Chinese biolab bird's eye

"It Got Real Quiet in Here..." The Secret Chinese Biolab in California (TIMELINE)

by James Walton

The year 2023 has been nothing short of a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream come true. Just look at Congress discussing UFOs for heaven’s sake! (Sorry, UAPs.)

Similarly, the secret and illegal biolab discovered in Fresno County came as a shock to the nation, and the fact that it was Chinese-owned has only raised suspicions–and questions. For example: Was this secret lab filled with viruses the only one of its kind in the nation?

Though it’s difficult to say, we will do our best to review all the pertinent facts of this case.

Let's begin.

Table of Contents

  • 01

    Perchance Discovery

  • 02

    Viruses, Bodily Fluids, Plasma... Bioengineered Mice

  • 03

    What Were They Up To?

  • 04

    Who is Prestige Biotech/Universal Meditech?

  • 05

    The Full Timeline

  • 06

    Final Thoughts

  • 07

    Frequently Asked Questions

Perchance Discovery

Jesalyn Harper and her discovery of the hose

Jesalyn Harper and her discovery. (Image courtesy of

On the streets of the small agricultural town of Reedley, California, the sole full-time code enforcer, Jesalyn Harper, was investigating a parking complaint near a cold storage facility. Upon inspection of the area, she detected a foul smell and then a long garden hose that ran directly into the old warehouse building’s wall. 

Imagine her astonishment when she knocked on the door of the building, and a woman in a lab coat opened the door. Behind her, two other workers–donning coats, blue plastic gloves, and face masks–were packing pregnancy tests into boxes. 

Concerned by what she saw, Harper proceeded to look around the lab. There, she discovered a true house of horrors–faulty electrical work, feces strewn about, vials of blood and jars of urine stored on shelves. The workers, through broken English, told her they were from China, where the owner also lived.

At this point, we can’t help but wonder what Harper must have thought and felt in that moment. To be in the head of a code enforcer while walking through an illegal bio lab, after all, would be quite a surreal experience.

“Does my pen have enough ink?” must’ve run through her mind at some point, considering the vast amount of paperwork such a discovery would prompt.

Speculation aside, this story serves as an important reminder about the hidden dangers that can be present in your local area. In fact, it is for this very reason that Mike Shelby–the CEO at Forward Observer–pushes readers to do what is called an “area study.” By getting to know our immediate area and the businesses that operate there, we can become better acquainted with the good, the bad, and the ugly in our own communities. 

If you find you have a chemical plant in your area, for example, then it might be time to add a protective mask to your preparedness arsenal. A great budget-friendly option is the CM-I01, a full-face respirator that provides Class 3 protection from toxins and chemicals.

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Viruses, Bodily Fluids, Plasma... Bioengineered Mice

Biolab freezer contents

Biolab freezer contents. (Image courtesy of Fresnobee)

Nestled in the lab's dozens of temp freezers and blast coolers–capable of reaching negative 80 degrees Fahrenheit–were absolute horrors like HIV, COVID, chlamydia, rubella, malaria, and about sixteen other infectious agents that were finally identified by the CDC. 

Yet the viral horrors were merely the beginning of this discovery. 

Investigators also found that the facility’s thirty refrigerators and standup freezers contained items like vials of blood, bags of plasma, and even jars of urine. 

Worst of all, there were shelves and shelves of bioengineered mice that had been reportedly infected with COVID-19. In all, seven hundred mice were euthanized during the facility’s biohazard cleanup.

Needless to say, that is a lot of bioengineered mice to be carrying a highly infectious respiratory virus. And though it is rare for animals to spread COVID to humans, these odds likely did little to comfort the members of the community who were unknowingly put at risk.

Consider, after all, what safety breaches would have occurred if there had been an occurrence as simple, and as common, as a power outage in California–let alone a hurricane. What happens, we wonder, after a weeklong power outage to freezers full of blood and urine?

Nothing good.

In the end, it all comes down to the risk of a dangerous biological outbreak–a prospect made all the more daunting by the presence of hidden labs. If an outbreak occurred, after all, the origin would be a great deal more difficult to identify. 

And remember: in such a situation, you will not have the time to compile a quarantine kit. Think back to how quickly things like hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks disappeared from shelves in 2020. With this in mind, our affordable, silver infused protective face masks are worth storing in your biological outbreak kit–or even as an EDC item.

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MIRA protective mask.

What Were They Up To?

Covid text

COVID test. (Image courtesy of Pixabay)

The fire chief sent a letter to the officials of the city proclaiming the potential for what he called a “disaster for the city”—an appropriate response, to be sure.

The official story is that the workers were making COVID and pregnancy test kits. Though Prestige Biotech representative Wang Zhaolin initially stated that the mice were modified to carry COVID, Harper later clarified that this was a miscommunication.

