Judicial Watch reviews NIH records revealing there was an FBI inquiry into grant directed to research at Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Legal Insurrection readers who have been following the possibility of a lab leak origin for SARS-Cov-2, the virus that is the cause of the covid pandemic, may remember a group called EcoHealth Alliance.
EcoHealth Alliance is a group closely linked to the bat research conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. In October of last year, the National Institute of Health (NIH) owned up to funding gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses at China’s Wuhan lab — despite Dr. Anthony Fauci repeatedly insisting to Congress that no such thing happened.
In a letter to Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) on Wednesday, a top NIH official blamed EcoHealth Alliance — the New York City-based nonprofit that has funneled US funds to the Wuhan lab — for not being transparent about the work it was doing.
NIH’s principal deputy director, Lawrence A. Tabak, wrote in the letter that EcoHealth’s “limited experiment” tested whether “spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model.”
The lab mice infected with the modified virus “became sicker” than those that were given the unmodified virus, according to Tabak.
“As sometimes occurs in science, this was an unexpected result of the research, as opposed to something that the researchers set out to do,” Tabak said.
Now a House appropriations panel has approved an amendment to a major spending bill working its way through Congress that would ban funding for work in China by the group.
The fiscal 2023 appropriations bill for the State Department includes language to restrict any spending in China for the New York-based EcoHealth Alliance, a group whose president worked closely on gain-of-function virus research at the Wuhan institute. The institute’s work is at the heart of a raging global scientific debate over whether COVID-19 passed naturally to humans from animals or was the result of an accidental leak from the Chinese research facility near the heart of the original 2019 outbreak.
The amendment was drafted by Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, Pennsylvania Republican, and passed on a voice vote by the House Appropriations Committee on June 29. The amendment says the secretary of state can waive the funding ban if the support is found to be in the national security interest.
“It’s deeply concerning that U.S. taxpayer dollars have been funneled to a lab controlled by the Chinese Communist Party that conducts dangerous … research and is the likely origin of COVID-19,” Mr. Reschenthaler told The Washington Times.
“We must ensure that organizations with a history of funding risky experiments in labs controlled by our foreign adversaries don’t receive a single cent of U.S. taxpayer dollars,” he said.
As a reminder, EcoHealth Alliance officials had their fingerprints all over the lab-origin coverup scheme.
EcoHealth President Peter Daszak, a British zoologist, was part of an initial World Health Organization investigative team that concluded it was highly unlikely that the virus behind COVID-19 leaked from a Chinese lab. WHO has since walked back that conclusion and now views the lab leak theory as a viable origin for the disease outbreak.
Mr. Daszak also organized a letter from a group of scientists published in the medical journal Lancet in 2020 that condemned what the scientists called “conspiracy theories” that COVID-19 came from a lab.
John Ratcliffe, a former director of national intelligence, has said several scientists such as Mr. Daszak and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser, incorrectly claimed there were no live bats, gain-of-function research or military activities at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“We had intelligence that was telling us that all of those things were occurring there,” Mr. Ratcliffe said.
Also, Judicial Watch has just announced that it received 1651 pages of records from the NIH revealing an FBI “inquiry” into the NIH’s controversial bat coronavirus grant tied to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
The records also show National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) officials were concerned about “gain-of-function” research in China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2016.
The records reveal several indications of gain-of-function research, as well as failures to comply with reporting regulations, including a May 9, 2016, email marked “High” importance, in which NIH official Carine Normil notes Peter Daszak’s failure to file a progress report on EcoHealth’s bat coronavirus research:
This is the second communication from NIAID requesting that you file the progress report for the above-referenced grant [5R01AI110964] that was due no later than April 15, 2016. Please submit the delinquent report by May 12, 2016…. [P]lease be advised that continued late submission of your non-competing grant progress report and any subsequently requested documentation will result in a reduction of time and/or funds for this grant.
NIAID official Erik Stemmy, who is copied on her email, replies to Normil noting, “They have proposed work for the next year of the award that may be subject to the gain-of-function funding pause.”
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