Authorities in Fresno County, California, have discovered that an illegal, unlicensed laboratory contained dangerous biological agents, including the coronavirus and HIV.
Months of investigations by local and federal authorities into the potentially dangerous lab in Ridley have uncovered substances including hepatitis and herpes, according to NBC News.
A June 6 letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the findings and highlighted the threat to public health posed by unlicensed laboratories.
HIV, hepatitis, coronavirus, etc.
On March 3, city officials inspected Ridley’s lab for construction violations and found multiple chemicals in storage.
During subsequent inspections, medical equipment including the coronavirus and pregnancy tests were found, believed to have been developed at the site.
The situation became even more serious when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed the material and identified at least 20 potential infectious agents, including coronaviruses, HIV, hepatitis and herpes.
In addition, they found hundreds of rats in inhumane conditions, and more than 175 died. They also found unlabeled samples of blood, tissue and other bodily fluids.
Prestige BioTech Is Behind Secret California Labs
The company operating the illegal lab, Prestige BioTech, is a Nevada corporation not authorized to operate in California.
After the closure of Universal Meditech Inc. (UMI), Prestige BioTech has transferred assets from the defunct Universal Meditech Inc. to Reedley’s lab, the company’s president, Xiuquin Yao, said.
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However, officials were unable to track down any of the companies’ addresses in California other than the former Fresno address where UMI was evicted.
Now, Prestige BioTech is accused of failing to comply with a plan to eliminate and bioreduce these materials.
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