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US govt funds $1M for experiments on dangerous bird flu viruses in collaboration with Chinese scientists: report

US bird flu experiments
Source: Pixabay

The US government is using $1 million from American taxpayers to support experiments on dangerous bird flu viruses, working together with Chinese scientists, DailyMail reported. The study includes infecting ducks and geese with various virus types to see how easily they can spread and whether they can infect mammals, as detailed in research papers.

USDA’s efforts to understand emerging avian influenza viruses

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) aims to gain a better understanding of the evolution of recently emerged avian influenza viruses. These viruses, which have been causing significant mortality among wild birds and poultry worldwide, have not commonly infected humans nor spread between them. However, there is a possibility of these viruses mutating into more dangerous strains that could pose a threat to human health.

The campaign group, The White Coat Waste Project, obtained the documents and shared them with According to the papers, funding for the avian virus research started in April 2021 and is scheduled to run until March 2026. The USDA informed Dailymail that the project was applied for in 2019 and received approval in 2020.

The collaborative research will be conducted at locations in Georgia, Beijing, and Edinburgh, Scotland. This decision is being made despite limitations placed on similar research in 2022 and increasing worries about the possibility of questionable Chinese studies being connected to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the researchers involved in the project is Wenju Liu, who is associated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, an institution suspected to have triggered the Covid pandemic. Liu is also a board member of a scientific journal, according to DailyMail’s report. Additionally, collaborating with Liu is Zheng-Li Shi, renowned for her extensive research on bat coronaviruses and commonly referred to as the ‘bat lady’.

US Senator expresses concerns over US-China collaboration on bird flu research, says it could create ‘superviruses’

A US senator Joni Ernst (R–IA) has raised concerns about the US-China research collaboration, reported. She suggested that it involves risky experiments that could potentially create “superviruses” capable of triggering a pandemic.

On February 14th, Ernst addressed a letter to the head of the USDA  expressing her concerns about an avian influenza study being conducted by USDA researchers in collaboration with scientists from the United Kingdom’s Roslin Institute and China’s Institute of Microbiology.

According to a USDA spokesperson in an email, the funding provided by USDA is solely designated for the specific components conducted by their team based in Athens, Georgia, and does not contribute to research being conducted in the United Kingdom or China.

Furthermore, the spokesperson stated that the concerns outlined by Senator Ernst in her letter are inaccurate compared to the actual activities taking place. And these concerns are based on decisions made before the current Administration took office, according to

The spokesperson suggested that if Senator Ernst has concerns regarding USDA research, she should directly communicate with them before disseminating misinformation through press releases or public letters.


About the author

Brendan Byrne

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala.

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