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Anthony Fauci-run lab in MONTANA experimented with coronavirus strain shipped in from Wuhan a year BEFORE Covid pandemic began
Alexa Lardieri

US taxpayer money was used to experiment with coronaviruses from the Chinese lab thought to be the source of the Covid pandemic more than a year before the global outbreak, an investigation has found.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), under Dr Anthony Fauci’s leadership, infected 12 Egyptian fruit bats with a ‘SARS-like’ virus called WIV1 at a lab in Montana in 2018, just 15 minutes away from the Maryland presidential retreat Camp David.

The WIV1-coronavirus was shipped from the Wuhan lab the FBI believes caused the Covid pandemic and was tested on bats acquired from a ‘roadside’ Maryland zoo. 

The research – revealed this week by a campaign group – determined the novel virus could not cause a ‘robust infection’.

But the research is more evidence of ties between the US government and the Wuhan lab, as well as the funding of dangerous virus research across the globe.

Between 2015 and 2023, at least seven US entities supplied NIH grant money to labs in China performing animal experiments, totaling $3,306,061

The paper – SARS-Like Coronavirus WIV1-CoV Does Not Replicate in Egyptian Fruit Bats – was published in the journal Viruses in 2018. The study was first flagged by DRASTIC, a group of internet activists who investigate the origins of Covid-19 and the lab leak theory.

The group White Coat Waste Project is now using the Freedom of Information Act to request more details about the experiment.

The White Coat Waste Project is a watchdog that has been fighting to stop sending American tax dollars overseas to fund dangerous virus research.

The 2018 experiment was carried out at the NIH’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, which was overseen by Fauci, the former director of National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The research was a joint venture between the NIH’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories and Wuhan Institute of Virology collaborator Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina.

Scientists obtained 12 Egyptian fruit bats from a Maryland zoo and inoculated them with the WIV1-coronavirus, which was first detected in Chinese rufous horseshoe bats.

They performed exams on the animals daily and measured things like body weight and temperature. Scientists also took samples from the bats’ noses and throats.

On days three, seven and 28, four of the bats were euthanized and their heart, liver, kidney, spleen, bladder, reproductive organs, eyes and brain were collected for analysis. Scientists also analyzed white blood cell count and antibodies.

Researchers determined the WIV1-coronavirus did not cause ‘a robust infection’ and ‘observed very limited evidence of virus replication.’

The bats had been sent from a ‘roadside’ Maryland zoo to the Montana facility allegedly by the zoo’s curator and director of animal health, who had previously worked at the in-house animal testing labs at the NIH from 2003 to 2012, the WCW said.

Located in Thurmont, Maryland, less than 15 minutes from Camp David, the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve (CWP) has a history of animal welfare violations and was fined $12,000 in 2012 for poor and dangerous animal housing and inadequate animal care.

Records show the preserve confined 523 federally-regulated animals as of April 2023, including 241 bats, of which 41 were Egyptian fruit bats.

The virus strain was obtained from the Wuhan lab experts believe caused the Covid-19 pandemic

A visitor left a review last month: ‘How is this place even legal?

‘I left heart broken and sad. The enclosures are so small and not well kept. This place is so unkept. It’s awful. It needs to be shut down. You can see the pain in these animals eyes. Something has to be done about this place.

‘This is not a preserve. It’s a place where animals are sent to suffer and be on display for humans. Disgusting.’

Despite the lack of transmission in the bats in 2018, similar dangerous research on viruses that could spark another pandemic have been ongoing across the globe for years.

And while there is debate over whether the pandemic began because a virus jumped from animals to humans or it was leaked from a lab in China, the lab-leak theory is what the FBI and other government agencies now subscribe to.

Most recently, revealed last week Chinese virus hunters have been tinkering with novel pathogens that have a ‘high probability’ of infecting humans, despite concerns similar experiments led to the Covid outbreak. also reported in August that millions of US taxpayer dollars are being sent to shady laboratories in China to fund cruel and dangerous experiments on animals.

Despite the shipment of funds across the world, America actually performs the most gain-of-function virus research.

Gain-of-function experiments involve making pathogens more infectious or deadly.

Advocates say the tests help science get ahead of future outbreaks, but critics say the risks of a leak outweigh any potential benefits.

These fears prompted US officials to quietly shut down a taxpayer-funded $125million project last month that hunted for new viruses.

The program, DEEP VZN – pronounced deep vision – was launched in October 2021 with the aim of finding and studying novel pathogens in wildlife in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

While the research was meant to prevent human outbreaks and pandemics, critics, including Biden administration officials, were afraid it would do the opposite and voiced their fears about the potentially ‘catastrophic risks’ of virus hunting.

In a statement from the president and founder of WCW, Anthony Bellotti said: ‘Our investigation has uncovered the real-life horror story of how a shady roadside zoo whose curator was an NIH animal experimenter shipped off bats to a deadly government virus lab overseen by Dr. Fauci to be infected with a coronavirus obtained directly from the Wuhan lab that experts believe caused COVID.’






Alexa Lardieri joined the US Health team in 2023, coming from U.S. News & World Report. She brings nearly a decade of experience reporting on politics, elections, education and healthcare, including exclusive coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic in New York City.

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