Federal Government Grants Money To Research Group Accused Of Starting COVID-19 Pandemic

EcoHealth Alliance has been awarded over $650,000 in a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to aid in coronavirus research.

According to the grant description, the grant was approved on Sept. 21 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is run by Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Fauci and EcoHealth Alliance, along with its president Peter Daszak, have been in the headlines for their controversial work at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, which many have speculated led to the COVID-19 outbreak. Of particular concern has been their gain-of-function research, over which Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has eviscerated Fauci in congressional hearings.

Fauci, for his part, has denied that Daszak and his research team conducted gain-of-function research. Emails were later leaked showing Daszak thanking Fauci for publicly defending him.

Despite the controversy, the government is moving forward with funding for Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance’s coronavirus research. The grant notes that the research will be conducted in Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam, as those are the areas of gravest concern for another virus spillover from wildlife into the human population.

“The overarching goal of our work is to analyze the behavioral and environmental risk factors for spillover of novel CoVs, identify wildlife-to-human spillover events, assess the risk and drivers of community transmission and spread, and test potential public health interventions to disrupt spillover and spread,” reads the grant description.

Many Republicans are not happy about the grant. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced a bill last week to prohibit the government from funding EcoHealth Alliance.

“Giving taxpayer money to EcoHealth to study pandemic prevention is like paying a suspected arsonist to conduct fire safety inspections,” Ernst stated. “NIH got it right when it canceled the funding for the experiments EcoHealth Alliance was conducting with China’s state-run Wuhan Institute.”

“In addition to violating multiple federal laws, EcoHealth has still not turned over documents about these dangerous studies that NIH has requested on multiple occasions that could offer vital clues to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ernst added.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers echoed Ernst’s sentiments in a recent statement.

“EcoHealth Alliance and Peter Daszak should not be getting a dime of taxpayer funds until they are completely transparent,” Rodgers said. “This further intensifies our extensive commitment on the Energy and Commerce Committee to ensure accountability from the National Institutes of Health for its role in supporting taxpayer-funded risky research without proper oversight of its grantees.”

“The NIH must restore trust with the American people who deserve every assurance that research dollars are spent with the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and biosafety standards that meet the goal of preventing the next pandemic,” she concluded.