From Winnipeg to Wuhan

The Nipah virus, Tom Blackwell of Canada’s National Post explains, is transmittable from animals to humans and “also able to jump between humans—it can cause acute breathing problems and encephalitis, potentially fatal brain inflammation.” In cases in Bangladesh and India, death rates ranged between 50 and 100 percent, so Nipah is also a “threat to cause a widespread outbreak and its potential for weaponization has increased.” 

The Nipah virus, as Karen Pauls of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation recalls, was one of the viruses Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, who hails from Tianjin, China, exported to the Wuhan Institute of Virology from Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg. The full list includes: Ebola Makona (three different varieties), Mayinga, Kikwit, Ivory Coast, Bundibugyo, Sudan Boniface, Sudan Gulu, MA-Ebov, GP-Ebov, GP-Sudan, Hendra, Nipah Malaysia, and Nipah Bangladesh. 

On February 6, as the CBC’s Pauls reported, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) removed Qiu and her husband Keding Cheng from the Public Health Agency of Canada, and this was something of a sequel. In 2019, the RCMP booted Qiu and her Chinese graduate students from the NML for what was described as a “policy breach” and administrative matter. 

According to Pauls, in 2017-18 the virologist Qiu made at least five trips to China, including one to train scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, “which does research with the most deadly pathogens.” Canadian government officials say Qiu was acting in response to the WIV’s request for virus samples. Government documents obtained by the CBC show that Qiu’s trips to the Wuhan lab were “third-party funded” but the name of the party was redacted. Also blacked out were names of Qiu’s collaborators during her trip to China in September 2017. 

The ouster from the NML, Canada’s only Level-4 lab, came “several months after IT specialists for the NML entered Qiu’s office after-hours and replaced her computer.” Qiu also started to deny her regular trips to China, and the “policy breach” remains unexplained. According to the NML, the breach posed no danger to the public, but Canadians had to wonder. 

South of the border, the story attracted little attention from the establishment media, which barks but won’t hunt. One of the exceptions was Science magazine’s Brian Owens, who cited speculation that “the case involves concerns about the improper transfer of intellectual property to China.” The intellectual property, the CBC confirms, was a cargo of deadly pathogens, including the Nipah virus, transferable from animals and able to jump from person to person. 

The “policy breach” left Canadian scientists afraid to speak out. In her June 14, 2020 report, fortunately, Pauls got University of Ottawa epidemiologist and law professor Amir Attaran to speak on the record. 

“We have a researcher who was removed by the RCMP from the highest security laboratory that Canada has for reasons that the government is unwilling to disclose,” Attaran explained. “The intelligence remains secret. But what we know is that before she was removed, she sent one of the deadliest viruses on Earth, and multiple varieties of it to maximize the genetic diversity and maximize what experimenters in China could do with it, to a laboratory in China that does dangerous gain-of-function experiments. And that has links to the Chinese military.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, “gain of function” research involves “manipulating viruses in the lab to explore their potential for infecting humans.” The NIH banned gain-of-function research in 2014 but ended the moratorium in 2017. In 2019, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) boss Anthony Fauci started shipping U.S. dollars to the Wuhan lab, as Newsweek reported, for “research that included some gain-of-function work.” 

The WHO-compliant Fauci, a federal bureaucrat since 1968, has been evasive about China’s role in the release of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Fauci earned a medical degree in 1966 but with no advanced degrees in microbiology he is not, strictly speaking, a virologist. Fauci also contends that the China virus was not engineered in a lab, a possibility raised by the reports from Canada. 

The WIV got funding from the United States and China’s Xiangguo Qiu supplied the Wuhan lab with deadly pathogens, including the Nipah virus, able to jump between humans. According to the World Health Organization, however, it is “extremely unlikely” that the virus causing COVID-19 leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and the issue does not warrant further study.  

“Phew. That’s China off the hook, then,” wrote Miranda Devine of the New York Post, which broke the story on the Hunter Biden laptop. By letting China off the hook for the pandemic, Devine explains, “WHO has provided the Biden administration with a perfect out” to continue ­cozying up to Beijing. 

Joe Biden is on record that Chinese Communists are “not bad folks.” When President Trump imposed a ban on travel from China in January 2020, Biden called it “xenophobic.” Meanwhile, “it’s business as usual” at the Wuhan lab, Devine reports, where three weeks ago the WIV “published a patent for a new bat breeding program so it can continue its risky research.”

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: Angelina Bambina/Getty Images