- Between April and June 2023, officials in Fresno, California, discovered at least 20 potentially infectious agents, such as HIV and Malaria, as well as mice genetically-engineered to carry COVID-19, at an “unlicensed” laboratory in Reedley, California, operated by Prestige Biotech Inc. (PBI), the successor of defunct Universal Meditech Inc. (UMI), according to court records.
- PBI and UMI’s executives appear to share the same names and addresses with one of the lab’s Chinese pharmaceutical suppliers, business filings show.
- “There could be dozens — maybe even hundreds — of these labs that we don’t even know about,” Brandon Weichert, author of “Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life,” told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The company that allegedly operated an illegal biolab in California housing infectious agents has ties to multiple related Chinese pharmaceutical firms, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation review of court filings and government records.
In mid-June, officials from Fresno County began removing medical waste from an “unlicensed” laboratory in Reedley, California, operated by Prestige Biotech Inc. (PBI), the successor of defunct Universal Meditech Inc. (UMI), Fresno County court records show. Inspectors at the site discovered at least 20 potentially infectious agents, such as Malaria and Dengue virus, on the property, according to the documents.
Business filings show that some PBI and UMI executives appear to share the same names and addresses with one of the lab’s Chinese pharmaceutical suppliers. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Chinese Intel Arm Quietly Operates ‘Service Centers’ In 7 US Cities)
“The potential danger is that this is part of a larger nexus of illegal and poorly-maintained biolabs,” Brandon Weichert, author of “Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life,” told the DCNF. “I suspect there could be dozens — maybe even hundreds — of these labs that we don’t even know about.”
The lab’s representatives have failed to provide “legally sufficient documentation” to inspectors and the “addresses provided for identified authorized agents were either empty offices or addresses in China that could not be verified,” Joe Prado, Fresno County Public Health Department assistant director, wrote in his court declaration.
On June 13, 2023, Prado wrote to PBI and UMI representative David He, claiming he’d been unable to find correlating locations in China with the addresses He had sent to Fresno County on June 10, court documents show.
“First you responded with the addresses of empty offices, and when we asked for clarification you provided addresses in China that do not appear to correlate with any maps of the area,” Prado wrote. “The Department is trying to work with you, but it is increasingly difficult when it appears that you are not wanting to provide real information.”
Although Fresno officials couldn’t confirm the Qingdao, China, address of “87 Zhuzhou Road” that He provided for PBI’s president Yao Xiuqin, this address closely resembles that of a Chinese pharmaceutical company that supplied UMI called Ai De Diagnostic Co. Ltd. This Chinese company’s address is variously listed as either “87 Zhuzhu Road” or “141 Zhuzhou Road,” according to the Food and Drug Administration records and Ai De Diagnostic’s website.
Ai De Diagnostic’s homepage states that the firm is situated within Qingdao’s “High-Tech Industrial Park” — one of over 150 parks for innovative enterprises established by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) across China, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology’s website.
The Qingdao High-Tech Industrial Park is led by Li Tianchuan, a CCP member, according to the Chinese government. Li joined the CCP in March 1992 and has served in various CCP science and technology posts in Qingdao since that time, his profile states.
The DCNF found no evidence that Ai De Diagnostic, UMI or PBI are directly affiliated with the CCP.
Furthermore, according to Qixin.com business filings, Ai De Diagnostic’s address of “141 Zhuzhou Road” is also the same address as Ai De Biopharmaceutical Industry (Qingdao) Co. Ltd, whose leadership shares the same names with UMI and PBI’s heads. Ai De Biopharmaceutical’s executive director Wang Zhaoyan has the same name as both UMI’s CEO and PBI’s managing member, and Ai De Biopharmaceutical’s supervisor Yao Xiuqin shares the same name with PBI’s president, according to California and Nevada business filings.
Ai De Diagnostic and Ai De Biopharmaceutical also share the “141 Zhuzhou Road” address with a number of other companies, including Qingdao Guangdi Packaging Material Co. Ltd — all of which have sent shipments to UMI, according to import records.
Between November 2016 and June 2018, Ai De Diagnostic sent four shipments to UMI, according to Import Genius, which tracks international shipments. The four shipments contained items such as plastic bags, absorbent paper, plastic plates, aluminum foil, pregnancy tests, urinalysis test strips and non-woven fabric, Import Genius reports.
Two months after the February shipment, the Chinese-language outlet SinoUS reported that UMI received medical face masks from a “sister company in Qingdao.”
The third Chinese supplier, Ai De Biopharmaceutical, then began sending shipments containing items such as plastic buckets, paper boxes, aluminum foil and adhesive tape to UMI in June 2020 until June 2021, Import Genius reports.
PBI and UMI have operated an “unlicensed and unregulated” lab in Reedley, California since October 2022, court documents show.
Beginning in December 2022, officials attempted to make contact with the lab workers, but were unsuccessful until March 2023, when an official observed a garden hose illegally attached to the building as well as other code violations and ordered for the site to be inspected, according to court records.
Officials then began a series of on-site inspections and conducted an abatement process between April and June, during which they discovered “unsafe and unsanitary conditions” as well as mice genetically-engineered to catch and carry COVID-19, court records state.
“With the assistance of a veterinarian, the city euthanized 773 mice with 178 mice found to be already deceased at the time of execution of the abatement warrant,” according to court documents.
Officials also discovered improperly stored blood, bodily fluids, human and animal tissue as well as at least 20 infectious agents including E. coli, tuberculosis, streptococcus, hepatitis, HIV and Rubella.
“These people are healthcare terrorists,” Prof. Peter Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, told the DCNF. “A fire or an earthquake or even theft could put thousands of unsuspecting people at risk — and even worse if these agents got into the local water supply.”
“Even if they were trying to do real experiments, they are just as guilty — and dangerous,” Pitts said.
UMI and PBI’s attorney Michael Lin, and the assistant director of the Fresno County Public Health Department, Joe Prado, declined to comment.
Neither UMI and PBI representative David He nor Ai De Diagnostic responded to multiple requests for comment.
Ai De Biopharmaceutical and Qingdao Guangdi Packaging could not be reached for comment.
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