The United States Department of Justice recently released two versions of memos partially drafted by government officials who visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology and left with serious doubts about the security protocols.
The first memo, dated Jan. 19, 2018, states that the “current productivity is limited by a shortage of the highly trained technicians and investigators required to safely operate a [Biosafety Level] 4 laboratory and lack of clarity in related Chinese Communist Party (CCP) policies and guidelines”.
According to the National Review, the document further specified that the University of Texas’s medical branch at Galveston, which owns one of several BSL-4 laboratories in the United States, would have collaborated with the Wuhan Institute and helped train the technical staff.
Meanwhile, a second memorandum dated April 19, 2018, revealed in detail the work being done at the Wuhan lab along with a visit in March by a delegation of U.S. officials consisting of U.S. Consul General Jamie Fouss and Rick Switzer, the embassy’s counsel for the environment, science, technology, and health.
According to the memo, U.S. officials found a brochure in English noting the need to reinforce a message about high performance in the laboratory’s protocols, further noting that the brochure highlighted the information as effective enough to ensure national security.
As the National Review points out, U.S. scientists remained concerned about a laboratory investigating SARS-like coronaviruses in bats. In contrast, officials at the Wuhan laboratory and CCP officials wanted the public and the entire world, to be kept in the dark about the existence of the virus, ordering the destruction of any research-related data.
According to the media mentioned above, virus samples taken from 8 patients being treated in hospitals around Wuhan contributed to developing several genome sequences that were eventually returned to the hospitals and presented to the health authorities.
On January 1 of this year, an employee of the BGI genome company, one of the most recognized in the industry and in charge of determining the increasing number of cases of infection, received a phone call from an official of the Hubei Provincial Health Commission, ordering the company to stop analyzing the samples.
The employee, who reportedly spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the existing samples had to be destroyed and further indicated that they were ordered to stop disclosing test results and any related information.
By Jan. 3, China’s National Health Commission (NHC), the nation’s top health authority, issued an order not to release information about the unknown disease. Laboratories were ordered to transfer any samples they had to designated testing institutions or destroy existing ones.