curtail the allocation of U.S. tax dollars for high-risk virus research overseas, has sought additional details about this experiment through the Freedom of Information Act.
The Daily Mail reported:
On days three, seven and 28, four of the bats were euthanized and their heart, liver, kidney, spleen, bladder, reproductive organs, eyes and brain were collected for analysis. Scientists also analyzed white blood cell count and antibodies.
Researchers determined the WIV1-coronavirus did not cause 'a robust infection' and 'observed very limited evidence of virus replication.'
The bats had been sent from a 'roadside' Maryland zoo to the Montana facility allegedly by the zoo's curator and director of animal health, who had previously worked at the in-house animal testing labs at the NIH from 2003 to 2012, the WCW said.
Located in Thurmont, Maryland, less than 15 minutes from Camp David, the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve (CWP) has a history of animal welfare violations and was fined $12,000 in 2012 for poor and dangerous animal housing and inadequate animal care.
Records show the preserve confined 523 federally-regulated animals as of April 2023, including 241 bats, of which 41 were Egyptian fruit bats.
While debates continue over the origins of the pandemic, with discussions revolving around zoonotic transmission and the potential for a lab leak, government agencies, including the FBI, appear to be increasingly inclined toward the lab-leak theory.