WASHINGTON, D.C. – House GOP members are calling for a probe into New York-based EcoHealth Alliance after it was alleged the non-profit group – whose stated mission is “protecting people, animals, and the environment from emerging infectious diseases” – had concealed data from their research into COIVD-19 so as to not risk losing funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee – including Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA); Brett Guthrie (R-KY); and Morgan Griffith (R-VA) – are insisting that an investigation be made into reports by EcoHealth Alliance relating to mice experiments conducted at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) after “multiple discrepancies” were discovered.
“Our review of EcoHealth Alliance’s reports about its humanized mice experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology using funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows pervasive discrepancies, inconsistencies, and omissions in its progress reports and renewal application that raise serious questions about scientific and ethical misconduct, violations of NIH policies and regulations, and possible false statements and fraud,” the GOP House members wrote to NIH Acting Director Lawrence Tabak on Monday.
“Accordingly, we request the NIH investigate [EcoHealth President] Dr. Peter Daszak, the Principal Investigator of R01AIll0964, and other EcoHealth officials to determine whether certain data related to mice deaths and other material information were intentionally withheld during the peer review process for EcoHealth’s grant renewal application,” they added.
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According to stipulations of the grant, EcoHealth was mandated to provide annual progress reports to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); the previous grant ran out in May 2019, but EcoHealth had successfully applied in 2018 for a five-year renewal at $3.7 million.
The issue House Republicans have with EcoHealth is their fifth-year progress report that was submitted after their grant had been renewed, which centered on “testing chimeric SARS-like viruses in a humanized mice experiment to evaluate pathogenicity.”
Due to certain language and omissions used in EcoHealth’s year-four and year-five progress reports – in addition to their grant renewal application – relating to the mouse experiments, House GOP members believe that the complete results of their research may have been concealed or withheld outright in order to not interfere with EcoHealth’s attempt to renew their lucrative grant.
“NIH must further examine Peter Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance,” McMorris Rodgers said in a statement. “Their apparent cover-up of a humanized mice experiment at the Wuhan lab was an attempt to subvert the NIH’s peer review process. Daszak has a lengthy record of discrepancies and questionable claims that must be thoroughly investigated.”
The grant in question was bestowed by NIH upon EcoHealth Alliance at the direction of NIAID, which is headed up by Dr. Anthony Fauci; from there, EcoHealth used the grant to fund research at the Wuhan lab in question, which some have alleged was “gain-of-function research” that potentially led to the COVID-19 pandemic.