Four years before the world battled the rampant peril of COVID-19, officials at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases expressed concerns over what they called “gain-of-function” research in China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, according to documents received by Judicial Watch in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
The agency is headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has steadfastly denied that any “gain-of-function” research was supported by the agency. Gain-of-function research takes place when scientists take a virus that exists in nature and make it more powerful.
“The incredible disclosure of an FBI inquiry shows that Fauci and others involved in this scandal were being dishonest in dismissing the seriousness of questions about their cover-up of their funding of dangerous gain-of-function research in China,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, according to Judicial Watch.
“Any FBI inquiry would be appropriate as these documents, extracted by Judicial Watch after years of stonewalling, also show that Fauci’s agency knew and should have known, going back to 2016, that it funded dangerous and prohibited gain-of-function research in China,” he said.
The documents released also indicate that the FBI made an inquiry into a grant operated by the National Institutes of Health into bat coronavirus research conducted at the Chinese lab, according to Judicial Watch.
The records also show that the legal team of a group called EcoHealth Alliance, which was part of the Wuhan project’s legal team, suggested denying a request for data on the Wuhan project due to the Capitol incursion.
“Judicial Watch announced today that it received 1,651 pages of records from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealing an FBI ‘inquiry’ into the NIH’s controversial bat coronavirus grant tied to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The records also show National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) officials were concerned about ‘gain-of-function’ research in China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2016. The Fauci agency was also concerned about EcoHealth Alliance’s lack of compliance with reporting rules and use of gain-of-function research in the NIH-funded research involving bat coronaviruses in Wuhan, China,” Judicial Watch wrote.
“The records reveal several indications of gain-of-function research, as well as failures to comply with reporting regulations, including a May 9, 2016, email marked ‘High’ importance, in which NIH official Carine Normil notes Peter Daszak’s failure to file a progress report on EcoHealth’s bat coronavirus research,” the statement said. Daszak is president of EcoHealth.
NIAID official Erik Stemmy, who is copied on the email, replied to Normil writing, “They have proposed work for the next year of the award that may be subject to the gain-of-function funding pause,” Judicial Watch reported.
The records included a 2016 letter from NIH official Jenny Greer and Stemmy, saying the Wuhan bat project, “may include Gain-of-Function (GoF) research that is subject to the U.S. Government funding pause … issued on October 17, 2014.”
An October 23, 2020, letter from NIH Deputy Director Michael Lauer expressed safety concerns about the Wuhan lab.
[W]e have concerns that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which previously served as a subrecipient of the Project, had not satisfied safety requirements that applied to its subawards with EcoHealth, and that EcoHealth had not satisfied its obligations to monitor the activities of its subrecipient to ensure compliance,” the letter said.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) July 16, 2022
After being asked to produce safety reports, Daszak replied, “Given the intense geopolitical pressure around the accusations that WIV intentionally or accidentally released SARS-CoV-2 (something which the WHO mission deemed ‘extremely unlikely’), obtaining such information is not a plausible option at present.”
Fauci agency is in cover-up mode. Incredibly, gov told us that Fauci and team personally need to review docs before they are released (which was also another excuse for the delays)! https://t.co/pLXWBSY8rT
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) July 16, 2022
When NIH sought assistance from EcoHealth in processing a Freedom of Information request, the law firm representing the company suggested a denial.
“[A]s demonstrated by the recent attack on the U.S. Capitol fueled by disinformation and conspiracy theories, the need to protect the privacy of EcoHealth Alliance’s employees and affiliates is more important than ever,” the firm wrote.
Elsewhere, the documents show American tax dollars funded Chinese labs. An April 21, 2020, document reports that more than $200,000 went to three Chinese labs, with the Wuhan lab getting $76,301.