Research Firm At Center Of Lab Leak Investigation Given Brand New US Virus Research Grant

Even though it is the focal point of controversy surrounding the possibility that the COVID-19 pandemic began from a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, American firm EcoHealth Alliance has just been awarded a brand new grant from Anthony Fauci’s National Institutes of Health to research “the potential for future bat coronavirus emergence.”

Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases approved the grant application on September 21. The proposed research program will focus on bat-borne coronaviruses found in Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

The application provides that EcoHealth will analyze multiple risk factors for “spillover” of novel coronavirus forms from wildlife to humans. The research is also reportedly aimed at isolating viruses for use in vaccines and therapeutic treatments. It will work on developing “prototype pathogen” vaccines.

The five-year grant will provide EcoHealth Alliance with more than $650,000 in new taxpayer funding.

The same firm distributed around $600,000 in American public money to the Wuhan laboratory through sub-grants between 2014 and 2019 for similar research on spillover of bat-borne coronaviruses. The U.S. Intelligence Community reported last year that the virus causing the global pandemic that killed millions of people may have originated in the immediate vicinity of the Wuhan lab.

Under tough questioning before the Senate by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Fauci maintained throughout the last year that no “gain-of-function” coronavirus research ever took place at the Wuhan lab. However, a letter from another NIH official from last year admits that the previous EcoHealth grant money was used to pay Wuhan researchers to infect mice with modified bat-borne coronaviruses.

In response to the news that EcoHealth Alliance has been awarded a new grant for the same type of research, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said in a statement: “EcoHealth Alliance should not be getting a dime of taxpayer funds until they are completely transparent. Period. This is madness.”

As the ranking GOP member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, she added that her committee is committed to ensuring that the NIH knows it must rebuild trust with the public, as the American people have the right to be assured that taxpayer research funding is spent with the “highest standards of integrity, transparency, and biosafety standards” that will actually help avoid another pandemic rather than risking another by accident.