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and toxins.[1] This is a substantial gap that, along with the presence of illegal biolabs, local communities are currently trying to address on their own.[2] There needs to be a comprehensive federal regulatory regime that safeguards Americans while still promoting responsible research.

C. The CDC’s Response was Unacceptable

The CDC’s response was inadequate and raises serious questions about its standard practices. It is unacceptable that the CDC, according to accounts of local officials, refused to take a phone call from city and county officials concerned about a biolab found in their region.[3] Even if the CDC normally works through state agencies, it could have given the necessary contact information to local officials. It should not require a Member of Congress – in this case, Congressman Jim Costa – to personally call the CDC or any other federal agency for them to provide meaningful support.

The CDC’s refusal to test any samples is likewise baffling.[4] The CDC observed in its own reporting that “[t]housands of vials had unclear labeling, coded labeling, or no identifications,” that biohazard signs were around many of these unlabeled vials, and that the labeled vials included Risk Group 2 and 3 pathogens.[5] Despite the probability that the unlabeled or coded vials contained additional unknown and dangerous pathogens, CDC officials refused to take any further investigative steps.[6] The fact that they seemingly took the word of biolab operators and noted fraudsters and concluded that the named labels are wholly correct is also strange. It is entirely within the realm of probability that the vials of Toxoplasmi gondii, for instance, were filled with an entirely different and potentially far more dangerous pathogen. Because of this, the Select Committee—and, more importantly, the American people—can never resolve what pathogens Zhu and the Reedley Biolab possessed.

The CDC’s continuing refusal to test pathogens despite reasonable requests and the offer to pay from local officials facing a concerned populace simply does not make sense.[7] Despite the CDC official’s statement to City Manager Zieba, there does not appear to be any law prohibiting the CDC from testing unlabeled

  1. Id.
  2. See generally Brianna Willis, Fresno lab transparency ordinance passes first vote by city council, ABC News (Aug. 24, 2023).
  3. Select Committee conversation with local officials.
  4. See Footnote 40, infra.
  5. In Re: Property Locate at 850 “I” Street, Reedley, California 93654, No. 23CECG00912, (Cal. Super. Ct. Jun. 15, 2023) at Ex. D – CDC Letter.
  6. See Footnotes 40 and 32, infra (referencing email correspondence and local official accounts).
  7. Id.

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