Collaborative Research Between US and Chinese Scientists Raises Eyebrows: $1 Million Taxpayer Money Spent on Risky Bird Flu Experiments

Collaborative Research Between US and Chinese Scientists Raises Eyebrows: $1 Million Taxpayer Money Spent on Risky Bird Flu Experiments

In a contentious move, the US government has earmarked $1 million from American taxpayers for experiments involving dangerous bird flu viruses, conducted in collaboration with Chinese scientists.

The research initiative focuses on infecting ducks and geese with various virus strains, enhancing their infectivity, and exploring the potential for these viruses to transmit to mammalian hosts, as revealed in obtained research documents.

Details of the Research Funding and Duration:

The avian virus research, funded through the US Department of Agriculture, commenced in April 2021 and is scheduled to extend until March 2026, according to documents obtained by The White Coat Waste Project and shared with DailyMail.com.

Concerning Viruses and Collaborative Entities:

The specific viruses involved in the research include H5NX, H7N9, and H9N2, with H5NX viruses identified as ‘highly pathogenic’ and potentially causing neurological complications in humans.

Collaborating entities include the USDA Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute, known for its affiliation with a Wuhan lab.

International Collaboration and Research Locations:

Researchers, including Wenju Liu from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), will conduct various aspects of the study in locations such as poultry research centers in Athens, Georgia, the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, and the Chinese Academy in Beijing.

The collaboration has sparked concerns about potential biosafety risks and international partnerships.

Response from USDA and Criticism from Advocacy Group:

USDA spokesperson Allan Rodriguez clarified that the $100 million funding is exclusively committed to components carried out in Athens, Georgia, distancing it from research in the UK or China.

The response followed criticism from The White Coat Waste Project, with senior vice president Justin Goodman condemning the funding as ‘reckless and indefensible.’

Senatorial Inquiry and USDA’s Position:

Republican Sen Joni Ernst of Iowa expressed concerns in a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, seeking more information about ongoing funding for the research.

Ernst highlighted worries about potential risks to animals and humans.

The USDA responded, defending the research as not qualifying as gain-of-function and refuting claims of misinformation.

Political Warning and Caution Against Collaboration:

Senator Ernst issued a warning, stating that the Biden administration should exercise caution in collaborating with China on avian flu research, especially considering researchers with ties to the Wuhan Lab.

She emphasized the importance of preventing the creation of pathogens with pandemic potential.

Despite concerns, the USDA defended its approach, emphasizing the commonality of international researchers conducting independent studies with shared goals.

The USDA asserted that Senator Ernst’s claims were off base and rooted in approval decisions predating the current administration.

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