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Home / Health / The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has never reviewed the US grant to Wuhan laboratory to enhance the bat-based coronavirus

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has never reviewed the US grant to Wuhan laboratory to enhance the bat-based coronavirus



  • Richard H. Ebright, a professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the National Institutes of Health has “systematically thwarted” government research on dangerous pathogens Supervision.
  • The P3CO review framework was created in 2017 after the government suspended a three-year research grant that deliberately made pathogens more lethal or spread.
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded a modification of a bat-based coronavirus and transferred US$600,000 to the Wuhan Institute of Virology before the pandemic, thus bypassing the P3CO review due to Anthony Fu The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) led by Anthony Fauci did not mark the logo. The project is reviewed.

The oversight committee set up to review research that would enhance highly dangerous pathogens did not review the National Institutes of Health grants that funded a laboratory in Wuhan, China to genetically modify bat coronaviruses.

Experts say that the National Institutes of Health grants describe scientists who conduct functional gain research, which is a dangerous area of ​​research, in which case the disease makes SARS-like viruses more contagious. Due to widespread scientific concerns, the federal government may leak the supercharged virus into the population. Therefore, in 201

4, the federal government temporarily suspended funding for functional research.

After establishing a potential pandemic control and surveillance (P3CO) framework within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Federation resumed federal funding for functional access research at the end of 2017. The task of the review committee is to rigorously assess whether grants involving the strengthening of dangerous pathogens such as the coronavirus are worth the risk and whether appropriate safeguards have been taken.

However, an NIH spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation, but the NIH sub-organization granted a grant to the non-profit organization EcoHealth Alliance for research on the Chinese bat coronavirus, and therefore chose not to transfer it to the P3CO committee. HHS board.

Richard H. Ebright, a professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University, told DCNF that “this is a systemic problem,” referring to a loophole in the review framework.

Ebright said that the Office of the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) (which funded EcoHealth’s sub-agency) and NIH “systematically frustrated the HHS P3CO framework and actually systematically abolished the HHS P3CO framework. Review .”

Dr. Anthony Fauci leads NI​​​AID, and Dr. Francis S. Collins leads NI​​H.

A spokesperson for the National Institutes of Health said that its affiliates did not mark the eco-health grants as being independently reviewed by the Health and Health Services Review Board.

The spokesperson told DCNF: “After carefully reviewing the grant, NIAID determined that the research in the grant is not a functional gain study because it does not involve an increase in the pathogenicity or spread of the virus under study.”

The spokesperson said: “We will not submit research proposals that do not meet the definition, otherwise we will need to submit everything.”

How to bypass federal oversight of functional gain research

The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) is at the center of widespread speculation that COVID-19 may accidentally leak from the laboratory to the population. EcoHealth’s grant to study bat coronavirus in China includes a transfer of $600,000 to WIV.

If the EcoHealth grant is subject to a P3CO review, the HHS team will independently evaluate the grant, and if necessary, recommend other biological containment measures to prevent potential laboratory leaks-and even recommend that the grant be rejected altogether.

WIV is a biosafety level 4 laboratory, the highest level of biocontainment certification, but US Embassy officials issued two diplomatic cables after their visit in 2018 to warn that the laboratory is insufficiently safe. One of the telegrams warned that the laboratory was studying the bat-type coronavirus. According to the “Washington Post” report, this represents the risk of a new pandemic similar to SARS.

The attachment to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Origins Report released on Tuesday describes WIV’s work using “recombinant viruses” in tests involving bat coronaviruses, which Ebright said is a description of gaining function research.

According to the New York Times, the U.S. government suspended funding for gain-of-function research in 2014 after laboratory workers were accidentally exposed to anthrax by the Centers for Disease Control. The incident followed widespread scientific protests in 2011, when it was revealed that laboratories in Wisconsin and the Netherlands were deliberately modifying the H5N1 avian influenza virus so that it could jump between ferrets more effectively.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the White House press conference hosted by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, at the James Brady press release at the White House on January 21, 2021 Address at the meeting. Photography: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the White House press conference hosted by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, at the James Brady press release at the White House on January 21, 2021 Address at the meeting. Photography: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

After the implementation of the new monitoring procedures, the federally funded functional benefit research was resumed in 2017. The review framework divides oversight responsibilities into two groups, which are the funding agency (NIAID in the case of the EcoHealth grant) and the P3CO review committee, which is an interdisciplinary group convened by HHS.

