Interior Department included Wuhan lab funder on early COVID pandemic research team
- July 7, 2023
Officials at the U.S. nonprofit that passed taxpayer money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology – whose coronavirus bat research is now suspected by the FBI to be the source of the pandemic – helped the Interior Department research possible transmission of COVID-19 between humans and North American bats, according to newly released government memos.
Lightly redacted documents provided to government watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust in response to a Freedom of Information Act request show the “fingerprints” of the EcoHealth Alliance “at key points” of the resulting U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) paper in June 2020, the group said Wednesday.
While substituting the “subjective experience” of experts for actual data was “understandable” early in the pandemic because “there weren’t enough samples for a more data-driven approach,” the presence of EcoHealth Vice President for Science and Outreach Jonathan Epstein on the expert panel is troubling, according to PPT.
“EcoHealth’s track record doesn’t inspire confidence,” says group Director Michael Chamberlain, a former Trump administration Department of Education communications official.
Chamberlain’s group said the concerns about the Wuhan Institute of Virology and EcoHealth Alliance’s ties to the lab raise new questions about the government relationship with the contractor.
“As we unearth more EHA ties to the federal government” – in this case, during a “consequential phase of the pandemic” – the question remains why the feds have “downplayed the organization’s apparent reporting violations” and why it deserves taxpayer funds, Chamberlain said.
“Resources were flowing into EcoHealth Alliance from corners of the federal government few people would have expected,” Chamberlain told The Spectator.