Funding was indirect, but still …
The Pentagon gave $39 million to a charity that funded controversial coronavirus research at a Chinese lab accused of being the source for Covid-19, federal data reveals.
The news comes as the charity’s chief, British-born scientist Dr. Peter Daszak, was exposed in an alleged conflict of interest and back-room campaign to discredit lab leak theories.
The charity, EcoHealth Alliance (EHA), has come under intense scrutiny after it emerged that it had been using federal grants to fund research into coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
The U.S. nonprofit, set up to research new diseases, has also partly funded deeply controversial ‘gain of function’ experiments, where dangerous viruses are made more infectious to study their effect on human cells.
A political storm broke when former president Donald Trump canceled a $3.7 million grant to the charity last year amid claims that Covid-19 was created in, or leaked from, the Wuhan lab funded by EHA.
But federal grant data assembled by independent researchers shows that the charity has received more than $123 million from the government – from 2017 to 2020 – and that one of its biggest funders is the Department of Defense, funneling almost $39 million to the organization since 2013.
Exactly how much of that money went toward research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology is unknown.
Grants from the Pentagon included $6,491,025 from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) from 2017 to 2020 with the description: ‘Understanding the risk of bat-borne zoonotic disease emergence in Western Asia.’ . . .
In 2014 the Obama administration outlawed gain of function research, such as the experiments funded by EHA, after concerns were raised among scientists that it could lead to a global pandemic from a genetically enhanced virus escaping a lab.
But EHA reportedly continued to legally fund the practice, using a loophole that allowed for the research in cases ‘urgently necessary to protect the public health or national security.’
One notable EHA ‘policy advisor’ is David Franz, a former commander at the principal US government biowarfare and biodefense facility Fort Detrick.