Nix federal grants to EcoHealth Alliance, say Reschenthaler, Ernst


U.S. Representative Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) recently led dozens of their colleagues in condemning grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH ) to a New York-based nonprofit that funneled federal taxpayers’ money to an overseas Chinese lab.

The EcoHealth Alliance Inc., led by Chairman Peter Daszak, sent nearly $1.7 million in federal tax dollars to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), a virology research institute administered by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, under the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.

EcoHealth has also repeatedly failed to comply with federal law and federal grant reporting requirements, according to two separate Oct. 7 letters sent to NIH Director Lawrence Tabak and NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan.

“As you may know,” the lawmakers wrote in each letter, “the WIV is a laboratory of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the probable origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“This is a gross misuse of hard-working American taxpayers’ dollars to continue funding EcoHealth Alliance,” Rep. Reschenthaler said in a joint statement with Senator Ernst and other colleagues. “EcoHealth and its chairman, Peter Daszak, are complicit in disregarding federal law and collaborating with a [CCP] secret lab.

According to the NSF letter, the agency recently awarded a $1 million grant for a project that will include EcoHealth Alliance for Predictive Intelligence for Pandemic Prevention, and also plans to award another grant to EcoHealth for $263,801 in January 2023.

The NSF letter, which is signed by 40 members of Congress, calls on the NSF to end its grantmaking relationship with EcoHealth and poses several oversight questions regarding how EcoHealth was selected for this project.

Additionally, the NIH announced a five-year grant starting with a $653,392 award to conduct more bat coronavirus studies in Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam, according to the NIH letter signed by 30 members of Congress.

Rep. Reschenthaler, Senator Ernst, and their colleagues detail the EcoHealth Alliance’s history of grant noncompliance and lack of transparency, and they also called on the NIH to end its grant relationship with the non-profit organisation.

The funding announcements are “deeply concerning given EcoHealth’s long history of reporting failures and working with the WIV,” the lawmakers wrote in the two letters.

“Because EcoHealth broke federal laws, withheld evidence, and conducted dangerous research under dangerous conditions, this group should never again be trusted to get their hands on taxpayer dollars or bats” , said Senator Ernst. “Let’s define EcoHealth and launch a real scientific investigation to find out once and for all what really happened in Wuhan, China, so that the same mistakes will never be repeated again.”


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