A forensic analysis shows that the Wuhan Insitute of Virology (WIV) was genetically manipulating the Nipah virus, a highly lethal pathogen, in violation of the Biological Weapons Convention, according to an expert who testified at a Senate subcommittee hearing on Aug. 3. The Nipah virus has been reported to be about 60 times deadlier than COVID-19.
The finding was another piece of evidence showing that the controversial Wuhan lab was conducting gain-of-function research—experiments that ultimately resulted in the COVID-19 pandemic via a leak from the facility, according to Dr. Steven Quay, CEO of Atossa Therapeutics. Gain-of-function research involves enhancing the potency or transmissibility of a virus.
Quay said he and other scientists conducted an examination of COVID-19 patient specimens from December 2019 sequenced and published by the WIV. Through that analysis, published in a preprint paper that hasn’t been peer-reviewed, they found 20 unexpected contaminants that they believe are evidence of other research conducted at the lab.
“For 19 of the 20 unexpected contaminants, we then found published research from the previous two years, confirming that the lab had indeed been working on these unexpected genes,” he said in written testimony (pdf) before a hearing on gain-of-function research held by the Senate subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight. The hearing was only attended by the subcommittee’s Republican members.
In the hearing, Quay listed a series of evidence that he said pointed to COVID-19 originating from a lab leak from WIV.