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Trusting China in Inviting Another Pandemic

: Betsy Mccaughey on

It's one thing to die from natural causes. Worse, to die from a disease leaked by Chinese scientists in a lab and allowed to wipe out millions. That is now almost certainly the explanation for the origins of COVID-19.

And even worse? U.S. taxpayers paid for it.

The U.S. government hasn't learned a thing. Disease watchers are tracking the spread of H5N1 -- bird or avian flu -- across the globe as it invades mammals for the first time, leaving South American beaches littered with dead sea lions. In the U.S., 34 dairy cattle herds in nine states are infected. Scientists are anxiously watching for any sign the virus is changing genetically to make human-to-human spread possible.

Against this backdrop, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is collaborating with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the parent organization of the Wuhan Institute of Virology from which COVID-19 leaked. The collaboration is manipulating strains of bird flu, making them deadlier, then infecting ducks and geese with them. What could go wrong?

The Biden administration also stealthily extended the U.S.-China Science and Technology Agreement on March 14 for another six months despite mounting opposition.

Nineteenth-century scientist Louis Pasteur said, "Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity." A noble idea but too naive for today's world. The U.S. must be guarded about supporting and sharing research with scientists controlled by enemy nations.

 

Unfortunately, the U.S. too often leaves decisions about funding international collaborations to the scientists. They generally have a global mindset, making them more loyal to their colleagues than to their country. Congress needs to take charge.

Canada is curbing its cooperation with China on infectious diseases. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre told Parliament that "dangerous viruses" had been covertly taken from a Canadian lab to Beijing. He said, "We should be collaborating with likeminded democracies that we can trust, not those that want to attack our interests."

Consider the USDA collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute to manipulate strains of avian flu, making them more lethal.

The USDA's Chinese partner, Liu Wenjun, says "the purpose of the three countries collaborating is to exchange the research data ... to control global diseases." Can Liu be taken at his word?

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Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

 

 

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