Discovery in China-Linked Illegal Lab Was Worse Than Initially Thought
Universal Meditech Inc., unfortunately, has been on the receiving end of numerous criticisms and investigations due to the conditions found in their now-former warehouse in Fresno, California.
Recently obtained video of the warehouse revealed a veritable cavern of old, imported laboratory equipment and refrigerators full of unlabeled fluids, some of which had been repurposed from juice bottles. Upon further inspection, after a court warrant was obtained, twenty dangerous infectious agents ranging from malaria to tuberculosis were found.
In response to this alarming find, the Fresno County Department of Public Health's Assistant Director, Joe Prado, has stated, "I think the community really needs to get all the information, and unfortunately, we don't have that information of what other agencies are doing."
The company was reported to have moved out of that particular warehouse location last year due to overt pressure from the landlord and lawyers representing a Louisiana company inspected the warehouse a few months before the move. During the inspection, it was determined that the facility did not have the capability to properly manufacture COVID-19 test kits, as it had been accused of.
The conditions of the warehouse were deemed unsanitary and hazardous, with dirt, dust, animal feces and dander, uncontrolled humidity, and temperature all present. Furthermore, nearly 1,000 lab mice were an apparent part of the warehouse and it was determined that the care for them was so poor, that the remaining mice had to be euthanized.
More recently, Fresno City officials have released an accounting of its history with UMI, including a 2020 fire, a two-year delay in citywide inspections, and an application to operate in a different location near the international airport, which is still pending.
Despite our requests for comment, phone calls made to numbers associated with UMI lead to disconnected lines or unreturned messages.
It is important to note that although numerous investigations have been conducted, no significant action has been taken publicly against UMI or its operators. In the hope of ensuring public health and safety, it is important that full complete transparency and the release of very thorough and entirely complete information is made available.