The Real Umbrella Corp: Wuhan Ultra Biohazard Lab Was Studying “The World’s Most Dangerous Pathogens”

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The situation with the rapidly spreading coronavirus – 2019-nCoV and the shut down of 3 Chinese cities over the outbreak caused multiple speculations on the topic. The text below was originally released by ZeroHedge (source):

Now that not one but seven Chinese cities – including Wuhan, ground zero of the coronavirus epidemic – and collectively housing some 23 million people, are under quarantine…

The Real Umbrella Corp: Wuhan Ultra Biohazard Lab Was Studying "The World's Most Dangerous Pathogens"

… comparisons to the infamous Raccoon City from Resident Evil are coming in hot and heavy. And, since reality often tends to imitate if not art then certainly Hollywood, earlier today we jokingly asked if the Medical Research Institute at Wuhan University would end up being China’s version of Umbrella Corp.

As it turns out, it wasn’t a joke, because moments ago it was brought to our attention that in February 2017, Nature penned an extensive profile of what it called the “Chinese lab poised to study world’s most dangerous pathogens.” The location of this BSL-4 rated lab? Why, Wuhan.

A quick read of what this lab was meant to do, prompts the immediate question whether the coronavirus epidemic isn’t a weaponized virus that just happened to escape the lab:

The Wuhan lab cost 300 million yuan (US$44 million), and to allay safety concerns it was built far above the flood plain and with the capacity to withstand a magnitude-7 earthquake, although the area has no history of strong earthquakes. It will focus on the control of emerging diseases, store purified viruses and act as a World Health Organization ‘reference laboratory’ linked to similar labs around the world. “It will be a key node in the global biosafety-lab network,” says lab director Yuan Zhiming.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences approved the construction of a BSL-4 laboratory in 2003, and the epidemic of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) around the same time lent the project momentum. The lab was designed and constructed with French assistance as part of a 2004 cooperative agreement on the prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases. But the complexity of the project, China’s lack of experience, difficulty in maintaining funding and long government approval procedures meant that construction wasn’t finished until the end of 2014.

The lab’s first project will be to study the BSL-3 pathogen that causes Crimean–Congo haemorrhagic fever: a deadly tick-borne virus that affects livestock across the world, including in northwest China, and that can jump to people.

Future plans include studying the pathogen that causes SARS, which also doesn’t require a BSL-4 lab, before moving on to Ebola and the West African Lassa virus,

What does BSL-4 mean?

BSL-4 is the highest level of biocontainment: its criteria include filtering air and treating water and waste before they leave the laboratory, and stipulating that researchers change clothes and shower before and after using lab facilities. Such labs are often controversial. The first BSL-4 lab in Japan was built in 1981, but operated with lower-risk pathogens until 2015, when safety concerns were finally overcome.

And here’s why all this is an issue:

Worries surround the Chinese lab. The SARS virus has escaped from high-level containment facilities in Beijing multiple times, notes Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Below we repost the full Nature article because it strongly hints, without evidence for now, that the coronavirus epidemic may well have been a weaponized virus which “accidentally” escaped the Wuhan biohazard facility.

Inside the Chinese lab poised to study world’s most dangerous pathogens

A laboratory in Wuhan is on the cusp of being cleared to work with the world’s most dangerous pathogens. The move is part of a plan to build between five and seven biosafety level-4 (BSL-4) labs across the Chinese mainland by 2025, and has generated much excitement, as well as some concerns.

The Real Umbrella Corp: Wuhan Ultra Biohazard Lab Was Studying "The World's Most Dangerous Pathogens"
Hazard suits hang at the National Bio-safety Laboratory, Wuhan, the first lab on the Chinese mainland equipped for the highest level of biocontainment.

Some scientists outside China worry about pathogens escaping, and the addition of a biological dimension to geopolitical tensions between China and other nations. But Chinese microbiologists are celebrating their entrance to the elite cadre empowered to wrestle with the world’s greatest biological threats.