An HHS spokesperson told DCNF that the committee is responsible for recommending whether research grants involving functional gains need to include any other risk mitigation measures.. But the committee knows nothing before receiving any grants until the funding agency marks one for its review.

The P3CO framework does not require the HHS review committee to conduct a second review of NIAID’s decision, because the review of the committee is that the EcoHealth grant does not involve functional gain research.

An NIH spokesperson said that suggesting that NIAID be required to notify the HHS review committee would be “misleading and inaccurate.”

An HHS spokesperson confirmed that the department’s P3CO review committee only reviews research grants marked for further review by funding agencies such as NIAID. When asked if the review committee was aware of the EcoHealth grant, the spokesperson did not answer.

Ecological health has a history of manipulation of bat-type coronaviruses. The president of the organization, Peter Daszak, said in a podcast interview in Singapore that he said so several weeks before the first COVID-19 case was reported in Wuhan in December 2019.

“You can easily manipulate them in the laboratory,” Dazzak said. The spike protein drives the occurrence of the coronavirus. Risk of zoonotic diseases. So you can get the sequence, you can build the protein-we worked with Ralph Baric, [the University of North Carolina] For this-insert the backbone of another virus and do some work in the laboratory. “

Ebright told DCNF that NIAID believes that it is wrong to determine that the EcoHealth grant does not involve improving the spread of the bat-type coronavirus in China. He said that the project’s fiscal year summary for 2019 cited the “in vitro and in vivo infection experiments” of the coronavirus, and “*clearly* requires risk-benefit assessment based on the HHS P3CO framework.”

Other scientists said that EcoHealth’s work in China, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), involves research on the functional acquisition of bat-type coronaviruses.

“It’s hard to overemphasize that the central logic of the grant is to test the pandemic potential of SARS-related bat coronaviruses through genetic engineering or passaging or both.” Jonathan Rutherm (Jonathan) Latham and Allison Wilson wrote in June.

NIH terminated the EcoHealth grant in April 2020. In a letter, NIH Deputy Director of External Research, Michael Lauer, told the research team that the agency “does not believe that the current project results are in line with planned goals and institutional priorities.”

Fauci stated at a hearing held by the House Energy & Commerce Committee in June that the “cancellation of health insurance” funding was “because of the requirement that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) cancel it.”

“I don’t know the reason, but someone told us to cancel it,” Fauci said.

After the hearing, Fauci told Politico that the White House of former President Donald Trump ordered the National Institutes of Health to cancel the funding.

HHS officials admit that the government’s oversight of GOF research is flawed

The only known member of the HHS P3CO review committee is its chairman, Chris Hassell, who is a senior scientific advisor in the HHS Office, Assistant Secretary for Preparation and Response. He disclosed his participation in the speech of the National Biosafety Science Advisory Committee in January 2020.

During the meeting, Hassel stated that the current definition of a potential pandemic pathogen is “very narrow… which has resulted in only some influenza-related recommendations” for the committee’s review.

Hassel said: “I might say frankly, maybe it’s too appropriate, I think it’s too narrow.” Hassel said that he might suggest that the government fund his committee’s uncensored functions to obtain research.

Hassel said: “I think it can be re-examined, and there may be some definitional issues.”

In 2014, 21 research projects were suspended when access to functional income funds was suspended. But according to the New York Times, NIH has created exceptions for 10 of them.

After continued funding in 2017, only two projects were approved under the P3CO framework. According to the National Institutes of Health, both projects are related to influenza viruses.

It is not clear how many research grants have been reviewed under this framework. A spokesperson for the National Institutes of Health said that they will not comment or discuss grant applications that have not been funded.

It is unclear who is still a member of the HHS P3CO audit committee. Hassell stated in January 2020 that the committee consists only of federal employees, but said it may not be conducive to their job of publishing names.

Hasel said: “It has been recommended to disclose personal names as much as possible, and it would be harmful if anyone willing to serve on the committee shuddered.”

An HHS spokesperson said Hassel could not comment.

Eleanor Bartow contributed to this report.

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