Did a Montana Lab Have a Role to Play in the Outbreak of COVID?

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A lab located in Montana, United States, headed by renowned American immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, was reportedly involved in experiments with coronaviruses that were originally brought from a lab in Wuhan, China. This lab in Wuhan has been a subject of intense debate, with some speculating it to be the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recent disclosure came to light after a research paper, published in the journal Viruses back in 2018, resurfaced, shedding light on the nature and existence of these experiments.

According to the report, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) allegedly infected 12 Egyptian fruit bats with a ‘SARS-like’ virus named WIV1 at a laboratory in Montana in 2018. This development raises questions about the connection between the U.S. government and the Wuhan Lab, as well as the funding of potentially hazardous virus research on a global scale.

The research paper in question, titled “SARS-Like Coronavirus WIV1-CoV Does Not Replicate in Egyptian Fruit Bats,” was published in the journal Viruses in 2018. The study garnered attention when it was flagged by DRASTIC, a group of online activists who investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and operate under the initiative named the White Coat Waste Project.

The 2018 experiment took place at the NIH’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, which was under the supervision of Dr. Anthony Fauci. This research was a collaborative effort between the NIH’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories and Ralph Baric, a collaborator from the Wuhan Institute of Virology who is associated with the University of North Carolina.

In the experiment, scientists obtained 12 Egyptian fruit bats from a zoo and administered them with the WIV1-coronavirus, a virus first identified in Chinese rufous horseshoe bats. The findings of the research indicated that the WIV1-coronavirus did not cause a robust infection in the bats, and there was limited evidence of virus replication.

Adding to the intrigue, it has been reported that the Catocin Wildlife Preserve, the source of the bats used in the experiment, has a history of animal rights violations. This preserve is situated just 15 minutes away from Camp David, a 125-acre country retreat for the President of the United States. Records referenced by the Daily Mail reveal that the preserve housed 523 federally-regulated animals as of April 2023, including 241 bats, with 41 of them being Egyptian fruit bats.

The revelation raises concerns about gain-of-function virus research, a field in which the United States is a prominent player. This type of research involves enhancing the infectiousness of pathogens, purportedly to prepare for potential future outbreaks. However, this research methodology has faced criticism from experts who argue that the risks of a viral leak may outweigh any potential benefits.

The resurfacing of this research paper and its implications underscore the importance of a transparent investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the ethical and safety considerations surrounding virus research on a global scale.

Image by NIAID on Flickr


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