US funded coronavirus research at China's Wuhan lab: Report
Newly released documents have revealed that the United States' National Institute of Health issued grants to a health organization that funneled funds into coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). US Senator Rand Paul said the documents show that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) head Dr. Anthony Fauci lied about the NIH not funding gain-of-function research at WIV.
What do the new documents include?
The documents—obtained by The Intercept—revealed grants issued to the health non-profit EcoHealth Alliance. The organization channeled funds into bat coronavirus research at the WIV, the documents showed. The documents also include a previously unpublished grant that EcoHealth Alliance had filed with NIAID. One of the proposals included the $3.1 million grant for 'Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence' from 2014-2019.
You can read the details in this Twitter thread
The materials further reveal that the the grants also supported the construction--in Wuhan--of novel chimeric MERS-related coronaviruses that combined spike genes from one MERS-related coronavirus with genetic information from another MERS-related coronavirus.— Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) September 7, 2021
What did the research include?
The aforementioned grant—suspended by the US in April 2020—involved screening thousands of bat samples and people working with live animals for new coronaviruses. This research reportedly received $599,000. Further, the document also acknowledged the risks of exposure to SARS and other CoVs, the report added. A second grant—'Understanding Risk of Zoonotic Virus Emergence in Emerging Infectious Disease Hotspots of Southeast Asia'—was issued last August.
Fauci says no 'gain-of-function' research involved
Notably, Fauci has repeatedly denied that the US funded "gain-of-function" research at the Wuhan lab. Gain-of-function research involves the genetic alteration of an organism to enhance its biological functions. In July, Paul accused Fauci of lying during a Senate hearing. Fauci then replied, "This paper that you're referring to was judged by qualified staff, up and down the chain, as not being gain-of-function."
'Surprise surprise - Fauci lied again,' tweets Senator Paul
After the recent emergence of the documents, Senator Paul tweeted, "Surprise surprise - Fauci lied again. And I was right about his agency funding novel coronavirus research at Wuhan." "I have already asked the DOJ (Department of Justice) to review Fauci's testimony for lying to Congress," Rand tweeted on Tuesday. "This report should make it abundantly clear that he needs to be held accountable."