A group of Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation to cutoff U.S. funding for the Wuhan lab at the center of the COVID-19 lab leak hypothesis.
The Defund the Wuhan Institute of Virology Act would prohibit all federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), from sending cash to the Wuhan lab that some have suggested could be linked to the origin of COVID-19. The bill is being introduced by Republican Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry and 13 other GOP cosponsors.
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The lab leak theory posits that COVID-19 was created as a result of gain of function research in a lab setting and was accidentally released from Wuhan. After initially being dismissed by many leading authorities, more and more experts in recent months have acknowledged a lab leak as a possible origin of the pandemic.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has received money from the NIH and USAID and in the past. The bill would require a report on how much taxpayer money has been sent to the WIV over the past 15 years. (RELATED: ANALYSIS: Did Your Tax Dollars Pay For COVID-19?)
Prior reporting has revealed that millions of dollars were funneled to the WIV from the NIH by the non-profit EcoHealth Alliance. EcoHealth Alliance is led by Peter Daszak, the sole American member of the World Health Organization team that traveled to Wuhan to investigate the origins of COVID-19 earlier this year.
Some lawmakers and experts have accused the NIH of funding dangerous “gain of function” research at the Wuhan lab, an allegation that has been denied by NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci. Funding for gain of function research was outlawed by the NIH between 2014 and 2017, but the WIV still received NIH grants during that time period to study bat-based coronaviruses.
EcoHealth received two taxpayer-funded COVID-19 bailouts. The NIH has also confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation that the WIV is still eligible, as of now, to receive grant money through 2024. (RELATED: Trump Admin Security Official Says WHO Must Investigate Chinese Military Ties To Wuhan Institute Of Virology)