Research Org That Worked With Wuhan Lab Receives Massive Government Grant

(Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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EcoHealth Alliance, the nonprofit organization that funneled government grant money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), was awarded a $1 million grant Tuesday by the National Science Foundation.

EcoHealth and Boston University received the grant to “predict and prevent future pandemics,” according to a press release. Scientists from the organizations will work to develop methods of early detection and intervention in potential pandemic situations.

EcoHealth has been under the microscope for two years after directing grant money from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to the WIV. Experts say the researchers at the Wuhan lab were conducting dangerous gain-of-function (GOF) research, even when GOF was subject to a funding pause by NIH from 2014-2017.

GOF research involves genetically altering pathogens to make them more dangerous to humans. Proponents of the research, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, say that it helps develop vaccines and early detection methods. Detractors argue it poses an unnecessary risk of a lab accident resulting in a pandemic.

Some experts believe that’s exactly what happened with COVID-19. The initial outbreak in Wuhan, China, occurred just blocks away from the WIV. The lab was working on enhancing the danger of bat-based coronaviruses, and it was using American taxpayer money from EcoHealth to do it.

The organization hasn’t only been criticized for potentially being involved in the origin of COVID-19. It’s top executive has also worked to obfuscate its involvement in the dangerous GOF research.

Founder Peter Daszak has worked tirelessly to suppress the notion that COVID-19 may have originated from a lab accident. He previously served on the World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the pandemic, leading many observers to dismiss the investigation as compromised. He also thanked Fauci in an email for tamping down discussion of a lab leak early on in the pandemic.

“EcoHealth has championed analytical approaches to predicting pandemics for the last 25 years,” Daszak said regarding Tuesday’s grant. “This new collaboration with global leaders at BU & our own leaders in emerging disease research takes our work to the next level.” (RELATED: US Researcher With Chinese Ties Admits He Convinced WHO Team That Missing Wuhan Lab Data Was Irrelevant)

Ecohealth vice president for science and outreach said the COVID-19 pandemic proves exactly why his organization needs more grant money from American taxpayers: “The COVID pandemic and recent monkeypox epidemic have shown us that we’re not yet prepared to meet the challenge of pandemic prevention or response. This project will address the challenge of predicting where outbreaks may occur, detecting them faster when they do, and developing interventions that directly address factors that can keep small clusters from becoming global pandemics.”