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Congressional Committee Investigating Reedley COVID Lab



A congressional committee is investigating the Reedley COVID lab. (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)
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A congressional subcommittee has launched an investigation into whether the mysterious Chinese-linked lab discovered in Reedley “posed a threat to public health.”

Wednesday, Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, chair of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, sent letters to the FBI and Dept. of Health and Human Services, asking for documents and information by Wednesday, Sept. 6.

“It is highly concerning that an unlicensed lab operated by a Chinese company on American soil was apparently conducting dangerous research involving COVID-19 and other viruses,” Wenstrup wrote in near-identical letters to FBI Director Christopher Wray and HHS Sec. Xavier Becerra.

“It is highly concerning that an unlicensed lab operated by a Chinese company on American soil was apparently conducting dangerous research involving COVID-19 and other viruses.”Rep. Brad Wenstrup

The lab, discovered by Reedley code enforcement in December, led to a full investigation involving local, state, and federal agencies. Approximately 1,000 mice, genetically modified with COVID-19, were discovered along with other biological agents.

Court records indicate that Chinese nationals were behind the lab, operated by Prestige Biotech. The lab started under Universal Meditech Inc. but came under Prestige’s control after UMI had financial troubles. Prior to arriving mysteriously in Reedley, the lab operated for several years in Fresno. An attempt to move back to Fresno was recently thwarted by city officials.

Authorities shut down the Reedley lab, but information did not become public until July.

“As mounting intelligence and evidence supports that COVID-19 likely originated at a lab in Wuhan, China, conducting a thorough investigation into Prestige Biotech’s illegal bio-lab on U.S. soil is crucial to protecting America’s national security and preventing future outbreaks and pandemics,” Wenstrup said in a news release.

The requests include any documents and communications with Prestige/UMI; and any documents and communications with other local, state, and federal agencies. The letter to HHS also asked for information found by the CDC Division of Select Agents and Toxins inspection of the Reedley lab.

Earlier this month, Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, speaking to Fresno-area reporters, called for a congressional investigation into the lab.

More on the Subcommittee

The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic is part of the House Oversight Committee.

“We are committed to investigating the origin of COVID-19, but also assessing the federal government’s ability to keep America safe from biological threats. This assessment is critical to bolstering our ability to prepare for and prevent future pandemics,” Wenstrup wrote, describing the subcommittee’s work.

The 16-member subcommittee has nine Republicans and seven Democrats. Three are California members — ranking member Raul Ruiz, D-Indio; Robert Garcia, D-Long Beach; and Ami Bera, D-Sacramento.

Another notable name on the subcommittee is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia.


Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email