On Friday, House Republicans launched an investigation into funding granted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to EcoHealth Alliance, claiming they sent taxpayer money to fund the Wuhan Institute of Virology to see how coronaviruses could be transmitted to humans.
“House Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer, R-Ky., and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, wrote that there has been ‘mounting evidence the COVID-19 pandemic started in the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Chinese Communist Party covered it up,’” Fox News reported.
“In a letter, exclusively obtained by Fox News, written to Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the NIH, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Comer and Jordan raised concerns that EcoHealth Alliance knew of the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to cover-up the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and failed to act or to inform the U.S. government,” Fox News continued.
“If U.S. taxpayer money was used to develop COVID-19, conduct gain of function research, or assist in any sort of cover-up, EcoHealth Alliance must be held accountable,” Comer and Jordan explained. “It is incumbent upon grant recipients to ensure their work is performed within the scope of the grant, advances our national interest, and protects our national security.”
EcoAlliance sent out almost $600,000 of the grant money to the lab over a period of six years according to FactCheck.org, to study “the risk of the future emergence of coronaviruses from bats”:
In 2014, the NIH awarded a grant to the U.S.-based EcoHealth Alliance to study the risk of the future emergence of coronaviruses from bats. In 2019, the project was renewed for another five years, but it was canceled in April 2020 — three months after the first case of the coronavirus was confirmed in the U.S. EcoHealth ultimately received $3.7 million over six years from the NIH and distributed nearly $600,000 of that total to China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, a collaborator on the project, pre-approved by NIH.
Dr. Fauci is currently in the hot seat is clearly trying to cover his tracks. During a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Fauci told Sen. John Kennedy that he couldn’t “guarantee” American tax payer dollars didn’t fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab.
“There’s no way of guaranteeing that, but in our experience with grantees, including Chinese grantees, which we have had interactions with for a very long period of time, they are very competent, trustworthy scientists,” Fauci said.
Fauci and Kennedy also had the following exchange:
Kennedy: “Here’s where I’m getting at: You gave them money, and you said, ‘Don’t do gain-of-function research.’”
Kennedy: “And they said, ‘We won’t.’”
Kennedy: “And you have no way of knowing whether they did or not, except you trust them. Is that right?”
Fauci: “Well, we generally always trust the grantee to do what they say, and you look at the results—”
Kennedy: “Have you ever had a grantee lie to you?”
Fauci: “I cannot guarantee that a grantee has not lied to us because you never know.”
Kennedy: “Can we agree that if you took President Xi Jinping and turned him upside down and shook him, the World Health Organization would fall out of his pocket?”
Fauci: “I don’t think I can answer that question, sir. I’m sorry.”
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