The discovery of an illicit lab containing deadly pathogens, including coronavirus, HIV, and malaria, has reportedly now left a city in central California reeling.
City officials would not have known that a dubious biotech company with connections to China had set up shop there last spring if it weren’t for an errant hose sticking out of the back of the warehouse.
The company had filled it with industrial freezers, hundreds of vials of viruses, and about 1,000 dead and dying lab mice.
in least 20 infectious pathogens, including coronavirus, HIV, hepatitis, and herpes, were housed in the subterranean testing facility, according to government investigators, who also discovered Covid diagnostic and pregnancy tests there.
Prestige Biotech, which president Xiuquin Yao claimed was a successor to the now-defunct corporation Universal Meditech Inc., ran the laboratory without a California business license.
However, authorities sent to locations connected to the firms showed up at vacant office buildings or unverifiable addresses in China.
Early in July, after a lengthy examination, all harmful chemicals and compounds, both labeled and unlabeled, were properly disposed of. Although officials there emphasize that an inquiry into the lab’s origins is ongoing, they maintain that the local population is safe.
Although authorities claim the immediate threat has been eliminated and the building’s electricity has been turned off, there will continue to be worries about potential contamination in the neighborhood due to illegal garbage disposal and leaking of harmful germs and viruses that might endanger the health of Reedley residents.
Early in March, a code enforcement officer traveling by the peaceful Californian hamlet of Reedley observed a garden hose hanging out of a structure where it shouldn’t have been.
This led him to realize that the lab was a black-market operation.
Additionally, they discovered numerous vials containing biomaterials, such as blood and tissue, as well as numerous other unlabeled chemicals, some of which were discovered to contain the coronavirus, as well as bacteria and virus pathogens like HIV, chlamydia, E. Coli, streptococcus pneumonia, hepatitis B and C, herpes 1 and 5, rubella, and malaria.
The head of the business, named by city officials as Xiuquin Yao, said that Prestige BioTech moved its operations to the Reedley warehouse, which had previously been used by a now-defunct business known as Universal Meditech Inc.
Identified as UMI’s successor in court records was Prestige.
However, when authorities were instructed to look for premises connected to either organization, they discovered abandoned offices or related addresses back in China that they were unable to verify.
Although the inquiry is ongoing and might provide additional information in the future, city authorities claim that people using the moniker Prestige BioTech have not been helpful.