Nonprofit Linked To COVID Lab Leak Theory Cut Off From Government Funding

REUTERS/Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC/Handout via REUTERS.

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Robert Schmad Contributor
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A nonprofit focused on health research that has been subjected to scrutiny due to its association with the Wuhan Institute of Virology is losing access to federal funding, according to a memorandum from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

HHS informed EcoHealth Alliance on Wednesday that the federal government would be suspending current grants to the nonprofit and it is seeking to ban it from receiving future grants. HHS cites a series of errors on the part of EcoHealth Alliance, including issues with the organization’s monitoring of work done at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where some suspect the COVID-19 pandemic originated.

“EcoHealth Alliance is disappointed by HHS’ decision and we will be contesting the proposed debarment,” a spokesperson for the group told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We disagree strongly with the decision and will present evidence to refute each of these allegations and to show that NIH’s continued support of EcoHealth Alliance is in the public interest,” they continued.

In addition to inadequate monitoring, the letter also cites the late submission of progress reports and risky research that may have violated the terms of a grant given to the nonprofit, according to The New York Times. (RELATED: Taxpayer-Funded Research Investigated How ‘Populist’ Politicians Spread ‘Misinformation’ During COVID-19 Pandemic)

“EcoHealth Alliance and Dr. Peter Daszak should never again receive a single penny from the U.S. taxpayer,” Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup, a Republican from Ohio, said in response to the letter. Daszak is the president of EcoHealth.

“EcoHealth facilitated gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China, without proper oversight, willingly violated multiple requirements of its multimillion-dollar National Institutes of Health Grant and apparently made false statements to the NIH,” he continued.

FILE PHOTO: Vials labelled "VACCINE Coronavirus COVID-19" and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed Novavax logo in this illustration taken December 11, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

(REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

EcoHealth initially attracted controversy when the Trump administration canceled a grant to the organization after it discovered it had been funding bat coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The Department of Energy and the Federal Bureau of Investigation now believe that COVID-19 likely emerged from a lab in China.

Wenstrup says his committee’s work investigating the origins of COVID-19 is not finished. “Dr. Daszak and his team are still required to produce all outstanding documents and answer the Select Subcommittee’s questions,” he said.” We will hold EcoHealth accountable for any waste, fraud, and abuse and are committed to uncovering any illegal activity, including lying to Congress, NIH or the Inspector General.”

HHS did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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