REPORT: U.S. Tax Dollars Were Used To Fund Research To Create ‘Mutant Viruses’ At…

(trendingpoliticsnews) – U.S. tax dollars were used by EcoHealth Alliance to research “mutant viruses” at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, according to federal grant applications.

The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained 552 documents from the National Institutes of Health through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about grants to EcoHealth Alliance. Part of the request included information for research done by the group at the Wuhan lab.

One 2013 grant application from EcoHealth to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) detailed its plans to use bat coronavirus to create a “mutant virus,” according to one of the newly released documents.

“With bat-CoVs that we’ve isolated or sequenced and using live virus or pseudovirus infection in cells of different origin or expressing different receptor molecules, we will assess potential for each isolated virus and those with receptor binding site sequence, to spill over,” reads the grant application. “We will do this by sequencing the spike (or other receptor binding/fusion) protein genes from all our bat-CoVs, creating mutants to identify how significantly each would need to evolve to use ACE2, CD26/DPP4 (MERS-CoV receptor) or other potential CoV receptors.”

EcoHealth explained that the research would “allow us to determine critical receptor binding sites, viral host range, and to better predict the capacity of our CoVs to infect people.”

The 2013 application went on to list “specific aims” of the research.

“To understand the risk of zoonotic CoV [coronavirus] emergence, we propose to examine 1) the transmission dynamics of bat-CoVs across the human-wildlife interface; and 2) how this process is affected by CoV evolutionary potential, and how it might force CoV evolution. We will assess the nature and frequency of contact among animals and people in two critical human-animal interfaces: live animal markets in China and people who are highly exposed to bats in rural China,” reads the application.

“A review of these and other documents strongly suggest that U.S. funding in China and elsewhere for mutant virus, gain-of-function research may have been responsible for the emergence of the COVID pandemic in Wuhan,” said Judicial Watch Tom Fitton in a statement.  “This gain-of-function scandal should be the subject of criminal investigations.”

The NIH ultimately granted a $3.3 million grant to EcoHealth to run from 2013 through 2018 for a project titled “Understanding the Risk of Coronavirus Emergence.” The project’s first “Project/Performance Site Location” was the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Other locations included the East China Normal University in Shanghai, Yunnan Institute of Endemic Disease Control and Prevention in Dali, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Guangdong in Guangzhou.

In a statement to Fox News, EcoHealth denied supporting gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. “EcoHealth Alliance did not support gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Any assertions to the contrary are based either on misinterpretation or willful misrepresentation of the actual research conducted,” the statement read.

“Because the SARS-related research conducted by EcoHealth Alliance and the Wuhan Institute of Virology dealt with bat coronaviruses that had never been shown to infect people, let alone cause significant morbidity and/or mortality in humans, by definition it was not gain-of-function research,” the EcoHealth Alliance spokesman told Fox News. “The bat coronavirus research conducted by EcoHealth Alliance, and the Wuhan Institute of Virology could not have started the COVID-19 pandemic.”


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