Biden’s NIH restarts EcoHealth Alliance grant researching bat coronaviruses in Wuhan 3 years after Trump suspended it

"It's absolutely reckless," Rep. Morgan Griffith said.

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Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
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It has been revealed that the National Institute of Health has given a new $2.3 million taxpayer-funded grant to EcoHealth Alliance aimed at investigating coronaviruses in bats.

The grant was suspended by former president Donald Trump in 2020 in response to allegations that the NIH had, via Peter Daszak's EcoHealth Alliance, funneled taxpayer dollars to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. The institute quickly became the center of the "lab leak" hypothesis, which has since been backed by numerous sources from scientists to the head of the FBI.



According to Science, the revised award will no longer include the study of hybrid coronaviruses, and imposes new accounting rules for EcoHealth. The project will also no longer include collecting new bat samples or working with live viruses, with the Wuhan Institute of Virology having no role beyond contributing more than 300 whole or partial genome sequences of bat coronaviruses.

The decision to resume working on the controversial project has sparked criticism from Republican lawmakers, who deemed it "absolutely reckless."

"It's absolutely reckless that the NIH has renewed a grant for EcoHealth Alliance given their negligence and the breach of their contract with the NIH on the coronavirus research done at the Wuhan Institute of Virology," Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia told the Daily Mail.

He suggested that "all funding should remain suspended, and no new contracts should be awarded" until the NIH and EcoHealth can "demonstrate a willingness to work with Congress to resolve outstanding questions and fulfill all of the terms of their federal contracts."

Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa echoed Griffith's sentiments, accusing EcoHealth of conducting "risky experiments on bat coronaviruses that may have unleashed the COVID-19 pandemic on the world."

"Americans deserve accountability," she added, "which is why it's past time to defund EcoHealth."

As Science reports, Daszak defended his company's work, and denied allegations that it helped perform gain-of-function research. He explained that via the new grant, the team would be using existing samples supplied by WIV in order to analyze bat genomes and test whether coronavirus spike proteins could bind to the human receptor used by the disease to enter the body.
 

"We think we can achieve a huge amount of work based on archived samples … that will really answer some fundamental questions about why coronaviruses have such diversity," Daszak said.

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