Why Did the NIH Fund Wuhan Labs?
Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz has asked an obvious question, one that has not come up at the daily White House coronavirus press briefing -- why is the Wuhan Virology Lab a grantee of the National Institutes of Health, whose National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) -- headed by one Dr. Anthony Fauci -- and a recipient of $3.7 million to study coronavirus in bats? Gaetz has gone beyond mere curiosity, writing a letter to HHS Secretary Azar demanding the grant be terminated:
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., called on Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar Tuesday to cease funding a research grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, telling "Tucker Carlson Tonight" the action could be accomplished "with the stroke of a pen."
"I'm against funding Chinese research in our country, but I'm sure against funding it in China," Gaetz said. "The NIH [National Institutes of Health] gives a $3.7 million grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology [and] they then advertise that they need coronavirus researchers and following that, coronavirus erupts in Wuhan."…
"What's really troubling to me is either conspicuously or miraculously the Wuhan Institute of Virology is able to sequence the virus on January 2 but China doesn't admit to the virus existing until January 9 and then the Wuhan Institute of Virology doesn't release this important scientific information to the world until January 12," Gaetz said.
"So at best, Americans are funding people who are lying to us and at worst, we're funding people who we knew had problems handling pathogens, who then birthed a monster virus onto the world," he added.
If you go to the Wuhan Institute of Virology website ad look under “Partnerships” you will see listed “the National Institutes of Health of the United States” along with the likes of the University of Alabama, the University of North Texas, Harvard University, EcoHealth Alliance, among others,* presumably interested in any connection between the horseshoe bat and coronavirus.
Yet, after the virus outbreak, China would not let U.S. health authorities in to examine the labs and their safeguards, to interview staff and collect samples, both from the animals used in tests at the lab or tissue samples from earl victims. Tissue samples were destroyed, bodies hidden and cremated and false statements made about the possibility of human-to-human transmission passed on to the world through China’s sock puppet, the World (or is it Wuhan) Health Organization. To this day, serious access and scrutiny is barred.
How could the press not know about the NIH funding and be curious about it? Could the lack of notice and discussion concerning why we were funding the possible if not likely source of a global pandemic was because Dr. Fauci is somewhat of a media favorite for his ambivalence and cautiousness towards President Trump’s virus response initiartives. Fortunately, the Daily Mail has provided us some fascinating information:
The Chinese laboratory at the center of scrutiny over a potential coronavirus leak has been using U.S. government money to carry out research on bats from the caves which scientists believe are the original source of the deadly outbreak.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology undertook coronavirus experiments on mammals captured more than 1,000 miles away in Yunnan which were funded by a $3.7 million grant from the US government.
Sequencing of the COVID-19 genome has traced it back to bats found in Yunnan caves but it was first thought to have transferred to humans at an animal market in Wuhan.
The revelation that the Wuhan Institute was experimenting on bats from the area already known to be the source of COVID-19 - and doing so with American money - has sparked further fears that the lab, and not the market, is the original outbreak source …
According to documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday, scientists there experimented on bats as part of a project funded by the US National Institutes of Health, which continues to licence the Wuhan laboratory to receive American money for experiments….
As part of the NIH research at the institute, scientists grew a coronavirus in a lab and injected it into three-day-old piglets.
Say what? We helped fund this monster before it broke out of the lab? And we complain about China lying to us? We have been keeping the truth from ourselves. That NIH-funded research into piglets and coronavirus is worth a serious look:
Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) (a member of the NIH) actually funded a study on Bat Coronavirus, which was a project that included scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Chinese lab at the center of controversy over their bat research. That study confirmed in 2018 that humans have died from coronavirus.
Here’s an excerpt from the April 4, 2018 NIAID website entry entitled “New Coronavirus Emerges From Bats in China, Devastates Young Swine”: “A newly identified coronavirus that killed nearly 25,000 piglets in 2016-17 in China emerged from horseshoe bats near the origin of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), which emerged in 2002 in the same bat species. The new virus is named swine acute diarrhea syndrome coronavirus (SADS-CoV). It does not appear to infect people, unlike SARS-CoV which infected more than 8,000 people and killed 774. No SARS-CoV cases have been identified since 2004. The study investigators identified SADS-CoV on four pig farms in China’s Guangdong Province. The work was a collaboration among scientists from EcoHealth Alliance, Duke-NUS Medical School, Wuhan Institute of Virology and other organizations, and was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The research is published in the journal Nature. The researchers say the finding is an important reminder that identifying new viruses in animals and quickly determining their potential to infect people is a key way to reduce global health threats.”
Well, the road to pandemic hell was paved with seemingly good intentions, at least on our part. We were not only funding Chinese research on coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology but we knew the lab was a leaky, unsafe, ticking time bomb in 2018, according to leaked State Department cables:
Two years before the novel coronavirus pandemic upended the world, U.S. Embassy officials visited a Chinese research facility in the city of Wuhan several times and sent two official warnings back to Washington about inadequate safety at the lab, which was conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats….
In January 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing took the unusual step of repeatedly sending U.S. science diplomats to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which had in 2015 become China’s first laboratory to achieve the highest level of international bioresearch safety (known as BSL-4). WIV issued a news release in English about the last of these visits, which occurred on March 27, 2018. The U.S. delegation was led by Jamison Fouss, the consul general in Wuhan, and Rick Switzer, the embassy’s counselor of environment, science, technology and health. Last week, WIV erased that statement from its website, though it remains archived on the Internet.
What the U.S. officials learned during their visits concerned them so much that they dispatched two diplomatic cables categorized as Sensitive But Unclassified back to Washington. The cables warned about safety and management weaknesses at the WIV lab and proposed more attention and help. The first cable, which I obtained, also warns that the lab’s work on bat coronaviruses and their potential human transmission represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic.
“During interactions with scientists at the WIV laboratory, they noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory,” states the Jan. 19, 2018, cable, which was drafted by two officials from the embassy’s environment, science and health sections who met with the WIV scientists. …
The Chinese researchers at WIV were receiving assistance from the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch and other U.S. organizations, but the Chinese requested additional help. The cables argued that the United States should give the Wuhan lab further support, mainly because its research on bat coronaviruses was important but also dangerous.
As it turns out, the NIH was funding dangerous research in Wuhan while the state Department was warning that a global pandemic could leak from the lab, something Chinese scientists said was likely in a South China University study paper. A pandemic study commission formed by the British government concluded that the lab leak could no longer be dismissed out of hand as just another tin-foil hat conspiracy theory. Neither should we.
Daniel John Sobieski is a former editorial writer for Investor’s Business Daily and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.
*Note: An earlier version of this piece listed the National Wildlife Federation as an organization affiliated with the Wuhan site. The National Wildlife Federation advises that that listing is in error. They have asked the Wuhan lab to remove it, but it hasn't been done, which sounds about par for the Chicoms.