This is a corroboration of a few recent reports from various news outlets in India and external sources. We face another grave under-reported fact in a “top-shelf authoritative source” CV. Or CR. The ramifications are vast.
We have much more of these to disclose in the near future.
<< India has asked the American frontline public health agency, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to stop funding virus research studies in the country. CDC was caught funding Karnataka’s Manipal Center for Virus Research (MCVR) for secretly carrying out research on the lethal Nipah virus – a pathogen considered potential bioweapon. The fact that an under-qualified private laboratory was secretly handling a dangerous virus under government’s nose at the behest of a foreign agency has raised major concerns within the health ministry apparatus.
The matter is more complicated with the fact that the CDC has a checkered history in India. The Indian defense establishment believes that the CDC was involved in the plague outbreak in the western Indian city of Surat in 1994, which they consider to be a case of bioterrorism. Earlier in February this year the Indian government launched an investigation into another secret research being conducted on bat hunters in the eastern Indian state of Nagaland, funded by the US Department of Defense in collaboration with Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
CDC put on Watchlist
A $3.6 million donation from Atlanta-based US health agency CDC to Indian research agencies for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic has been put on hold by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The CDC has been placed on the watchlist since December 2019 for its involvement in funding virus research without government’s approval.
The Nipah research fiasco that came into light in October last year was the primary reason behind the MHA decision. As of now, any funding or donation from the U.S government body CDC would be first cleared by the MHA itself. They can no longer send funds directly to any government or private institution in India without MHA’s clearance.
CDC secretly funds risky virus research in India
In October 2019, Hindustan Times reported that the Union health ministry wrote to both CDC and Manipal Center for Virus Research, ordering them to shut down the study related to Nipah virus that belongs to Risk Group 4 (RG4) classification. The RG4 viruses are considered highly dangerous and have no treatment or vaccine. They can only be tested in BSL4 lab which is the highest level of biological safety. The health ministry was upset that a study related to high risk pathogens like Nipah was being carried out at MCVR which is BSL2+ level facility.
A memorandum sent out by the health ministry said:
“It has been brought to our notice that CDC had trained MCVR for diagnosis of Nipah virus disease (NIV) in spite of the known fact that NIV is BSL 4 level pathogen whereas MCVR is a level BSL2+lab. Prior to this training to MCVR, CDC has not consulted national/govt agencies as per norm. Since Nipah is a high risk pathogen with potential for being used as agent of bio-terrorism the samples were to be handled more carefully and tested only in a BSL4.”
While CDC admitted that the training program didn’t have the necessary approval due to some confusion, it maintained that they did not commission the research directly. “The training was done through the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and was aimed at strengthening laboratory systems in India which allowed for detection of Nipah virus.”
CDC has partnered with MCVR to carry out illness surveillance across India under the project known as AFI surveillance which tracks mysterious diseases in the government hospitals. The Indian government has now asked both agencies to stop the surveillance project. It also warned CDC to ensure all funding is approved by the government.
In its defence, MCVR denied carrying out any risky virus isolation work at their lab. Dr. Arunkumar, Director of MCVR, said:
“We did not take approval from HMSC. Prior to testing, MCVR inactivated the virus. Inactivation of the virus was carried out in BSL3 facility at MCVR. Once inactivated, the virus cannot spread. Molecular testing was carried at MCVR in its BSL2 facility. No Nipah virus sample was transferred from MCVR to any other lab (except NIV Pune) within and outside the country.”
Investigation on secret research on Bat Hunters
This is not the first time a dangerous research took place in India without keeping the government in loop. Back in February this year, the officials confirmed to that foreign funded researchers were conducting study on bats and bat hunters (humans) in the northeastern state of Nagaland. Bats are known to often carry viruses such as ebola, SARS coronavirus, rabies,etc.
What’s more alarming was that two of the 12 researchers belonged to the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Department of Emerging Infectious Diseases – the same institute from where COVID-19 outbreak is believed to have originated. The Nagaland study was funded by the United States Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction agency (DTRA).
