The Galveston National Laboratory – a project of Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – has engaged in “long-term personnel exchanges” and training programs with the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Biosafety Level Four facility.
Presentation documents from the Director of the Texas-based lab, which describes itself as “constructed under grants awarded by [Fauci’s] National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID),” reveals a multi-year collaborative relationship with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The slideshow, “How U.S. Policies Can Foster Research Environments That Enable Collaborations Around The World—Focus On Biosecurity Space,” presents the Wuhan lab as a case study of this approach.
The Galveston National Laboratory (GNL) hosts a training center for researchers working at facilities with various Biosafety Levels (BSL), including the BSL 4 category found at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The 2018 Science article highlighted in the slide above was co-authored by GNL Director James Le Duc and Wuhan Institute of Virology Deputy Director Zhiming Yuan and discusses their joint handling of the “world’s most dangerous pathogens.” It also chronicles the two labs “short- and long-term personnel exchanges focused on biosafety training, building operations and maintenance, and collaborative scientific investigations”:
“We direct a newly constructed maximum biocontainment laboratory (MCL) in Wuhan, China (Z.Y.), and an established MCL in the United States (J.W.L.), in Galveston, Texas. In preparation for the opening of the new China MCL, we engaged in short- and long-term personnel exchanges focused on biosafety training, building operations and maintenance, and collaborative scientific investigations in biocontainment. We succeeded in transferring proven best practices to the new Wuhan facility. Both labs recently signed formal cooperative agreements that will streamline future scientific and operational collaborations on dangerous pathogens, although funding for research and the logistics of exchanging specimens are challenges that we have yet to solve.”
A separate slide from Le Duc’s presentation provides testimony from a Wuhan researcher participating in the GNL, which is located at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB):
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“I am very glad to tell you that I was selected as the expert member of the National Biosafety Review Committee of the Microbiology and Biomedical Laboratories for Human Infectious Diseases in 2021. I would like to thank you and UTMB for providing me the opportunities to participate the valuable and extensive biosafety training in aspect of theoretical, hands-on, and facilities, and learn the biological containment laboratory knowledge! These excellent experiences in UTMB will help me to better serve the public health, safety, research and development in my country.”
The next slide in the presentation contains a picture featuring “bat lady” Shi Zhengli and University of North Carolina researcher and hardcore gain-of-function research advocate Ralph Baric. Shi’s resume reveals she attended a 2018 conference at the GNL and presented on “coronaviruses associated with human and animal diseases in China-From SARS to SADS.”
A separate profile on the GNL also documents the lab’s close ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. It highlights the work of Wuhan’s Dr. Han Xia while working under a GNL fellowship.
“Dr. Xia came to Galveston from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China. She is a graduate of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, where she received her doctorate degree in biochemistry and molecular biology. She arrived during the summer of 2013 to focus on research in the areas of viruses, diagnostic assay method of diseases, vaccine research, gene function, genomic and evolution analysis and epidemiology,” her bio begins.
The profile also reveals she began BSL 4 training after receiving approval from the Obama administration’s Department of Justice:
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Over the last several months Dr. Xia has completed theoretical BSL-3 training and laboratory training under Dr. Dennis Bente’s mentorship. The U.S. Department of Justice cleared Dr. Xia for research work with select agents in late 2013, and in January 2014 she began her BSL-4 training, again working with Dr. Bente. She also participated in a BSL-4 facility training program alongside trainees from the Institute of Medical Biology in Kunming, China.
“Working with Dr. Bente in the BSL-4 laboratory, studies are underway on the viral replication and pathogenicity in vitro and in vivo of this labeled recombinant virus,” a summary of her work on Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus notes.
View The Presentation: