U.S. researchers – including those advising the federal government on COVID-19 vaccination policy and those funded by the National Institutes of Health – attended a Chinese Communist Party virology conference featuring scientists from China’s military and the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The Ninth Wuhan International Symposium on Modern Virology, which took place September 26th to 28th, was hosted by the State Key Laboratory of Virology at Wuhan University. Among its speakers were several Chinese Communist Party apparatchiks including Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention George Gao and the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s “Bat Lady” Shi Zhengli.
Shi, whose controversial work focuses on the manipulation of bat coronaviruses for human infection, delivered an opening keynote address at the conference on “the impact of 2019 new coronavirus mutation on virus pathogenicity and immune escape.” Seven additional speakers at the conference were from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, believed by many to be the source of COVID-19.
In addition to a heavy Chinese Communist Party presence, American researchers, including those working for the federal government, were also in attendance.
Stanley Perlman, who serves on the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), which is charged with advising the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the approval of COVID-19 vaccines, attended the conference and delivered a presentation entitled “Animal Models of COVID-19.”
Perlman, who has advocated for the authorization of COVID-19 booster shots, also serves on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) committee tasked with planning COVID-19 vaccine allocation.
Perlman has also been a strong promoter of the “natural origins” theory, branding the possibility that the virus was engineered in the Chinese Communist Party-run Wuhan Institute of Virology as “impossible.” He was also a member on the now-disbanded Lancet medical journal’s COVID-19 origins investigation committee and signatory on the infamous Lancet COVID-19 statement, which prematurely debunked the virus tracing its origins to the Wuhan lab.
Also speaking at the conference was Zheng Zhiming, who serves as a Senior Investigator at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). He received the NIH’s 2010 Award of Merit along with a Director’s Award from the NIH’s National Cancer Institute.
Also addressing the conference were several Chinese military-linked researchers from institutes including the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Naval Medical University, the Military Medical Academy, and the PLA Academy of Military Sciences.
Qin Chengfeng, a PLA Academy of Military Sciences research fellow, lectured on the “adaptive mutation of the new coronavirus: from human to mouse.” The unearthed presentation follows increased scrutiny over the manipulation coronavirus strains to increase lethality – through risky “gain-of-function” research – with mice designed to mimic human cells.
“The purpose of the conference is to discuss the main scientific issues and research hotspots of virology, exchange the latest research results and research ideas, display new methods, new technologies and new products for the diagnosis and prevention of viral diseases, and promote the exchange between Chinese scholars and international counterparts,” explains the event’s promotional website before emphasizing that “the exchanges and cooperation between the two countries have promoted the development of virology research in China.”