The US government has finally pulled funding from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where the Obama administration offshored banned gain-of-function research, including projects to make bat covid more transmissible to humans, before a highly evolved, human-infecting bat coronavirus broke out in the same town and killed millions of people worldwide.
Then the US put the same guy involved in said research, Peter Daszak, in charge of a highly conflicted lab-leak denial.
The stated reason for the funding halt? The lab failed to provide documents concerning safety and security measures, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg.
The Department of Health and Human Services on Monday notified the WIV of the suspension, and told the lab that it’s looking to cut it off permanently following a review which began last September that concluded that the Wuhan lab isn’t compliant with federal regulations.
This means that the WIV won’t receive further federal funding.
Penalizing the lab is the most drastic action the US has taken so far over its failure to share documentation on biosafety practices amid ongoing investigations into Covid-19’s origins. The institute has became become a flashpoint in discussions of how the pandemic, which has killed some 7 million people, started, with some, including FBI Director Christopher Wray, suspecting it could have originated at the facility. -Bloomberg
In 2014, the NIH awarded EcoHealth Alliance and its president Peter Daszak an grant for “understanding the risk of bat coronavirus emergence.” The WIV received a subaward of that grant.
The first $666,442 installment of EcoHealth’s $3.7 million NIH grant was paid in June 2014, with similar annual payments through May 2019 under the “Understanding The Risk Of Bat Coronavirus Emergence” project.
Notably, the WIV “had openly participated in gain-of-function research in partnership with U.S. universities and institutions” for years under the leadership of Dr. Shi ‘Batwoman’ Zhengli, according to the Washington Post‘s Josh Rogin.
EcoHealth also funneled funds from the US Agency for International Development to the WIV.
Earlier this year, HHS’s Office of Inspector General conducted an audit that determined that the NIH and EcoHealth Alliance didn’t effectively monitor awards and subawards, limiting their ability to understand the nature of research conducted and identify problem areas.
The lab won’t be able to conduct any business with US as an agent or representative of others, and its affiliation with any organization that does business with the federal government will also be carefully examined. -Bloomberg
That said, the Wuhan lab can contest the suspension and proposed disbarment – a relatively rare event. The decision to defund the lab was done independently of the US intelligence community, Bloomberg further reports.
In June, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified report which identified several safety and security issues at the WIV that could have contributed to a lab leak.