After years of denial, US officials now say the recent pandemic was most likely caused by a leak in a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) are now funding a study to understand the risks of bat coronaviruses infecting humans. There’s just one problem — the company they’ve hired to run the study funded the lab that likely caused the pandemic.
DID YOU SEE THIS?
National Institutes of Health renews ‘bat coronavirus’ research funding
Have we not learned our lesson? The now infamous NIH has renewed a grant to EcoHealth Alliance for research on the “risk of bat coronavirus spillover emergence.”https://t.co/SdFgutgGFI
— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) May 9, 2023
On May 8, EcoHealth Alliance announced that the NIH had renewed a grant for research into “the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Spillover Emergence.” This funding was originally awarded in 2019 but canceled the next year. Turning EcoHealth’s government funding back on would be controversial at the best of times; the company has faced repeated criticism for failing to disclose what it’s doing with grant money. It’s also been accused by the NIH of violating agreements with the US government — which raises some questions about why the NIH just renewed its grant.
It gets worse, though. The reason the EcoHealth grant was suspended in 2020 is that the company had been funding bat coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology — and the institute is now the chief suspect for the origin of the pandemic.
EcoHealth claims it’s now halted “all on-the-ground work in Communist China” and has also stopped trying to modify viruses. Its list of aims for the research the new grant will pay for is based on studying bat coronaviruses likely to make the jump to humans and identifying areas where this is most likely to happen.
The problem is, all those areas are in Communist China — and EcoHealth doesn’t have a great reputation for following the rules. What guarantee do we have that they’ll stick to what they say they want to do? The NIH is running a big risk here, and it’s doing it with our money.