Wuhan lab to receive $1.5 million in federal grant money for bat study: emails

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The Wuhan Institute of Virology received hundreds of thousands of dollars more in federal grant money than the chief medical adviser to the White House dr. Anthony Faucic reported to lawmakers last week, according to newly released emails.

The messages obtained by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, show that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) allocated $826,277 to the lab over a six-year period ending in 2019 through the New York City-based nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance.

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But Fauci, the longtime NIAID director, told a House Appropriations subcommittee on May 25 that the funding commitment was “about $600,000 over five years, so it was a modest amount.”

US funding for the lab has come under scrutiny amid ongoing controversy over whether the coronavirus leaked from the research center to the 11 million-population city of Wuhan, sparking the worst global pandemic in a century.

According to a chart in one of the emails, the Wuhan Institute of Virology received $133,595 in fiscal 2014 and $139,015 in fiscal 2015. Over the next three years, the lab received $159,122 before funding was rolled back to $76,301. in fiscal year 2019.

Members of the World Health Organization will visit the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China on February 3, 2021 for an examination.
All eyes are on the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, as the source of the coronavirus is investigated.
AFP via Getty Images

An April 13, 2020 email from NIAID officer Dr. Emily Erbelding indicates the 2019 funding for the Wuhan lab was the first tranche under a new grant to EcoHealth that would have brought the facility about $750,000 over a total of six years, in addition to the nearly $750,000 it received between fiscal years 2014 and 2018.

Between fiscal years 2014 and 2019, EcoHealth received approximately $3.75 million in grant money to conduct its research entitled “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergency.”

While Fauci described the funding for the work in the Wuhan lab as “a modest collaboration with highly respectable Chinese scientists who were world experts on coronavirus,” an April 15 email from NIH Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak to Fauci and NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins describes the EcoHealth study as “a large, multi-country study where Wuhan is a single site.”

In addition to several EcoHealth research sites in China, Tobacco’s email refers to sites in “Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Myanmar.”

Days after Tobacco’s email, the NIH informed the EcoHealth Alliance that it was pulling the plug on the remaining grant money.

House Republicans recently sent a letter to EcoHealth Alliance chairman Peter Daszak with questions about the federal subsidy money that EcoHealth passed on to the Wuhan lab, as well as what information the nonprofit had about the lab’s research on bat viruses and the lab’s virus database, according to a report Friday.

Daszak was given a May 17 deadline to respond, but reportedly never did.

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