Chinese Lab in California Experimenting with HIV, Hepatitis, Herpes, Coronavirus Shut Down

An illegal laboratory in Fresno County, California was discovered to have been experimenting with multiple infectious diseases.

QUICK FACTS:
  • An illegal Chinese laboratory in Fresno County, Calif. has reportedly been shut down after experimenting with multiple infectious diseases, including HIV, hepatitis, herpes, and coronavirus.
  • The supposedly vacant warehouse in Reedley, California was first discovered in March when a garden hose was found to be illegally attached to a warehouse.
  • “It was pretty clear right off the bat that something was going on we didn’t have a business license for,” according to Reedley City Manager Nicole Zieba.
  • After calling the Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the State Department of Health, and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) became involved.
  • Over 800 biological materials and chemicals were discovered at the site.
  • “This is an unusual situation. I’ve been in government for 25 years. I’ve never seen anything like this,” Zieba said.
  • Unlabeled fluids, as well as blood and other bodily fluids, were found.
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF THE FRESNO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH JOE PRADO ON THE ILLEGAL LABORATORY:

“Here at the public health department we operate our own lab so were very well versed in the legal requirements and how to maintain and control an infectious agent. And there was just a complete absence of those controls in place at the warehouse,” Prado said.

BACKGROUND:
  • In April 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of a potential biological hazard at a seized laboratory holding measles, polio, cholera, tuberculosis, and SARS CoV-2.
  • The WHO reported that workers were unable to access the lab, and power cuts made proper management of stored materials impossible.
  • The BBC reported the Sudanese lab seige on April 26, 2023 and just two days later, a total of 10 measles cases had been reported in the U.S. nationwide.
  • A child in Maine also tested positive for measles one month later, the first case in the state since 2019, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • The Maine CDC was treating the child, who had been vaccinated against the viral disease, and considered the child to “be infectious out of an abundance of caution.”
  • The current measels vaccine failed to prevent infection and raises questions about the drug’s ability to prevent an outbreak.

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