Two top GOP lawmakers have created the first official investigation into the HHS’ failure to properly research grants of American funds to bat coronavirus research at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“There is continuing evidence that reveals the pandemic might have come from the Wuhan Institute of Virology with research on coronaviruses being partially paid for by EcoHealth’s grant,” they said, as the WSJ reported last month that three lab scientists who needed hospital care due to COVID-like symptoms in Nov. of 2019, just weeks before the pandemic’s initial outbreak.
The time-frame goes against the Chinese government’s official statement that the first illness was reported on December 8.
“The Trump Admin. was worried about the EcoHealth grants so it ordered the NIH to stop the funding in April of 2020,” Jordan and Gallagher said. “But questions still remain about why the government would use taxpayer money to fund virus research at a Chinese lab. Especially one with safety issues”
In fact, there were warnings about safety problems in 2018, saying that the lab’s studying of bat coronavirus transmission to humans could create another SARS pandemic.
Part of their research centered on “gain of function research,” a technique of pandemic preparedness where scientists remove viruses from nature and engineer them to affect humans to study possible solutions, including vaccines. This type of technique is so dangerous that the American government forbid its funding back in 2014, while HHS created measures to evaluate grant programs. The moratorium on such research funding was removed in 2017.
The Wuhan lab, however, kept benefiting from American taxpayer money during the moratorium. EcoHealth Alliance, the receiver of grant money from the NIAID, run by Dr. Fauci, funded the research of coronavirus transmission to humans inside Wuhan. The oversight board that was formed to scrutinize such high-risk moves did not investigate the grant.
The NIAID, a sub-agency of the NIH, chose to keep the reviewers ignorant by deciding that the research did not meet the definition of “gain of function.”
“After investigating the grant, NIAID decided that the research was not gain-of-function because it was not involving the enhancement of the transmissibility of the viruses,” a NIH spokesman said in April.
Fauci has denied his agency funded research involved in gain of function after dismissing the lab-leak theory for months as a conspiracy theory.
A huge amount emails from a Freedom of Information Act request this week has shown a defensive Dr. Fauci who ignored those who expressed to him that the virus might have escaped from the Chinese lab in Wuhan.
Here’s a Feb 21, 2020 email to Fauci from a Weill Cornell Medical College associate professor of dermatology who wrote: “we think that there is a possibility that the virus was released from a lab in wuhan, the biotech area of china”
Fauci fwds to a colleague: “please handle” pic.twitter.com/ZjIZztCNU1
— Jason Leopold (@JasonLeopold) June 1, 2021
While Dr. Fauci was downplaying the lab theory, Dr. Daszak, who led EcoHealth, which funded the Wuhan research, thanked the Fauci in April for combating the lab-leak theory.
Peter Daszak, who was deeply involved both in Wuhan coronavirus research & in misleading the public about the likelihood of a lab leak, thanked Fauci for helping “dispel the myths” around COVID origins and blamed Fox News for targeting his grant. From the @JasonLeopold FOIA batch pic.twitter.com/LgloFVaFZX
— Sarah Westwood (@sarahcwestwood) June 1, 2021
Author: Blake Ambrose