According to a report published on Monday, the U.S. government provided funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China for the highly controversial gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, denied that the National Institute of Health [NIH] has ever funded the gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
Back in May, Fauci exchanged heated words with Republican Sen. Rand Paul, 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, through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, obtained 900 new pages of previously undisclosed information from the NIH, showing that the EcoHealth Alliance used federal grant money to fund dangerous bat coronavirus research in the Chinese labs.
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.”
A molecular biologist at Rutgers University, Richard Ebright, 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.”
Ebright also noted how scientists were not only conducting experiments with SARS-related coronavirus, but also MERS-related coronaviruses.
“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 added that Fauci and NIH Director, Francis Collins, had been “untruthful,” when it came to the gain-of-function research support.
“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,” Ebright wrote on Twitter.