According to Dr. Anthony Fauci the grant, titled “Understanding the risk of
bat coronavirus emergence,” was originally funded by the NIH in 2014 and
renewed for another five years in 2019 after receiving an outstanding
The research is run by EcoHealth Alliance Inc., a nonprofit based in New
York, but it collaborates with a virologist at the Wuhan Institute of
Virology (WIV) in China, who works with bat coronaviruses. The WIV became
the center of a conspiracy theory that suggested that the pandemic
coronavirus originated in or escaped from a lab at the institute.
On April 17, a reporter brought up that conspiracy theory and EcoHealth’s
grant to President Trump during a press conference. The reporter asked:
“Why would the US give a grant like that to China?” Trump responded that “We
will end that grant very quickly
In an email to EcoHealth on April 19—two days later—Dr. Michael Lauer, NIH
deputy director for Extramural Research, reportedly wrote
The scientific community believes that the coronavirus causing COVID-19
jumped from bats to humans likely in Wuhan where the COVID-19 pandemic
began. There are now allegations that the current crisis was precipitated
by the release from Wuhan Institute of Virology of the coronavirus
responsible for COVID-19. Given these concerns, we are pursuing suspension
of Wuhan Institute of Virology from participation in federal programs.
The funding was terminated on April 24. In a termination letter to EcoHealth
NIH wrote: “At this time, NIH does not believe that the current project
outcomes align with the program goals and agency priorities.”
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