Joe Biden’s U.S. Agency for International Development launched a new $125 million dollar project with Washington State University and foreign collaborators to discover over 10,000 novel viruses in nature.
The ambitious program follows the agency funding a similar form of research conducted by EcoHealth Alliance and its controversial partner: the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Many experts believe this Chinese Communist Party-run lab is the source of COVID-19.
The new program, announced by Washington State University (WSU) on October 5th, will endeavor “to collect over 800,000 samples in the five years of the project.”
“This process is expected to yield 8,000 to 12,000 novel viruses, which researchers will then screen and sequence the genomes of the ones that pose the most risk to animal and human health,” a summary adds.
The program relies on collaboration with foreign countries, as its description outlines its efforts to “build scientific capacity in partner countries” focusing on coronaviruses, filoviruses, and paramyxoviruses. While WSU’s foreign collaborators have not been identified yet, in the past, the school has partnered with Chinese Communist Party-linked technology firms including DJI for research.
DJI has admitted complying with Beijing’s data requests, leading the U.S. Army to ban their use in 2017, citing cyber vulnerabilities. The office of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Los Angeles also sent a memo stating officials have “moderate confidence” DJI’s commercial drones and software are “providing US critical infrastructure and law enforcement data to the Chinese government.”
“The project plans to partner with up to 12 targeted countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to carry out large-scale animal surveillance programs within their own countries, safely, using their own laboratory facilities,” a WSU summary explains.
“We will work to not only detect viruses but also build capacity in other countries, so the United States can collaborate with them in carrying out this important work,” said Felix Lankester, lead principal investigator for the project.