The results of the study were published in October last year in the PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases journal, originally established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
To conduct a high-risk study in India, they would have needed special permissions from the Indian authorities which was not sought by the parties involved in the study. The fact that scientists from foreign countries were allowed to handle live samples of bats and bat hunters without permission prompted Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to send a five-member committee to investigate the matter.
Funding of controversial Gain-of-Function research
Even before the coronavirus outbreak, a number of controversial studies were being carried out at China’s Wuhan lab under the patronage of United States’ National Institutes of Health (NIH). One of the studies is the gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses which involves mutating viruses in the lab to explore their potential for infecting humans.
The gain-of-function research has been widely criticized by the scientists around the world due to the risk of starting a pandemic from accidental release.
However, last year the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the organization led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, funded scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other institutions for work on gain-of-function research. A total of $7.5 million of American tax dollars have been spent since 2014 for conducting GoF studies.
Role of CDC in Surat plague
The plague outbreak in the western Indian city of Surat in 1994 has been mired in controversy just as COVID-19. Around 55 people died and close to a half of the city of 1.2 million people fled Surat for fear of the plague and of being quarantined.
The origin of the outbreak is still a mystery. Indian defense establishment believes the 1994 Surat Plague is a case of bioterrorism. Numerous media outlets at the time reported the involvement of American CDC. It was suspected that the germ with an extra protein ring was developed by a CDC lab in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Thus it comes as no surprise that Indian authorities are taking no chances this time around with CDC, especially since the world is already under the grip of a virus pandemic and the role of CDC is increasingly being seen as suspicious. >> GGI
Additionally, The Week Magazine from India reported recently:
<< Did the novel coronavirus leak similarly through a worker in a biowar lab in Wuhan? The Washington Times, which is known for its CIA links, has raised the suspicion in an article quoting Dany Shoham, a former Israeli military intelligence officer who has studied Chinese biowarfare.
Indian scientists would not rule out the possibility. The Wuhan lab, said Dr William Selvamurthy, a former chief controller of the Defence Research and Development Organisation who was in charge of the life science labs, could have been keeping the virus under BSL-4 (biosafety level-4)—the most secure condition for reseach. So, the possibility of someone having been infected from the lab and inadvertently spreading it could not be ruled out, said Selvamurthy.
The Wuhan Institute is officially acknowledged to be China’s most advanced virus research lab complex. China, a signatory to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) since 1985, had, in 1993, declared the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products as one of eight biowarfare research facilities covered by the BWC. Yet, last year’s US state department report on arms control compliance had accused China of working on military pathogens for offensive purposes. It said the US had concerns with respect to “Chinese military medical institutions’ toxin research and development because of the potential dual-use applications and their potential as a biological threat”.
China has maintained that the virus has originated from wild animals sold at a market in Wuhan. The lab under suspicion is just about 30km from the market. The virus has been identified as a virulent strain, much like any classical germ warfare strain—they were designed to be virulent initially, but quickly controllable. The idea, as a military scientist explained, was for the germ to be released in hostile territory to disable the enemy, but the territory would have to be quickly sanitised for your own forces to capture it.
During the 1994 plague outbreak in Surat and Beed, it was found that the germs had an extra protein ring which could only have been inserted artificially. Indian scientists had raised concerns about a US biowar experiment having gone awry. THE WEEK had carried reports giving details of germ war research being carried on in labs under the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta and about a newly developed germ detector being tested. The US embassy had denied the allegations. There were also reports that the Surat germ could have been developed in a lab in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
There have been rumours and reports in Chinese cybermedia in the last few days suggesting that the Wuhan outbreak could have been a US biowar attack. This, US officials consider, was an attempt to preempt charges that the new virus had escaped from the Wuhan lab, which had been in the crosshairs of the west especially after a team of Chinese virologists working in a lab in Winnipeg, Canada, unauthorisedly sent samples of some of the deadliest viruses on earth to China.” >> – The Week Mag
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