HomeWorldHHS bars Wuhan Institute of Virology from receiving US funds for next 10 years
HHS bars Wuhan Institute of Virology from receiving US funds for next 10 years
September 20, 2023
The Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday that it has officially barred the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) from receiving US funding for the next 10 years, as more evidence points to the COVID-19 pandemic leaking out of a Chinese lab.
The Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra sent a letter on Tuesday to WIV Director General Dr. Yanyi Wang informing her that the lab — which conducted risky gain-of-function experiments on bat coronaviruses — will be denied US research grants until July 16, 2033.
The letter notes that attempts had been made to contact the lab via fax, email and mail about HHS’s decision to suspend funding in July, but no WIV officials had contested the designation or even responded to the agency.
In that earlier missive, the NIH said it found the Wuhan Institute of Virology had “conducted an experiment yielding a level of viral activity which was greater than permitted under the terms of the grant,” which was for the study of bat coronaviruses.
Other requests for the Chinese research institution’s lab findings had also been ignored after NIH made requests for them on Nov. 5, 2021, and Jan. 6, 2022.
“WIV has not acknowledged the violations, has not cooperated with the Government to address the violations, has not accepted responsibility for the violations, and, therefore, presumably has taken no action to eliminate the risk to the Government in conducting business transactions with WIV presently or into the future,” the letter states.
A typical debarment period for a research institution is usually no more than three years.
House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) released a redacted copy of the letter on Wednesday, calling it an “obvious step in the right direction.”
“This is especially timely as mounting evidence and intelligence continue to suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic originated from a laboratory failure in Wuhan,” Wenstrup said. “Rewarding the likely source of a global pandemic with American resources will only lead to more future health risks.”
“Further, the Select Subcommittee recently revealed that prominent public health authorities — including Dr. Anthony Fauci — knew about the risky laboratory conditions in Wuhan prior to the spread of COVID-19 worldwide,” he added.
“Covering up for the failures of a Chinese lab, hiding critical evidence from the American people, and facilitating the public promotion of a false, alternative narrative is extremely concerning and deserves thorough investigation.”
HHS has yet to publicly comment on the determination. Neither the agency nor its suspension and debarment official responded to The Post’s requests for comment.
US taxpayers forked over $2,168,345 in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to the Chinese research institutions from 2014 to 2021, according to a Government Accountability Office report released in June.
A little more than $1.4 million of those funds went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology through subgrants allocated by the Manhattan-based EcoHealth Alliance.
US intelligence agencies have issued conflicting reports about the origins of the COVID pandemic, with the FBI being the first to declare a lab leak the most likely explanation for the pandemic.
The Energy Department has also concluded that SARS-CoV-2 most likely leaked from a Chinese lab. The CIA has been unable to come to a determination about pandemic origins.
However, a senior-level whistleblower at the CIA recently disclosed to Congress that six analysts who initially determined a lab leak to be the most likely explanation for the pandemic “were given a significant monetary incentive to change their position.”