POLITICS

China-Linked Illegal Lab Found in California with Deadly Pathogens Including Coronavirus, HIV

Last Updated: August 02, 2023, 09:47 IST

California, USA

US government officials found industrial freezers filled with hundreds of vials of viruses and approximately 1,000 dead and dying lab mice. (Representative image: Reuters)

US government officials found industrial freezers filled with hundreds of vials of viruses and approximately 1,000 dead and dying lab mice. (Representative image: Reuters)

Reedley, California shocked by an illegal lab discovery with deadly pathogens. Explore the mysterious biotech company’s operations and safety concerns

A nondescript warehouse in the US state of California was revealed to be an illegal lab linked to China, housing deadly pathogens, including coronavirus, HIV, and malaria, UK’s Daily Mail has reported. City officials discovered the operation in Reedley accidentally when they noticed a hose sticking out from the warehouse.

The British newspaper said the discovery prompted a combined state, local, and federal probe, as the lab was suspected to be linked to a dubious biotech company with ties to China. US government officials found industrial freezers filled with hundreds of vials of viruses and approximately 1,000 dead and dying lab mice.

As per the report, an inspection of the underground facility uncovered Covid diagnostic and pregnancy tests, indicating that the lab was involved in the development of such products. Adding to that, the lab stored at least 20 other infectious agents, including hepatitis and herpes.

The lab reportedly was operating under the name “Prestige Biotech”, which was not licensed for business in California. The company’s president, Xiuquin Yao, claimed it was a successor to the now-defunct Universal Meditech Inc. However, when officials investigated addresses associated with both companies, they found abandoned offices or unverifiable locations in China.

In the warehouse, US officials were shocked to discover about 1,000 lab mice kept in inhumane conditions, with roughly 200 already dead. Assistant Director of the Fresno County Department of Public Health, Joe Prado, revealed that the lab was using these mice to test the efficacy of Covid test kits on site.

Further investigation also uncovered a collection of vials containing various biomaterials, including blood and tissue, and unlabeled chemicals, some of which had dangerous pathogens like E. Coli, streptococcus pneumonia, and hepatitis B and C.

Prestige Biotech, registered in Las Vegas, was identified as the entity operating the lab. City officials pinpointed Xiuquin Yao as the president of the company, claiming that the operation had relocated to the Reedley warehouse after Universal Meditech Inc.’s closure.

Rohit

Rohit is a News18.com journalist with a passion for world affairs and a love for football. Follow him on Twitter at @heis_rohit

Read More

Back to top button