According to a report released on Monday, the US government funded highly contentious gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the chief medical advisor to Democrat President Joe Biden, has denied that the National Institute of Health [NIH] has ever funded gain of function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
During a heated exchange with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) back in May, Fauci claimed that the “[National Institute of Health] has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
The Intercept reported this week that the EcoHealth Alliance used federal grant money to fund dangerous bat coronavirus research in Chinese labs, citing 900 new pages of previously undisclosed information from the NIH obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.
The Intercept reported:
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. 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.”
Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University, reviewed the material and told The Intercept that the “viruses they constructed were tested for their ability to infect mice that were engineered to display human type receptors on their cell.”
The documents also revealed that the scientists were not only testing SARS-related coronaviruses, but also MERS-related coronaviruses, according to Ebright.
“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,” Ebright added on Twitter. “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’),” he continued. “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.”
Ebright concluded by accusing Fauci and NIH Director, Francis Collins, of being “untruthful” in their previous remarks on the matter.
“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,” he wrote.
Fauci has admitted some funds went to Wuhan but claimed they were never used for “gain of function” support.
As far back as May Fauci told the House Appropriations subcommittee the funds were given to the Chinese lab through the EcoHealth Alliance to underwrite “a modest collaboration with very respectable Chinese scientists who were world experts on coronavirus.”