REEDLEY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The saga of the illegal medical lab found in Reedley continues after the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party issued its first-ever subpoena last week as it took its investigation into a Chinese-owned lab to the next level.
Prestige Biotech and Universal Meditech Inc., have come under national scrutiny, including calls last month from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for further investigation.
Local, state, and federal agencies have been investigating the lab, which produced pregnancy and coronavirus tests to sell online. It was shut down in March after authorities found a series of code violations, reports of boxes containing around 1,000 mice (including 200 dead ones), and various infectious contagions stored in refrigerators, such as chlamydia, E. coli, human herpes, HIV, and Covid strains.
Congressman Costa and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy called for a formal investigation into how a company linked to the illegal Reedley medical lab was able to secure nearly $150,000 in federal COVID funds.
Those loans were awarded in 2020 and 2021 and later forgiven.
“This situation is alarming, and we remain concerned that these illegal activities were reportedly sustained with federal taxpayer dollars intended to assist legitimate businesses as they worked to survive through a global pandemic,” wrote Costa and McCarthy in the letter. “Your attention to this matter is appreciated. We look forward to seeing the PRAC’s swift action to determine whether any wrongdoing has taken place, and if so, recover taxpayer dollars and seek appropriate punishment of the entity and individuals involved.”
According to the FDA, Universal Meditech Inc. manufactured COVID-19 tests from October 2021 to December 2021 and distributed them in January 2022. Universal Meditech Inc. voluntarily recalled the product after becoming aware of the issue by the FDA.
Congressman Jim Costa has since sent a letter to the leaders of the FDA, the FBI, the IRS, and the EPA – as well as the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – asking for them to publish their investigation.
In the letter, Costa urges federal agencies to work quickly to investigate the potential wrongdoings stemming from this situation and take all appropriate actions to hold those responsible accountable – even offering his own assistance.
“We want to get to the bottom of this and determine whether or not there are any more potential labs that exist anywhere else in the county,” said Costa.
On Wednesday, the City of Reedley’s City Manager Nicole Zieba revealed that the city had been served with a subpoena by the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party as part of their investigation into the illegal medical lab. Zieba said that the same thing could happen elsewhere – until Congress takes action to ensure other similar illegal labs are not set up in other parts of the country.