American News Jun 3, 2021 4:48 PM EST

Vanity Fair article diving into origins of COVID-19 reveals conflicts of interest, US funding of Wuhan lab

Eban's months-long investigation looks deep into interviews she conducted with over 40 people, as well as hundreds of pages of US government documents, internal memos, meeting minutes, and email correspondences.

Vanity Fair article diving into origins of COVID-19 reveals conflicts of interest, US funding of Wuhan lab
Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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On Thursday, Vanity Fair published an article by investigative reporter Katherine Eban that dives deep into the origins of the COVID-19 virus.

Eban's months-long investigation looks deep into interviews she conducted with over 40 people, as well as hundreds of pages of US government documents, internal memos, meeting minutes, and email correspondences.

In a Twitter thread on the release of the article, Eban states that she found "conflicts of interest, in part from large US government grants supporting controversial virology research, known as 'gain-of-function,' hampered US government investigation into COVID-19 origins, and legitimate questions on lab leak hypothesis, at every step."

In one December State Department meeting obtained by Eban, an official said that "they were explicitly told by colleagues not to explore Wuhan Institute of Virology’s gain-of-function research, because it would bring unwelcome attention to US government funding of it."

"Some of the attendees were 'absolutely floored,' said an official familiar with the proceedings. That someone in the U.S. government could 'make an argument that is so nakedly against transparency, in light of the unfolding catastrophe, was…shocking and disturbing,'" said a quote from the article.

That official, Christopher Park, the director of the State Department’s Biological Policy Staff in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, was reportedly involved in the 2017 lifting of a "U.S. government moratorium on funding for gain-of-function research," according to Eban, and was "not the only official to warn the State Department investigators against digging in sensitive places."

Thomas DiNanno, then acting assistant secretary of the State Department Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance Bureau, said in an internal document that his team was warned "not to pursue an investigation into the origin of COVID-19" because it would "open a can of worms" if it continued.

In addition, four other former State Department officials told Vanity Fair that they were "repeatedly advised not to open a 'Pandora’s box.'" DiNanno stated that it "smelled like a cover-up, and I wasn’t going to be a part of it."

Eban also uncovered a CV from a lead Wuhan Institute of Virology researcher She Zhengli that listed aid from US government groups over a span of 5 years. $665,000 came from the National Institute of Health, which Dr. Anthony Fauci had previously denied funding gain-of-funtion research at the lab, but never denied funding in general. Another $559,500 came from the group USAID.

Eban stated that the former director of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Dr Robert Redfield told Vanity Fair that he receives death threats from fellow scientists after telling CNN that he believed the COVID-19 virus had origins in a lab.

"I was threatened and ostracized because I proposed another hypothesis," said Redfield.

Speaking on her in-depth investigation, Eban on Twitter that "reporting this story has been like an Escher drawing. Each time I thought I’d gotten to the top of the staircase, it turned again. Had to peel away conspiracy theories/racist insinuations from legitimate concerns, of which there are many."

The Vanity Fair article comes as thousands of emails from Fauci were released under Freedom of Information Act requests from the Washington Post and Buzzfeed, which have revealed him saying early in the pandemic that store bought face masks were ineffective, that he was notified of evidence pointing to the virus leaking from a lab, amongst other groundbreaking reveals.

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