HHS suspends funding, proposes debarment for EcoHealth Alliance over gain-of-function research in Wuhan

EcoHealth was reportedly given opportunities to prove that it was not conducting gain-of-function research but "failed to do so."


The Department of Health and Human Services has announced that it will be suspending funding for EcoHealth Alliance, the nonprofit connected to gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. HHS has also proposed the formal debarment of the organization.

In a letter released on Wednesday by a House subcommittee that is investigating the Covid-19 outbreak, HHS deputy assistant secretary for acquisitions Katrina Brisbon told EcoHealth President Dr. Peter Daszak that there was "adequate evidence" for recommending that the nonprofit not receive future government contracts. The letter also stated that "immediate action is necessary to protect the public interest."

"Debarment is generally for a period not to exceed three years; however, regardless of whether EHA contests this action or responds to this Notice, I may impose debarment for a longer period or shorter period as the circumstances warrant," Brisbon stated in the letter.

According to Brisbon, the National Institutes of Health, who permitted the grant, gave EcoHealth opportunities to prove that it was not conducting gain-of-function research, but concluded that the organization "failed to do so," according to the New York Post.

Brisbon also stated that the research "likely violated protocols of the NIH regarding biosafety." Funding for EcoHealth was initially halted under the Trump administration but was reinstated last year by the NIH. In a statement following this announcement, EcoHealth said it was "disappointed" by HHS' decision and will be contesting the proposed debarment.

"We disagree strongly with the decision and will present evidence to refute each of these allegations and to show that NIH’s continued support of EcoHealth Alliance is in the public interest," a spokesperson for the organization said in a statement to The Daily Wire.

Senator Rand Paul, who gained popularity during the pandemic for his hard line of questioning towards Fauci regarding gain-of-function research, applauded HHS’ decision in a post on X.

"Finally, the Biden Admin. agrees to ban Peter Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance, who financed the gain-of-function research in Wuhan, from getting any more taxpayer [dollars]," Paul said.

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