Recommender: MOS Billwilliam
As reported by journalist Anthony Klan from The Klaxon, Communist China and Pakistan entered a three-year pact for potential biowarfare capabilities. The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) signed a covert deal with the Pakistan military’s Defense Science and Technology Organization (DESTO) to collaborate on research in emerging infectious diseases — Communist China is funding the program and testing biological agents outside its borders to evade international condemnation. The Wuhan Institute of Virology provided all financial, material, and scientific support.
Klan cited intelligence sources that the CCP-Pakistan joint program had successfully isolated Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT), a bacterium similar in structure to anthrax. The Wuhan Institute of Virology provided extensive training on gene editing for pathogens and bioinformatics to Pakistan, along with experimental reagents.
DESTO is a Pakistani military organization outside the supervision of civilian health departments. The CCP-Pakistan joint program allows either country to add research projects on newly discovered infectious diseases. Communist China probably launched the program to counter India and to test biological agents in foreign territory. The joint program is also experimenting with the Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus (CCHFV), which is a deadly class-4 pathogen—intelligence officers expressed concerns since Pakistan experimented with the dangerous pathogen in facilities not equipped to handle Bio-Safety Level-4 pathogens.
There are also concerns over the Institute of Medical Biology, which is a lab set up by the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Kunming, Yunnan Province. Intelligence sources indicated this facility is also handling class-4 pathogens without adequate safety protection.
I found two science articles about the bacteria Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT). The first article, titled “Crystal structure of Bacillus thuringiensis Cry7Ca1 toxin active against Locusta migratoria manilensis,” explains the structure of a protein toxin in BT . The second article is about the whole genome sequence of BT . The authors of both articles belong to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. These pieces of evidence illustrate the Wuhan Institute of Virology has researched BT.
Despite being similar to anthrax, BT is a type of harmless bacteria that only infects insects. It is commonly used as a pesticide in agriculture. However, if the CCP-Pakistan joint program genetically modifies the bacteria, a novel pathogen that is capable of infecting humans may be created.
- “Exclusive: China’s Wuhan lab operating ‘covert operations’ in Pakistan, handling ‘anthrax-like’ pathogens,” Klan, Anthony, The Klaxon, July 23, 2020.
- “Crystal structure of Bacillus thuringiensis Cry7Ca1 toxin active against Locusta migratoria manilensis,” Jing. X., and et al., Protein Science, Mar 2019, 28(3): 609-619
- “Complete Genome Sequence of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. Jinghongjiensis Reference Strain YGd22-03,” Wu, Y., and et al., Genome Announcement, Sep 2017, 5(39):e00740-17
Proofreader: Rica | Reviewer: Irene