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US Government Agency NIH Finally Admits To Funding Risky ‘Gain of Function’ Virus Research In Wuhan

US Government Agency NIH Finally Admits To Funding Risky ‘Gain of Function’ Virus Research In Wuhan

NIH

US Government Agency NIH Finally Admits To Funding Risky ‘Gain of Function’ Virus Research In Wuhan Photo: This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. Coronaviruses, including the newest one, are named for the spikes that cover their outer surface like a crown, or corona in Latin. Using those club-shaped spikes, the virus latches on to the outer wall of a human cell, invades it and replicates, creating viruses to hijack more cells. (NIAID-RML via AP)

After months of denial, the U.S. government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) has finally admitted funding risky virus research at a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

At the center of the scandal is Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is continuing to deny the agency had any hand in controversial research known as “gain of function” at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is under the NIH.

Gain-of-function research involves genetically engineering bacteria and viruses to be grown or selectively bred to enhance certain biological functions, including becoming more virulent or transmissible.

Such research aims to understand how a pathogen adapts to environmental pressures, allowing disease control measures to be better planned and potential vaccines and therapies to be explored, according to News Medical.

Researchers studying viruses in the lab sometimes deliberately make the viruses more dangerous to help better prepare for outbreaks that might occur naturally. Earlier this year, the top U.S. immunologist, Dr. Fauci, claimed the U.S. didn’t support gain-of-function research. He also claimed that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) did not fund gain-of-function research at China’s Wuhan lab.

But in September, documents obtained by The Intercept proved that U.S. grants were given to EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit that funneled federal funds to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for bat coronavirus research. EcoHealth Alliance is a New York City-based nonprofit that partners with laboratories to research and prevent the outbreak of emerging diseases


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A spokesman for Dr. Fauci said he has been “entirely truthful,” but the NIH’s new admission has once again stirred up the heated debate over whether a lab leak could have sparked the pandemic.

Dr. Richard H. Ebright, a well-respected Rutgers University professor, recently claimed that be believed that EcoHealth Alliance is a “cut out.” A cut out is defined by  Military Wiki as “a mutually trusted intermediary, method or channel of communication, facilitating the exchange of information between agents. Cut outs usually only know the source and destination of the information to be transmitted but are unaware of the identities of any other persons involved in the espionage process. Thus, a captured cut out cannot be used to identify members of an espionage cell.”

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The NIH’s connection to the Wuhan lab through EcoHealth has continued to cause speculation and mistrust. This latest news from the NIH has added to the confusion.

On Oct. 20, the NIH sent a letter to members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce acknowledging that EcoHealth Alliance enhanced a bat coronavirus to become potentially more infectious to humans, Vanity Fair reported. This experiment promoted an “unexpected result” of the research it funded that was conducted in partnership with the Wuhan Institute of Virology. 

In the letter, the NIH also admitted that EcoHealth Alliance violated the terms of its grant conditions specifying that EcoHealth was to report if its research increased the viral growth of a pathogen by tenfold.

An NIH spokesperson told Vanity Fair that Dr. Fauci was “entirely truthful in his statements to Congress” and that he did not have the progress report that detailed the controversial research when he testified in July. But EcoHealth Alliance appeared to contradict that claim, saying, “These data were reported as soon as we were made aware, in our year four report in April 2018.”

The NIH letter came after months of congressional demands for more information and acknowledged that mice infected with one kind of bat coronavirus became sicker than those infected with a different variant.” However the letter never mentioned “gain of function,” Business Insider reported.

Fauci’s spokesperson told Vanity Fair that EcoHealth research did not fall under that framework since the experiments being funded “were not reasonably expected to increase transmissibility or virulence in humans.”

With this latest NIH revelation come renewed calls for Fauci to be fired. During an interview, Sunday with “Axios on HBO,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., called for President Joe Biden to fire Fauci, his chief medical adviser. Paul claims Fauci lied to Congress about U.S.-funded research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology involving gain-of-function experiments.