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Wuhan Institute of VirologyUreem2805/Wikimedia Commons

U.S. citizens: Demand Congress investigate soaring excess death rates

(LifeSiteNews) — The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) halted federal funding to the embattled medical research group EcoHealth Alliance over its role in gain-of-function (GOF) research at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) before the outbreak of COVID-19.

In a May 15 letter, HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisitions H. Katrina Brisbon notified EcoHealth president Dr. Peter Daszak that its current grants have been suspended and action has been initiated to debar the organization from future grant applications.

The action also means that “EHA may not conduct business with the United States Federal Government as an agent or representative of other contractors, or as an agent or representative of other participants in federal assistance programs, nor may EHA act as an individual surety to other United States Federal Government contractors”; and that its “affiliation with, or relationship to, any organization doing business with the United States Federal Government will be carefully examined to determine the impact of those ties on the responsibility of that organization to be a United States Federal Government contractor or subcontractor.”

The New York Post reported that the decision was based in part on EcoHealth being “more than two years late” in reviewing one of its grant proposals for Wuhan research, failure to disprove that its work constituted gain-of-function (the controversial practice that entails intentionally strengthening coronaviruses to better study their potential effects), and “likely” violations of National Institutes of Health (NIH) safety protocols.

The decision follows a report released earlier this month by the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic detailing the basis for HHS’s decision, including that “EcoHealth’s claim that it was locked out of an NIH system and blocked from submitting the report on time is not supported by the evidence”; “EcoHealth violated its grant terms and conditions by failing to report a potentially dangerous experiment conducted by the WIV”; “EcoHealth used taxpayer dollars to facilitate gain-of-function research on coronaviruses in Wuhan at the WIV”; and that “Dr. Daszak omitted the material act that unanalyzed samples and sequences – that the U.S. paid for – are in the custody and control of the WIV.”

“These actions are wholly abhorrent, indefensible, and must be addressed with swift action. EcoHealth’s immediate funding suspension and future debarment is not only a victory for the U.S. taxpayer but also for American national security and the safety of citizens worldwide,” said Republican U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, chairman of the subcommittee. “The Select Subcommittee’s investigation into EcoHealth and the origins of COVID-19 is far from over. Dr. Daszak and his team are still required to produce all outstanding documents and answer the Select Subcommittee’s questions, specifically related to Dr. Daszak’s potential dishonesty under oath.”

In a statement, EcoHealth responded that it is “disappointed by HHS’ decision today and we will be contesting the proposed debarment. 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.”

Publicly, the theory that COVID escaped from China’s controversial Wuhan lab, as opposed to evolving in nature, was widely mocked and dismissed since Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas floated it in February 2020, and for months any suggestion of it was condemned as misinformation. It was not until mid-2021, well after Democrats had retaken the White House, that mainstream media outlets began to acknowledge it as a possibility. But leaked emails and other reports later revealed that top government officials were aware of the possibility from the beginning.

In May 2021, Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee released a report finding “significant circumstantial evidence” that COVID spread from a leak at the Wuhan lab. Under former director and White House COVID adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID) approved funding for EcoHealth to explore GOF research at several sites, including WIV.

Fauci and his defenders insisted that the work NIAID approved was not gain-of-function research and could not have led to COVID, but the conservative investigators of Project Veritas released documents showing that, before going to NIAID, EcoHealth previously pitched its funding request to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which rejected it on the grounds that the project would violate a pre-existing moratorium on GOF research and failed to account for its potential risks.

Former EcoHealth vice president Andrew Huff, who quit in 2016, has also attested that the organization “did not have the adequate control measures in place for ensuring proper biosafety, biosecurity, and risk management, ultimately resulting in the lab leak,” and that as early as 2015, he voiced to EcoHealth officials his concerns that the company “did not have enough visibility or firsthand knowledge of what was happening at foreign laboratories (it) contracted and managed.”

U.S. citizens: Demand Congress investigate soaring excess death rates