Newly released documents reveal in depth how the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, headed by none other than Dr. Anthony Fauci, funding the U.S.-based non-profit EcoHealth Alliance performing “high-risk” research with the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
The grant-funding documents were obtained by The Intercept in connection to its lawsuit against the National Institute of Health. It encompasses more than nine hundred previously unpublished pages of documents on EcoHealth Alliance.
“This is a roadmap to the high-risk research that could have led to the current pandemic,” said Gary Ruskin, executive director of U.S. Right To Know, which has been investigating the origins of Covid-19.
“The bat coronavirus grant provided the EcoHealth Alliance with a total of $3.1 million, including $599,000 that the Wuhan Institute of Virology used in part to identify and alter bat coronaviruses likely to infect humans,” The Intercept reports. “Even before the pandemic, many scientists were concerned about the potential dangers associated with such experiments. The grant proposal acknowledges some of those dangers: ‘Fieldwork involves the highest risk of exposure to SARS or other CoVs, while working in caves with high bat density overhead and the potential for fecal dust to be inhaled’.”
“The grant was initially awarded for a five-year period — from 2014 to 2019. Funding was renewed in 2019 but suspended by the Trump administration in April 2020,” The Intercept notes.
Although The Intercept’s report itself is sparse detailing the contents of the documents, they provide a clearer picture of the kind of research being conducted by EcoHealth Alliance, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and even the Wuhan University Center for Animal Experiment, which now becomes another potential source of a lab leak for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The grant proposals and reporting contained in the documents show how cozy Dr. Peter Daszak’s group was with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“The Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, has an high interest in working with Eco Health Alliance and its scientists to identify and prevent the transmission of bat coronaviruses to human populations globally,” Dr. Yanyi Wang, Director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology writes to Dr. Peter Daszak. “In particular, the NIAID funded R01 renewal proposal entitled ‘Understanding the risk of bat coronavirus emergence‘ will provide an excellent opportunity to achieve these goals.”
“The Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, recognizes the mutual benefits to be gained through research cooperation and a successful partnership with EcoHealth Alliance in the field of identification and prevention of zoonotic disease transmission,” the letter adds. “It is vital to not only identify the diseases themselves, but also identify high-risk human populations and the actions that put them at risk for infection along with evaluating approaches to intervention and disease management.”
“Understanding and preventing exposure and transmission of zoonotic diseases from wildlife to humans remains a high priority for prevention of pandemics,” the letter adds. “In our discussion with EcoHealth Alliance, we have agreed to participate in activities that will strengthen the ability of China and other countries in the region to respond to epidemic disease outbreaks – particularly those of animal origin. To assist in this study, we will provide participating laboratories in China with human samples both new and archived and support research in bat coronaviruses.”
As documented exhaustively, after the Covid-19 pandemic in late 2019, China did not show much concern about it spreading to the rest of the world. According to a U.S. intelligence report obtained by the Wall Street Journal, three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were documented as being sick with “symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness.”
The Associated Press reported in April 2020 that China hadn’t warned the public about Covid-19 and the potentiality of human-to-human transmission for “six days,” and finally telling the public on January 20. Obviously, this is more accurately weeks, and nearly two months, according to more recent understanding of developments. Furthermore, China pushed to end travel from Wuhan and Hubei province from January 2020, but pushed to keep open foreign travel through the end of March. It should be noted that Dr. Anthony Fauci publicly opposed Donald Trump’s travel ban on China early on and even praised the communist country’s “transparency.”
The newly released EcoHealth Alliance documents shine an even brighter spotlight on Dr. Fauci, who has made heated denials about NIAID’s funding being utilized at the Wuhan laboratory, and specifically, for risky “gain-of-function” research.
Before Congress, Dr. Fauci got into a charged confrontation with Dr. Rand Paul over the matter of gain-of-function funding.
“If anybody is lying here, Senator, it is you.”
— Dr. Fauci to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). pic.twitter.com/mrEQTCHgRN
— The Recount (@therecount) July 20, 2021
Dr. Richard Ebright, Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University, lays out how the new documents show that Dr. Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins have been “untruthful” about funding gain-of-function research.
The materials show that the 2014 and 2019 NIH grants to EcoHealth with subcontracts to WIV funded gain-of-function research as defined in federal policies in effect in 2014-2017 and potential pandemic pathogen enhancement as defined in federal policies in effect in 2017-present. (This had been evident previously from published research papers that credited the 2014 grant and from the publicly available summary of the 2019 grant. But this now can be stated definitively from progress reports of the 2014 grant and the full proposal of the 2017 grant.)
The materials confirm the grants supported the construction–in Wuhan–of novel chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses that combined a spike gene from one coronavirus with genetic information from another coronavirus, and confirmed the resulting viruses could infect human cells. The materials reveal that the resulting novel, laboratory-generated SARS-related coronaviruses also could infect mice engineered to display human receptors on cells (“humanized mice”). The materials further reveal for the first time that one of the resulting novel, laboratory-generated SARS-related coronaviruses–one not been previously disclosed publicly–was more pathogenic to humanized mice than the starting virus from which it was constructed
…and thus not only was reasonably anticipated to exhibit enhanced pathogenicity, but, indeed, was demonstrated to exhibit enhanced pathogenicity. The materials further reveal that the the grants also supported the construction–in Wuhan–of novel chimeric MERS-related coronaviruses that combined spike genes from one MERS-related coronavirus with genetic information from another MERS-related coronavirus. The documents make it clear that assertions by the NIH Director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID Director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement at WIV are untruthful.
When asked if the documents show if Dr. Rand Paul was “right,” Dr. Ebright replied: “On this question, yes.”
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.