The National Institute of Health has confirmed that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has been authorized to receive US taxpayer funding for animal research through January 2024.
According to the Daily Caller News Foundation, the WIV has been subject to constant speculation that the novel coronavirus could have leaked into the general human population due to an accidental leak from the lab. Before the outbreak in Wuhan, researchers at the lab were studying coronaviruses in bats as part of a project supported by $600,000 in US taxpayer funding.
To this day, however, the WIV still has an active Foreign Assurance on file with the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, enabling it to continue receiving US public funds.
An NIH spokeswoman told the Daily Caller that the lab’s Foreign Assurance was approved on January 9, 2019 and will expire on January 31, 2024, but did not confirm whether or not the lab is currently receiving any taxpayer funding.
The funds WIV has received, however, were routed to the lab through the nonprofit group EcoHealth Alliance.
Peter Daszak, the president of EcoHealth Alliance, served as the sole US member of the World Health Organization delegation tasked with investigating the origins of the pandemic on the ground in China in January and February. While the WHO delegation has yet to release a report on their findings, Daszak recently said that the Biden administration should “trust, then verify” their conclusion that the pandemic did not likely stem from a leak at the Wuhan lab.
The Daily Caller continues:
Daszak also said American intelligence, which indicates researchers at the WIV became infected with COVID-like symptoms before the first known cases in December 2019, shouldn’t be trusted.
EcoHealth Alliance’s work researching bat-based coronaviruses in China was funded by a $3.7 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 2014, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The grant was terminated by the National Institutes of Health in April amid criticism over EcoHealth Alliance’s relationship with the WIV. The NIH said in a letter the nonprofit’s work in China did not align with “program goals and agency priorities.”
The NIH told EcoHealth Alliance in July it would restore the grant if it met certain conditions, one of which was to arrange for an independent team to investigate the WIV to determine if it had possession of the SARS-COV-2 virus prior to the first known cases in December 2019.
The NIH’s conditions were “preposterous,” Daszak said.
“I’m not trained as a private detective,” Daszak told NPR. “It’s not really my job to do that.”
Anthony Bellotti, president of the White Coat Waste Project, a nonpartisan watchdog group, told the Daily Caller that EcoHealth Alliance should be immediately and entirely defunded for “reckless gain-of-function animal experiments that may have led to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We’re urging Congress and the White House to defund EcoHealth now and secure independent investigations into whether their treacherous gain-of-function animal experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology led to the COVID outbreak,” Bellotti declared.
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