“It will offer more opportunities for Chinese researchers, and our contribution on the BSL‑4-level pathogens will benefit the world,” says George Gao, director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology in Beijing. There are already two BSL-4 labs in Taiwan, but the National Bio-safety Laboratory, Wuhan, would be the first on the Chinese mainland.

The lab was certified as meeting the standards and criteria of BSL-4 by the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS) in January. The CNAS examined the lab’s infrastructure, equipment and management, says a CNAS representative, paving the way for the Ministry of Health to give its approval. A representative from the ministry says it will move slowly and cautiously; if the assessment goes smoothly, it could approve the laboratory by the end of June.

BSL-4 is the highest level of biocontainment: its criteria include filtering air and treating water and waste before they leave the laboratory, and stipulating that researchers change clothes and shower before and after using lab facilities. Such labs are often controversial. The first BSL-4 lab in Japan was built in 1981, but operated with lower-risk pathogens until 2015, when safety concerns were finally overcome.

The expansion of BSL-4-lab networks in the United States and Europe over the past 15 years — with more than a dozen now in operation or under construction in each region — also met with resistance, including questions about the need for so many facilities.

The Wuhan lab cost 300 million yuan (US$44 million), and to allay safety concerns it was built far above the flood plain and with the capacity to withstand a magnitude-7 earthquake, although the area has no history of strong earthquakes. It will focus on the control of emerging diseases, store purified viruses and act as a World Health Organization ‘reference laboratory’ linked to similar labs around the world. “It will be a key node in the global biosafety-lab network,” says lab director Yuan Zhiming.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences approved the construction of a BSL-4 laboratory in 2003, and the epidemic of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) around the same time lent the project momentum. The lab was designed and constructed with French assistance as part of a 2004 cooperative agreement on the prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases. But the complexity of the project, China’s lack of experience, difficulty in maintaining funding and long government approval procedures meant that construction wasn’t finished until the end of 2014.

The lab’s first project will be to study the BSL-3 pathogen that causes Crimean–Congo haemorrhagic fever: a deadly tick-borne virus that affects livestock across the world, including in northwest China, and that can jump to people.

Future plans include studying the pathogen that causes SARS, which also doesn’t require a BSL-4 lab, before moving on to Ebola and the West African Lassa virus, which do. Some one million Chinese people work in Africa; the country needs to be ready for any eventuality, says Yuan. “Viruses don’t know borders.”

Gao travelled to Sierra Leone during the recent Ebola outbreak, allowing his team to report the speed with which the virus mutated into new strains. The Wuhan lab will give his group a chance to study how such viruses cause disease, and to develop treatments based on antibodies and small molecules, he says.

The opportunities for international collaboration, meanwhile, will aid the genetic analysis and epidemiology of emergent diseases. “The world is facing more new emerging viruses, and we need more contribution from China,” says Gao. In particular, the emergence of zoonotic viruses — those that jump to humans from animals, such as SARS or Ebola — is a concern, says Bruno Lina, director of the VirPath virology lab in Lyon, France.

Many staff from the Wuhan lab have been training at a BSL-4 lab in Lyon, which some scientists find reassuring. And the facility has already carried out a test-run using a low-risk virus.

But worries surround the Chinese lab, too. The SARS virus has escaped from high-level containment facilities in Beijing multiple times, notes Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey. Tim Trevan, founder of CHROME Biosafety and Biosecurity Consulting in Damascus, Maryland, says that an open culture is important to keeping BSL-4 labs safe, and he questions how easy this will be in China, where society emphasizes hierarchy. “Diversity of viewpoint, flat structures where everyone feels free to speak up and openness of information are important,” he says.

Yuan says that he has worked to address this issue with staff. “We tell them the most important thing is that they report what they have or haven’t done,” he says. And the lab’s inter­national collaborations will increase openness. “Transparency is the basis of the lab,” he adds.

The plan to expand into a network heightens such concerns. One BSL-4 lab in Harbin is already awaiting accreditation; the next two are expected to be in Beijing and Kunming, the latter focused on using monkey models to study disease.

