2022 defense bill bans Pentagon funding of work in China by EcoHealth Alliance

FPI / December 22, 2021


The Pentagon has been banned from funding any work in China by New York-based, taxpayer-supported EcoHealth Alliance, an NGO that worked closely with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) on coronavirus research.

In this Feb. 3, 2021, file photo, a security person moves journalists away from the Wuhan Institute of Virology after a World Health Organization team arrived for a field visit. / AP Photo / Ng Han Guan, File

EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak collaborated with WIV virologist Shi Zhengli, dubbed the “Bat Woman of Wuhan” for her work on bat viruses.

Daszak has been an outspoken critic of the theory that Covid-19 originated at the Wuhan lab. He was also part of the World Health Organization team that investigated the virus origin in China last year. The joint WHO-Chinese team concluded in a report that the lab theory “extremely unlikely” and not worth pursuing further.

The fiscal 2022 defense authorization bill, passed by Congress on Dec. 15, contains the ban.

The funding prohibition followed concerns that the Pentagon may have funded EcoHealth work in China as part of its Defense Threat Reduction Agency contracts, security correspondent Bill Gertz noted in a Washington Times report.

The House Armed Services Committee said it is also seeking details on any projects that were funded by the Pentagon in China and whether classified defense projects were carried out with EcoHealth Alliance.

The committee directed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to report to Congress by Jan. 1 describing all defense contracts with EcoHealth and its affiliates, and to disclose whether any funds went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is at the center of a global controversy over whether the COVID-19 virus sprang naturally from an animal host or through the work done at the lab.

In May, Defense Department officials questioned during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on funding for the EcoHealth Alliance, said they were not aware of any such funding. However, the Pentagon has provided nearly $40 million to EcoHealth Alliance for research.

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