BSL4 - JASE Medical

An Illegal Chinese Backed Biolab was Found in California – In December

And we are just now finding out about it

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Prestige Biotech, Inc, a Chinese based company had been illegally operating a biolab containing deadly pathogens in Claifornia since October 2022 according to documents. No CA address can be found for Prestige; addresses found for authorized agents were either empty offices or unverifiable addresses in China.

Located in the San Joquin Valley, the small town of Reedly, city code enforcement workers discovered a garden hose sticking out of the side of a supposedly vacant building back in December of 2022. Upon further investigation, they discovered the building was supposed to be vacant- there were no building permits of certificate of occupancy paperwork filed. Numerous violations prompted city officials to declare the site unsafe and posted “Unsafe to Occupy” signs around the building. Further investigation prompted the notification of many agencies- federal and state- were notified, from the FBI to the CDC and public health officials to further investigate. What they found was a macabre scene of filth, and thousands of unlabeled vials of fluids and suspected biological material. They also discovered, hundreds of mice living in inhumane conditions. The city took possession of the animals, euthanizing 773 of them along with more than 175 were found dead. 

This lab also contained at least 20 different pathogens including specimens of HIV, malaria, coronavirus, hepatitis B and C, streptococcus pneumonia, and 20 refrigerators filled with specimens and tissues. “Certain rooms of the warehouse were found to contain several vessels of liquid and various apparatus,” court documents said. “Fresno County Public Health staff also observed blood, tissue and other bodily fluid samples and serums; and thousands of vials of unlabeled fluids and suspected biological material.”

Government red tape could cost you or your loved ones their life

Considering they (city, state and federal authorities) knew about this unlicensed biolab for months and kept giving the company notice (see timeline of abatement below) without any firm action, I submit bureaucratic red tape, given the vast array of deadly pathogens ( I was only able to locate a few of them) could have possibly put the general public in mortal danger.

Fresno County Public Health

California Department of Toxic Substances

California Department of Public Health

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Timeline of Abatement orders to Prestige Lab from County of Fresno

  • April 21, 2023 Attempts to communicate with business owners in regards to facility located at 850 I Street, Reedley, CA 93654 since December 19, 2022 from City of Reedley and other public agencies to ascertain contents and items at the facility have been unsuccessful. City of Reedley building officials posted on March 3, 2023 an Unsafe to Occupy Notice in front of the building. Building has limited power source supplying refrigerators and freezers that are storing reagents, biological samples, appearance of containers used to culture virus(es), and multiple chemical containers. Items documented by City of Reedley officials. This order is issued as a result of multiple attempts to communicate with Universal MediTech Inc, Prestige Biotech Inc (“business owners”) currently leasing space located at 850 I Street, Reedley, CA 93654 to confirm hazardous materials, biological specimens, and operational practices to ensure hazardous waste and medical waste are appropriately being disposed of in compliance with Federal and State requirements. CDC has interest in the reagents being stored in the refrigerator/freezer that have been imported from outside of the United States which will require a federal permit which the business does not currently possess.
  • May 31st 2023 Within seven (7) days, the Business identified above must produce a biological abatement and disposal plan for the transport of properly labeled and identified biological specimens consistent with Federal, State, and local regulations. This plan should include transporters with appropriate licensures and certifications as well as a demonstration of commitment from these vendors via a purchase order or binding commitment. All biological specimens in non-operating refrigerators, or specimens that are improperly labeled or unidentified shall be treated as medical waste and abated and disposed of as medical waste. Such transporters contact information must be provided for the Fresno County Department of Public Health to verify
  • By June 11th 2023, the business identified above must produce a biological abatement and disposal plan for the transport of properly labeled and identified biological specimens consistent with federal state and local regulations. This plan should include transporters and with appropriate licensures and certifications as well as a demonstration of commitment from these vendors via a purchase order or binding commitment period all biological specimens in non operating refrigerators are specimens that are improperly labeled for unidentified shall be treated as medical waste and abated and disposed as medical waste.

All of the biological agents were destroyed by July 7 following a legal abatement process by the agency.

This lab that was left to operate for 7 months before it was shut down.  by reviewing the biosafety levels required by labs that test pathogenic diseases.

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4 Biosafety Lab Levels

BSL1

  • Controlled access
  • Hand washing sink
  • Sharp hazards warning policy
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Laboratory bench
  • Autoclave

BSL2

  • Controlled access
  • Hand washing sink
  • Sharp hazards warning policy
  • Physical containment device
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Laboratory bench
  • Autoclave

BSL3 (with risk-based enhancements)

Biosafety Level 3 is applicable to clinical, diagnostic, teaching, research, or production facilities in which work is done with indigenous or exotic agents that may cause serious or potentially lethal disease as a result of exposure by inhalation. HIV can be either level 2 or 3 depending on concentration and quantity of virus

  • Air tight when disinfecting
  • Self-closing, double-door access
  • Controlled access
  • Personal shower out (risk-based enhancement)
  • Sharp hazards warning policy
  • Hand washing sink
  • Sealed penetrations
  • Physical containment device
  • Powered air purifying respirator (risk-based enhancement)
  • Laboratory bench
  • Autoclave
  • Exhaust HEPA filter (risk-based enhancement)
  • Effluent decontamination system (risk-based enhancement)

BSL4

  • Air tight
  • Self-closing, double-door access
  • Controlled access
  • Sharp hazards warning policy
  • Hand washing sink
  • Sealed penetrations
  • Physical containment device
  • Positive pressure protective suit
  • Laboratory bench
  • Autoclave
  • Chemical shower out
  • Personal shower out
  • Supply and exhaust HEPA filter
  • Effluent decontamination system

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

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