Lina says that China’s size justifies this scale, and that the opportunity to combine BSL-4 research with an abundance of research monkeys — Chinese researchers face less red tape than those in the West when it comes to research on primates — could be powerful. “If you want to test vaccines or antivirals, you need a non-human primate model,” says Lina.

But Ebright is not convinced of the need for more than one BSL-4 lab in mainland China. He suspects that the expansion there is a reaction to the networks in the United States and Europe, which he says are also unwarranted. He adds that governments will assume that such excess capacity is for the potential development of bioweapons.

“These facilities are inherently dual use,” he says. The prospect of ramping up opportunities to inject monkeys with pathogens also worries, rather than excites, him: “They can run, they can scratch, they can bite.”

The Real Umbrella Corp: Wuhan Ultra Biohazard Lab Was Studying "The World's Most Dangerous Pathogens"
The central monitor room at China’s National Bio-safety Laboratory

If that wasn’t enough, here is January 2018 press release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, announcing the launch of the “top-level biosafety lab.”

China has put its first level-four biosafety laboratory into operation, capable of conducting experiments with highly pathogenic microorganisms that can cause fatal diseases, according to the national health authority. Level four is the highest biosafety level, used for diagnostic work and research on easily transmitted pathogens that can cause fatal diseases, including the Ebola virus.

The Wuhan national level-four biosafety lab recently passed an assessment organized by the National Health and Family Planning Commission, according to a news release on Friday from the Wuhan Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The Real Umbrella Corp: Wuhan Ultra Biohazard Lab Was Studying "The World's Most Dangerous Pathogens"
Virologists read data on a container for viral samples at China’s first level-four biosafety lab at the Institute of Virology in Wuhan

After evaluating such things as the lab’s management of personnel, facilities, animals, disposals and viruses, experts believed the lab is qualified to carry out experiments on highly pathogenic microorganisms that can cause fatal diseases, such as Marburg, Variola, Nipah and Ebola.

“The lab provides a complete, world-leading biosafety system. This means Chinese scientists can study the most dangerous pathogenic microorganisms in their own lab,” the Wuhan institute said.

It will serve as the country’s research and development center on prevention and control of infectious diseases, as a pathogen collection center and as the United Nations’ reference laboratory for infectious diseases, the institute said.

Previous media reports said the Wuhan P4 lab will be open to scientists from home and abroad. Scientists can conduct research on anti-virus drugs and vaccines in the lab.

The lab is part of Sino-French cooperation in the prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases, according to the news release.

The central government approved the P4 laboratory in 2003 when the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome spread alarm across the country. In October 2004, China signed a cooperation agreement with France on the prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases. This was followed by a succession of supplementary agreements.

With French assistance in laboratory design, biosafety standards establishment and personnel training, construction began in 2011 and lasted for three years. In 2015, the lab was put into trial operation.

Finally, this is what the real Umbrella Corp looks like from space:

The Real Umbrella Corp: Wuhan Ultra Biohazard Lab Was Studying "The World's Most Dangerous Pathogens"

If nothing else, at least it got good reviews

 

The Real Umbrella Corp: Wuhan Ultra Biohazard Lab Was Studying "The World's Most Dangerous Pathogens"

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  • Tommy Jensen

    “Research and Development Centre on development and release of infectious diseases, as a pathogen production centre and UNs’ reference laboratory for depopulation toward a New World Order with a New World Government”.
    “We are also Europeans, we have you in our hearts, we are also high like you are, we also speak English”.

    • S Melanson

      Bingo, see my post above.

  • S Melanson

    There are a lot of parallels to the 2014 Ebola epidemic in Western Africa. That Ebola was a weaponized Zaire strain developed at US DoD bioweapon research labs located in the outbreak zone – one in Sierra Leone and one in Liberia. These labs were partnered with Canadian firm Teckmira that conducted live Zaire strain Ebola vaccine trial in Sierra Leone and Liberia – the outbreak occurred around the same time as the trial was initiated and outbreak centred in close proximity to the vaccine trial coordination centres that were also in the same buildings as the bioweapon labs.

