WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to a Fox News exclusive report, on Friday GOP members of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees initiated a probe into a National Institutes of Health (NIH) taxpayer-funded grant to EcoHealth Alliance, which in turn awarded a sub-grant to China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) to study bat coronavirus samples and the potential risks they posed to human beings.
Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH) and House Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY) claimed that in a letter written to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci that the probe was needed due to “mounting evidence the COVID-19 pandemic started in the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Chinese Communist Party covered it up.”
Comer and Jordan expressed that they were concerned that EcoHealth Alliance was not only aware of the Chinese government’s alleged cover-up of COVID-19’s origins – rumored to have “leaked” from a Wuhan lab – but failed to do anything or notify anyone about it.
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“If U.S. taxpayer money was used to develop COVID-19, conduct gain of function research, or assist in any sort of cover-up, EcoHealth Alliance must be held accountable,” Comer and Jordan wrote. “It is incumbent upon grant recipients to ensure their work is performed within the scope of the grant, advances our national interest, and protects our national security.”
Gain of function research is a term used to describe any field of medical research which alters an organism or disease in a way that increases pathogenesis, transmissibility, or host range. Fauci told lawmakers earlier this week that NIH had set aside $600,000 in funding for the WIV over a 5-year period of time to study bat coronaviruses, but denied the research involved gain of function.
Comer and Jordan are insisting upon receiving all grant-related documents and communications between the NIH, the WIV, and EcoHealth Alliance, in addition to a staff-level briefing by June 4.