NIH ends contract with Wuhan lab but not U.S. firm that funded gain-of-function research

by WorldTribune Staff, September 1, 2022

Under public scrutiny made possible by independent media reports, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said that it has scrubbed a contract between EcoHealth Alliance and the Wuhan, China lab where the Covid virus is believed by many to have originated.

But the NIH said it still may send more U.S. taxpayer dollars to Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance, which reportedly funded dangerous gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Social media giants including Twitter, Google and Facebook have heavily suppressed and often censored reports by independent media including that called attention to the role U.S. taxpayer funds may have played in the research at the Wuhan lab.

The NIH said Friday that it had identified problems with EcoHealth’s handling of its coronavirus grant, which included “inadequate oversight in monitoring the activities of its subawardees, failure to report subawards to the General Services Administration’s Federal Subaward Reporting System, and errors in indirect rate charges.”

One of EcoHealth’s subawards went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence released an assessment in 2021 stating that one U.S. intelligence agency assessed with “moderate confidence” that the Covid virus most likely emerged from the Chinese government lab in Wuhan. Four U.S. spy agencies and the National Intelligence Council said they believe with “low confidence” that Covid most likely has a natural origin.

In its Friday announcement, the NIH said it was canceling the EcoHealth subaward to the Wuhan lab.

EcoHealth was reprimanded by the NIH in October of last year when the agency found that the organization headed by Daszak delayed revealing that a U.S.-funded experiment conducted with the Wuhan lab determined that mice with implanted human cells became sicker with an engineered version of bat coronavirus. The NIH said it found more EcoHealth violations in January.

Related: Fauci ‘lied to Congress, lied to the press, and lied to the public’ on gain-of-function research in Wuhan, October 22, 2021

Last year, an international group of ten scientists and health experts called on the board of EcoHealth Alliance to remove Daszak as its president.

Daszak “concealed several extreme situations of conflict of interest, withheld critical information, and misled public opinion by expressing falsehoods”, the ten experts said in a letter to EcoHealth chair Nancye Green and vice-chair Carlota Vollhardt.

The letter said EcoHealth’s role in the investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic had become increasingly controversial.

Yet, still, NIH Deputy Director Michael Lauer said EcoHealth may again be receiving U.S. tax funding for its bat coronavirus experiments — just without the Wuhan lab’s continued involvement.

Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee, slammed the NIH for even considering send more taxpayer funds to EcoHealth:

“Terminating EcoHealth Alliance’s partnership with the Wuhan Lab is the bare minimum,” Comer said Friday. “It’s unacceptable that the NIH continues to allow EcoHealth Alliance to receive taxpayer dollars even though it is confirmed EcoHealth violated the terms of its grant contract. EcoHealth conducted gain of function research on bat coronaviruses in Wuhan, knew about the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup, and failed to inform the U.S. government.”

Comer added: “EcoHealth’s dangerous experiments in Wuhan and possible efforts to cover up any evidence may have started the pandemic. EcoHealth should not receive a penny of American taxpayer dollars for their gross mismanagement of Americans’ hard-earned money.”

Daszak’s relationship with the Wuhan lab goes back several years. He steered hundreds of thousands of dollars in NIH funding to the Chinese lab and was also a key World Health Organization-China joint study team member in early 2021.

Daszak has referred to the lab leak theory as “myths” and “conspiracy theories.”

An advisory group assembled by the WHO said in June that the lab leak hypothesis needed further study.

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