According to Nina Hahn, a veterinarian hired to examine the mice, the rodents had not been injected with any infectious agents, and were being used to grow COVID-19 antibody cells for the testing kits. She also denied that any experimentation had taken place.

In spite of this, many questions linger among the public.

After all, there were a host of items in this lab that had nothing to do with either COVID or pregnancy. So, what on earth were they doing with all of these other viruses? Why, for instance, did they have HIV? 

Who is Prestige Biotech/Universal Meditech?

Meditech logo

Universal Meditech logo.  (Image courtesy of Meditech.)

In the press, the Reedley lab has been by turns connected to both Prestige Biotech and Universal Meditech. But what are these two companies? And are they connected?

Allow us to dispel any possible confusion.

Universal Meditech–a longstanding, legitimate operation based in California–had for years released products under the "Prestige" label. However, an ethanol fire at one of their warehouses unveiled a series of questionable activities. As local authorities delved deeper into their operations, the presence of Universal Meditech in California began to wane.

Later, it was uncovered that the lab located in Reedley, which operated under the name Prestige Biotech, had undeniable ties to Universal Meditech. As a matter of fact, the former owned the latter. What’s more, the secret laboratory was responsible for manufacturing products that would later be subject to recalls in 2023, as announced on the Universal Meditech website.

In August 2023, the controversy came to a head. Due to a series of massive recalls, its association with the covert Reedley laboratory, and the ensuing financial strain, Universal Meditech declared its intent to close its doors. Among the recalled products–manufactured and distributed without the requisite FDA premarket clearance–were ketone test strips and breastmilk test strips.

A comprehensive list of recalled items is available here.

The Full Timeline

When Jesalyn Harper opened the door to that biolab, America was informed about it. As a result, we had to grapple with the idea of a secret Chinese lab in California full of bodily fluids and deadly viruses. And there was little offered in the way of context to put our minds at ease.

As it turns out, however, we know a little more about this lab than first thought. As such, it is worthwhile to break down the entire timeline of events. 


Our story begins in 2018, at a warehouse near East North and South Orange Avenues in South Fresno.

Of this location, Joe Perado, Assistant Direct of Fresno County Public Health, was later quoted: “When they were in the City of Fresno, they did have mice there; they were doing their operation there as well.”


Two years later, the company experiences a fire at the aforementioned South Orange location. Follow up inspection finds they did not have the proper hazard plans for storing ethanol on site. 

October 2022

After another couple of years pass, a complaint is filed by the Fresno County Department of Public Health regarding chemicals at this location, but public health officials are not able to obtain access to the facility in order to verify the existence of the chemicals. 

December 2022

Two months later–not in Fresno, but in Reedley–Harper finds the garden hose running directly into the warehouse wall. Her subsequent inspection uncovers the radical findings. 

March 2023

After meetings throughout the months of January and February, the lab is finally shut down, citing an “unsafe to occupy” notice. 

At the same time, there is also a nationwide recall of Universal Meditech COVID tests.

July 2023

In case you were wondering, we did not make a mistake here. For five months, no biohazard cleanup occurred. Instead, the dangerous materials sat in this location–only officially destroyed in July by a variety of required agencies. 

After the final biohazard cleanup and after action report, many concerned citizens reached out to Reedley to discuss ways to avoid another lab like this setting up shop. 

What was most terrifying was the city manager’s final thoughts on the situation in the small town. 

"I expect that as this issue rises to the surface nationwide, more and more of these [labs] are going to be discovered around the country," said Nicole Zieba, Reedley City Manager.

Reedley lab items

It took months for a biohazard cleanup of the Reedley inventory to take place. (Image courtesy of KTLA)

Final Thoughts

Reading this article, you may well wonder: “Are we at the beginning of Resident Evil or 28 Days Later?” After all, when you start investigating biolabs, it’s only so long before you find the sub-basement and the chimeras afloat in glass tubes. 

Hopefully, it won’t come to that. Since the world received a crash course in pandemic preparedness in 2020, we may prove to be better-equipped to deal with another, deadlier outbreak, should one occur. With this in mind, we all need to understand that being prepared to respond to the news of a biological attack or viral outbreak, even locally, is paramount. 

Under these kinds of circumstances, the most fundamental action you must be prepared to take is isolation. Should your area be affected by any kind of viral outbreak or the threat of some biological attack, staying put is going to keep you safe.

So, the question is: How long can you isolate for? Can you stay home for two weeks without leaving? What if the water is tainted? Do you have enough potable water to last for a month? Now is the time to do an inventory of your preps and really figure out just how long you can last at home. ☣

Frequently Asked Questions

What was the lab doing with all the other biological materials that had nothing to do with pregnancy or COVID testing?
Has there been any new secret Chinese-owned biolabs discovered?
What did the lab’s biohazard cleanup reveal?