The NIH was blasted by an official watchdog today for failing to keep tabs on US-sponsored virus experiments in China feared to have caused the Covid crisis.
According to a report by the US Office of the Inspector General, the country has been found The medical research authority did not properly check whether the tests in Wuhan involved dangerous pathogens with pandemic potential.
The Federal Audit Office examined three taxpayer-funded research grants awarded between 2014 and 2021 to British scientist Peter Daszak’s now infamous EcoHealth Alliance.
It found that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and EcoHealth failed to “understand the nature of the research being conducted, identify potential problem areas, and take corrective action.”
“With improved oversight, the NIH might have been able to take more timely corrective actions to mitigate the risks associated with this type of research,” the report added.
Virologist Shi Zheng-li – nicknamed “Bat Lady” – is pictured in the lab. She hunted dozens of deadly Covid-like viruses in bat caves and studied them at WIV
Whether the global outbreak started with a spillover from wild animals sold at the market or leaked from the Wuhan lab just eight miles across the Yangtze River has sparked heated debates about how to prevent the next pandemic. New studies point to natural spillover to Huanan’s wildlife market. Positive swab samples from floors, cages and counters are also tracing the virus to stalls in the south-west corner of the market (below left), where animals with the potential to harbor Covid were then sold for meat or fur (below right).
While the lab leak theory was initially dismissed as conspiracy and xenophobia, a growing number of scientists have come up with the idea that the virus may have escaped in an accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
The research facility is less than 10 miles from an animal slaughter market where the first batch of human cases was clustered. Some experts also claim that Covid’s unique spike protein, which it uses to infect humans, has traits of engineering.
However, others consider these scenarios unlikely and say there is some indirect evidence that Covid jumped from animals at the Huanan Seafood Market, where animals known to harbor Covid include raccoon dogs, hedgehogs, rats and squirrels, kept in deplorable conditions.
There is still no direct evidence of a natural or artificial origin.
The EcoHealth Alliance received US$8 million in government research grants between 2014 and 2021, which it subdivided to research institutions. At that time, the WIV was one of eight scholarship teams.
Today’s audit found the Chinese facility and other labs that benefited from government grants were not overseen by the NIH and EcoHealth.
The report states, “While potential risks were identified related to the research conducted as part of the EcoHealth Awards, we found that the NIH did not effectively monitor EcoHealth’s compliance with some requirements or take timely action.
“Although NIH and EcoHealth had established monitoring procedures, we found that deficiencies in adhering to those procedures limited NIH and EcoHealth’s ability to effectively monitor federal grants and subawards to understand the type of research being conducted, identify potential problem areas, and take corrective action to take. ‘
In the US, groups like EcoHealth that want to conduct research involving “enhanced potential pandemic agents” must have their work approved by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Pictured: The Wuhan Institute of Virology, where key data was deleted by Chinese scientists
The OIG report cites three specific EcoHealth awards using NIH funds that had the potential to be gain-of-function research but did not undergo proper clearances. Included is the award to the WIV, which was at the center of the laboratory leak theory
HHS developed a framework for approving such experiments in 2017 after a three-year moratorium that suspended all regulatory reviews of research proposals and funding for such experiments.
Under the rules, HHS will assemble a panel of reviewers to conduct a risk-benefit analysis.
The review panel examines three criteria: whether the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, whether there are no other equally effective but less risky options, and whether the research team and facility are able to perform the work safely and securely and respond quickly if accidents occur or security breaches.
However, the review found that the NIH did not refer the research for review “because it determined that the research did not involve an ePPP and was not reasonably expected to create, use, or transmit an ePPP.”
The report states: “Based on these findings, we conclude that the NIH missed opportunities to oversee research more effectively.
The NIH’s infectious disease arm, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, was headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci directed.
Government auditors said three of EcoHealth’s awards were for viruses with pandemic potential.
The $3.7 million award to WIV on May 27, 2014 was at the heart of the lab leak theory.
Some have speculated, titled “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence,” that this research created the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid.
The role of British researcher Dr. Peter Daszak (left) facilitating risky coronavirus research in China with funding from Dr. Fauci (right) and the NIH was detailed in a report
A $3 million award to the University of North Carolina on June 17, 2020 was also cited by investigators. The research in question was titled “Understanding the Risk of Zoonotic Virus Emergence in EID Hotspots of Southeast Asia”.
Also citing concern was a $1.1 million award given to a national research facility in Bangladesh to study Nipah virus in bats and humans “to understand patterns in human outbreaks.”
According to the report, oversight has been critical to grants to foreign entities that may no longer cooperate with investigators — as WIV has done in recent years.
“Although WIV has collaborated with EcoHealth’s monitoring for several years, WIV’s lack of cooperation following the COVID-19 outbreak limited EcoHealth’s ability to monitor its sub-recipient,” the audit added.
Chinese officials were found to have wiped key databases from the lab and stifled independent investigations into the facility when questions were asked about their involvement.
Researchers who contracted a mysterious flu-like virus months ahead of the official Covid timeline have been silenced or disappeared.
One of its senior scientists has been dubbed the “Bat Lady” for her extensive work on coronaviruses like Covid.
Investigators say EcoHealth also failed to provide adequate progress reports on the use of its fund in a timely manner, as the information came two years late.
It also said the NIH failed to cancel its grant to EcoHealth after the nonprofit broke protocols.
Sen Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican who is among the staunchest supporters of the lab leak theory, said in a statement, “The inspector general confirms what we already knew — the NIH failed to oversee the granting of the EcoHealth Alliance.
“The continued funding of the EcoHeath Alliance, despite their repeated failure to comply with federal regulations and guidelines, further demonstrates the need to reform the oversight of risky research that pays for American taxpayers.”
dr Richard Ebright, a biologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, told DailyMail.com: “Both conclusions demonstrate serious flaws in the previous NIH oversight of high-risk research into amplified potential pandemic agents and underscore the need to blame both for failures made earlier NIH Oversight and Strengthening Future NIH Oversight.’
‘Despite [EcoHealth] may have caused the COVID-19 pandemic, and while he has definitely repeatedly and seriously violated the terms of a U.S. government grant, he currently has 12 active U.S. government grants and contracts totaling more than $34 million U.S. dollar.
Justin Goodman of the White Coat Waste Project group said: “This audit confirms what we’ve been documenting since early 2020, when we first uncovered NIH funding of the Wuhan lab: The EcoHealth Alliance was sending taxpayer money to Wuhan for dangerous animal testing that likely causing the pandemic, violating federal laws and policies, and wasting tax dollars.
“However, the Wuhan lab remains eligible for even more taxpayer money for animal testing, and since the pandemic began, EcoHealth has raised at least $46 million in new federal funding from the DOD, USAID, NIH, and NSF.
“As the group that first uncovered and ended EcoHealth’s disastrous collaboration with the Wuhan animal lab, we call on Congress to dismantle these rogue organizations once and for all.
“Taxpayers should not be forced to fund reckless white coats who waste money, break the law and endanger public health. Stop the money, stop the madness.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/health-news/bombshell-report-was-covid-caused-by-a-lab-leak-after-all/ Bombshell report: Was Covid caused by a lab leak after all?