Davidson News

Davidson News

Chinese Medical Lab Faces Uncertainty in Fresno Amidst COVID-19 Testing Controversy

Chinese-owned medical lab in Reedly sparks controversy regarding to the health and safety concern with regulatory compliance, such as their controversial operations, particularly handling of COVID-19 and other deadly viruses.

The lab’s history of relocation, regulatory issues, and recall of COVID-19 test kits creates a narrative centered around public health, safety, and adherence to regulations (Photo: AP News).


Controversy Surrounds Chinese Medical Lab’s Return Amid Regulatory Concerns

According to the published article of The Fresno Bee, the Chinese medical lab, previously shut down in Reedley due to the discovery of COVID-19 and other dangerous viruses, which will be facing uncertainty as it attempts to relocate to a building near Fresno Yosemite International Airport. The Chinese medical lab, operated by Universal Meditech Inc. and Prestige Biotech Inc., had once legally operated in Fresno but was later mired in controversy over its operations. The city of Fresno has put plans for its return on hold, seeking more information before granting occupancy approval.

City officials are demanding clarity about the operational plans of Chinese medical lab for its new location at 3900 N. Blattella Lane, raising concerns due to conflicting information in two operational statements submitted in March 2022 and June. City Planning Director Jennifer Clark has emphasized the need for owner authorization, disclosure of hazardous materials, and appropriate permits from local, state, and federal authorities before evaluation can proceed. The recent tumultuous history of the Chinese medical lab, including recalls of its COVID-19 test kits and regulatory compliance issues, has raised caution flags for officials.

Despite the lab’s previous engagement in manufacturing COVID-19 test kits during its initial presence in Fresno, it seems that the company may have lacked the necessary FDA authorization for manufacturing and distribution. Recalls of the test kits were initiated for over 209,000 kits in April 2022 and a further 56,000 in December 2022. These recalls corresponded to the period when the company was operating in Fresno. As officials assess the future of the Chinese medical lab, concerns over regulatory compliance and public safety remain at the forefront of discussions.

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Miscommunication Over COVID-19 Mice and Oversight Gaps in Reedley Medical Lab

The AP News indicated that the Chinese Medical lab in Reedley was inspected in March, revealing infectious agents like E. coli, coronavirus, and other diseases within its refrigerators. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clarified that no illegal possession of materials or bioweapon-related toxins were found. The lab, owned by Prestige Biotech Inc., based in Las Vegas, faced a court order for closure after they stopped communicating with officials. A local news outlet’s article fueled speculation about genetically modified mice carrying COVID-19, though this claim was attributed to miscommunication. Expert examination on the Chinese medical lab confirmed that the mice were used to grow COVID-19 antibody cells for testing kits, dispelling experimentation concerns.

The incident highlights the potential consequences of online misinformation, fanned by historical anti-Chinese sentiments. Despite the controversy, the primary concern should be the lack of oversight on private medical labs, as evident in Reedley’s case. The absence of a unified regulatory body overseeing these labs is raising alarm among officials. While concerns were raised about the proximity of the Chinese medical lab to a naval air station, authorities assert that public safety was never compromised, as air and water tests showed no threats.

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