Biden Admin Suspends Funding for Wuhan Institute

The Biden Administration has paused financial support to China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology following a review by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that deemed the research center not adhering to federal rules and lacking in accountability. The institute is embroiled in theories related to the origin of the catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic.

The HHS has issued a memo suggesting a potential ban on future dealings with the Wuhan Institute by the U.S. government, as per information disclosed by CNN.

An HHS representative confirmed the decision came after the Wuhan establishment failed to cooperate with the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) request for research-related data, which hinted at the possibility of the institute breaching NIH’s biosafety guidelines.

The memo, revealed by Bloomberg first, was released on Monday.

The HHS representative pointed out that the Wuhan laboratory had not received any NIH funding since the year 2020.

An anonymous HHS deputy assistant secretary for acquisition highlighted in the memo that the Wuhan Institute’s neglect towards NIH’s inquiries, along with NIH’s inference about likely breaches of biosafety norms, indicates a persistent violation of these regulations.

While the source of COVID-19 still remains undetermined by the U.S. intelligence community, a theory suggests that the virus might have leaked from the Wuhan lab in late 2019, causing a pandemic responsible for almost 7 million registered deaths globally.

Recently, a report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence stated an inability to confirm whether researchers who fell ill at the Wuhan lab during fall 2019 were infected by the virus, although it underscored safety and security concerns at the facility.

Contrarily, several experts believe that the virus originated naturally and was transmitted to humans in a marketplace located near the lab.

In April 2020, NIH informed EcoHealth Alliance, an organization that partially channelled a 2014 NIH grant to the Wuhan facility, that it was probing the lab’s suspected ties to the pandemic. In July, they revealed to the company about reports of “biosafety concern” at the Chinese facility.

Despite studying bat coronaviruses, the Wuhan researchers have refuted any link between their work and the virus outbreak. They claim their research helped better understand the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has requested further inquiries in China, inclusive of a laboratory audit.

In response, Beijing has indicated other potential origins of the virus and criticized the United States for “politicizing” the pandemic. It also demanded an audit of U.S. labs.

White Coat Waste Project, an organization known for unveiling concerns regarding NIH and Anthony Fauci, former head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about funding Wuhan’s animal lab experiments, appreciated the Biden Administration’s recent declaration.

Justin Goodman, a top official from the organization, stated, “We’re elated following our campaign and historical investigations that first unveiled Fauci’s funding for risky gain-of-function experiments at the Wuhan animal lab and their potential association with COVID’s probable first patient, the Biden administration has at last halted all taxpayer funding to the notorious animal testing lab that likely instigated COVID and suggested a perpetual ban on it.”

He expressed his satisfaction over the organization’s consistent efforts since April 2020 with Congress to prevent the Wuhan lab from receiving further taxpayer funding, resulting in its disqualification from NIH funding earlier this year.

He further revealed, “We first urged the Biden White House to permanently cease the Wuhan animal lab’s funding in February 2021, and last year startlingly revealed how Biden’s NIH was advocating against our endeavors with lawmakers to defund the Wuhan lab.” He expressed his relief that they have finally taken a step.

“Taxpayers should not be obligated to finance a foreign lab managed by a rival nation that wasted money, mistreated animals, and likely developed superviruses that probably incited a pandemic,” said Goodman.