    The way the Ebola outbreak was evolving Caught my attention and after some digging, my concerns were enough to sound the alarm – note that I took courses as part of my doctoral degree requirements – courses included one on time to event hazard modelling and another on epidemiological methods taught at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine – note the the Canadian doctor that headed the containment effort of SARS in 2003 helped teach the course and his lecture on how SARS was contained was absolutely riveting. So having some understanding of contagion modeling, I did not like how the Ebola outbreak was evolving and similarly I do not like how this Coronavirus outbreak is evolving. These concerns are not trite.

    I did a threat assessment of the Ebola for US government agencies with advanced draft provide first week of November 2014. Note the epidemic started to suddenly go way shortly afterwards. – this was no coincidence as my assessment placed the risk at high potential for ELE – extinction level event. The bioweapon kill switches had to be utilized before the Ebola went pandemic and gained a sufficient pool of infected to provide reservoir of virus to mutate around the safety switches such that the pandemic would be unstoppable and kill almost everyone – less than 2% of world population would survive given spillover effects. By the way, research Georgia Guidestones, the strange addition of a 2014 block in 2014 and then its mysterious removal – location of insert date in proximity of world population of 500,000,000 hmmmm… well it was going to be a lot less than 500,000,000 if not stopped.

    The connection between the outbreak and the vaccine trial and bioweapon labs were not lost on the locals and this explains the high incidents of attacks on health care workers – it was not due to superstition among the people, somehow accepted here in the West by many that still hold the antiquated stereotype of Africans as uncivilized savages.

    The outbreak in China has similarities with Ebola as both had high mutation rates and enhanced transmission and infectious capabilities relative to peer pathogens of their respective classes – transmission is enhanced to expose more people more quickly (viral load rapidly rises) and the relative risk is higher that exposure will result in infection – both are double their peers and given contagion models are exponential, this is a very big deal. There are other parallels such as high rate of health care professionals being exposed – China downplayed this as was the case for the 2014 Ebola outbreak that had a much higher casualty rate for healthcare workers caring for the infected than any prior Ebola outbreak.

    The differences are that Ebola had a 70% mortality rate if treated, 90% if untreated. But transmission and spread not nearly as easy or rapid as the Chinese outbreak – the Coronavirus is high morbidity but death less than 20% of cases I estimate. So the Ebola going pandemic would take down civilization culling most of the world’s population and collapse healthcare systems on a global scale. The Coronavirus will kill mostly indirectly, due to lack of healthcare systems on a global scale as they are rapidly overwhelmed by caseloads.

    This outbreak is concerning given Chinese officials emphasized mutation and evolution – this is a flag for a genetically engineered pathogen and the spread of this virus is breathtaking. If this is about depopulation, the mutation capabilities and very rapid transmission and geographic expansion make this very risky way to do it – playing with fire.

    I will see about publishing the assessment – if I do, be in next 48 hours. The assessment is relevant to what is happening today.

    • Vitex

      Scary shit. Forget the Dead Hand. This could be like 1918

      • S Melanson

        yes, but given conditions today, would result in much higher casualties – ease and speed of travel, population higher and much more dense – urban.

    • Assad must stay

      no dont say that i hated 2014! lol

  • Vitex

    Well – two possible sources. 1) The Chinese were a little careless, which I sort of doubt, but it’s possible. 2) Bill Gates and his mates infected some hapless Chinese who happened to be travelling home for the winter festival. It gives me no cause for celebration that the Pirbright Institute has this virus on hand. They couldn’t be trusted with..say…Novichok either!

  • Assad must stay

    God help us all :(

  • Ronald

    Well there is the American economic war on China to consider, those ‘communists’ are still rolling at 6% growth, this might slow them down.
    Then there is the consideration that Wuhan is where the first 5G network is being tried.
    Then Bill gates name came up, and he knows how to make money, GMO and all that.
    See my post below below.