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Photos of What Was Stored Inside the Clandestine Reedley Bio Lab
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By Edward Smith
Published 9 months ago on
August 3, 2023

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On May 1, California Department of Public Health investigators inspected an illegal Reedley medical lab operated by Las Vegas-based Prestige Biotech.

Investigators wanted to see if the thousands of gallons of biological fluid, laboratory mice, vials containing blood, serum, and at least 20 different diseases kept at the lab were in compliance with the Medical Waste Management Act.

Diseases found there included malaria, HIV, SARS-CoV-2 — the disease that causes COVID-19 — tuberculosis, chlamydia, and E. coli, among others.

Testing by public health agencies shows there is no threat to the public either in the air or in the water, said Reedley City Manager Nicole Zieba.

According to court documents, inspectors then wrote to Prestige Biotech’s president, Xiuqin Yao, sending pictures about what was found. Officials asked Yao about what was being done to protect the public from being exposed to the biological materials.

Yao corresponded with officials for a time but suddenly ceased communicating with investigators. Neither the CDPH nor Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office has answered GV Wire’s inquiries about how laboratories such as these are licensed or what inspection measures are done to ensure the public is kept safe from deadly diseases.

Reedley code inspectors stumbled upon the warehouse after seeing a garden hose coming out of the building. After seeing what was within, the Centers for Disease Control, CDPH, and other agencies were contacted. The pictures below are in court documents.

While investigators were only able to identify 20 diseases, many more unclearly labeled containers were found in the lab’s 32 freezers, according to court documents. Many of the freezers were no longer working properly. (CDPH)
“In several freezers CDPH staff observed containers labeled as serum or plasma (of unknown origin) and/or with the name of an infectious agent. A substantial number of the containers were unlabeled and CDPH staff was unable to discern the contents of these containers. Many of the indecipherable containers appeared to contain blood, or a blood product, such as serum, or other bodily fluids,” the California Department of Public Health said in court documents. CDPH)
Inspectors found numerous vials of pharmaceuticals inside the refrigerators and freezers at the Reedley lab. (CDPH)
This biological waste container was found still shrink-wrapped to the pallet. Investigators said it would have been inaccessible to workers at the Reedley lab. (CDPH)
Autoclaves can be used to sterilize medical equipment. Even though inspectors found red and orange autoclave bags, no autoclave machine was found at the site. Orange bags are not authorized for autoclave use in California, according to CDPH. (CDPH)
Inspectors were unable to look inside the centrifuges and incubators stored at the Reedley lab. (CDPH)

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Edward Smith,
Multimedia Journalist
Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at Edward.Smith@gvwire.com.

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