An illegal biomedical lab with evident ties to China has been discovered in California. Reedley officials stumbled upon the laboratory, which was operating without a license and was filled with genetically-engineered mice, infectious agents, and medical waste. [Source]
The Reedley City Manager, Nicole Zieba, confirmed that Prestige Biotech had leased the facility. Prestige Biotech isn’t just any biotech firm. The company, linked to China, is under scrutiny for operating “service centers” in seven US cities. [Source]
Joe Prado, a representative from the Fresno County Public Health Department, provided details on the lab’s activities. [Source]
The lab had genetically-engineered mice intended for the spread of COVID-19. These mice were utilized to determine the accuracy of COVID-19 test kits. The greater concern, however, beyond their specific research goals, was the laboratory’s glaring disregard for standard safety protocols.
Health inspectors discovered nearly 1,000 lab mice, with 200 of them already dead. They also found vials containing human blood and other unidentified substances. Further investigation into the lab’s dealings revealed at least 20 potentially infectious agents, including HIV and Malaria.
Prof. Peter Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, told theDCNF, “These individuals are akin to healthcare terrorists. Events like a fire, earthquake, or theft could jeopardize thousands of unsuspecting individuals, especially if these agents contaminated the local water supply.”
Although Prestige Biotech is registered in Nevada, its ties strongly connect with Chinese interests. David He, the company’s representative, shared the address of PBI’s president, Yao Xiuqin, as “87 Zhuzhou Road” in Qingdao, China.
Fresno officials couldn’t confirm this specific address. Alarmingly, this address closely matches that of a Chinese pharmaceutical supplier, Ai De Diagnostic Co. Ltd. Records from both the Food and Drug Administration and the company’s official website list its addresses as either “87 Zhuzhou Road” or “141 Zhuzhou Road.”
In his court testimony, Joe Prado, the Assistant Director of the Fresno County Public Health Department, mentioned that the representative failed to produce “legally sufficient documentation.” He noted, “The addresses given for authorized agents were either vacant offices or addresses in China that couldn’t be confirmed.”
“The Department is attempting to cooperate, but it becomes challenging when you seem reluctant to offer genuine information,” Prado stated.
The story doesn’t end there. The address “141 Zhuzhou Road” seems to be a focal point for pharmaceutical activities.
Ai De Diagnostic isn’t the only entity linked to this location. Ai De Biopharmaceutical Industry (Qindao) Co. Ltd also shares this address. Overlapping names in leadership positions across UMI, PBI, and these Chinese firms have deepened investigators’ interest.
Ai De Biopharmaceutical’s executive director, Wang Zhaoyan, shares the same name as UMI’s CEO and PBI’s managing member. Also, Ai De Biopharmaceutical’s supervisor, Yao Xiuqin, is listed as PBI’s president.
This intricate network, centered on a single address in China, prompts urgent inquiries about the operation in Reedley.
Brandon Weichert, author of “Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life,” told the DCNF, “There’s a potential danger that this is part of a larger group of illegal and inadequately maintained biolabs. I suspect many such labs exist that remain unknown to us.”
By early July, authorities had closed the facility. Fresno County is now coordinating with state and federal agencies to manage the contaminants discovered in the lab.
“At our public health department, we manage our lab, fully aware of legal obligations and how to handle infectious agents. The controls we expect were entirely lacking at the warehouse,” Prado informed FOX 26.