Obama administration provided a grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology

The claim that “The Obama administration provided a $3.7 million grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China” started in April 2020.

The report started to circulate that the National Institutes of Health had provided the Wuhan Institute of Virology a $3.7 million grant in 2015, while former US President Barack Obama was in office. These reports suggested COVID-19 had escaped or been deliberately released from this laboratory.

Emerald Robinson from the conservative news organisation Newsmax asked President Donald Trump about this report on 17th April 2020. 1

Between 2014 and 2019, the EcoHealth Alliance was awarded a series of grants of $3.7 million by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study the “risk of future coronavirus (CoV) emergence from wildlife using in-depth field investigations across the human-wildlife interface in China.”

Only a portion of this money has been used to fund research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. $700,000 of this grant money was awarded under the Trump administration.

These grants funded research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology as well as laboratories in the United States, Australia and Singapore.

A renewal for the funding of these grants was approved by the Trump administration in 2019 before the Trump administration announced the withdrawal of funding.

At a congressional hearing on 23 June 2020, Anthony Fauci said the National Institutes of Health was told to cancel a grant funding research for the study investigating how coronaviruses jump from bats to humans.

US Republican Marc Veasey asked Fauci about the grant, stating it didn’t make any sense to him that funding for research on the coronavirus had been cancelled “while we are in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic.” He asked Fauci if he knew why the decision had been made.

Fauci stated that the White House directed NIH to cut off the funding. “Why was it cancelled? It was cancelled because the NIH was told to cancel it. I don’t know the reason, but we were told to cancel it.2

According to EcoHealth website,

EcoHealth Alliance is an international nonprofit dedicated to a ‘One Health’ approach to protecting the health of people, animals and the environment from emerging infectious diseases. The organization formed with the merger of two highly respected organizations, Wildlife Trust and the Consortium for Conservation Medicine. The urgent concern for wildlife conservation and the overall health of our planet has led EcoHealth Alliance to become an environmental science and public health leader working to prevent pandemics in global hotspot regions across the globe and to promote conservation.

A 15 page report, Origin and cross-species transmission of bat coronaviruses in China, was written by contributors from: 3

  • EcoHealth Alliance, New York, USA.
  • Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens And Biosafety, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Center for Biosafety Mega-Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, China.
  • Guangdong Institute of Applied Biological Resources, Guangdong Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China.
  • School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
  • Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore, Singapore.
This study was funded by ECOHealth Alliance under the grants listed above.

A 2017 report, Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus states: 4

A large number of SARS-related coronaviruses (SARSr-CoV) have been detected in horseshoe bats since 2005 in different areas of China. […] Herein, we report the findings of our 5-year surveillance of SARSr-CoVs in a cave inhabited by multiple species of horseshoe bats in Yunnan Province, China. The full-length genomes of 11 newly discovered SARSr-CoV strains, […] together with our previous findings, reveals that the SARSr-CoVs circulating in this single location are highly diverse.

Yunnan province is the central south of China.

This is an attempt by the Trump administration and conspirators to hide research that links coronaviruses to bat populations. The alternative proposed is that it originated in Wuhan laboratory, either inadvertently or deliberately.

Footnotes

  1. Mack, E. (2020) Obama Gave $3.7M Grant to Sketchy China Virology Lab | Newsmax.com [online]. Available from: https://www.newsmax.com/politics/virology-pandemic-covid-19-funding/2020/04/18/id/963512/ (Accessed 16 October 2020).
  2. Zoellner, D. (2020, June 25). White House abruptly cut off funding to coronavirus grant research, Dr Fauci says | The Independent | The Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/dr-fauci-congress-coronavirus-testimony-grant-research-wuhan-lab-a9585886.html
  3. Latinne, A., Hu, B., Olival, K. J., Zhu, G., Zhang, L., Li, H., Chmura, A. A., Field, H. E., Zambrana-Torrelio, C., Epstein, J. H., Li, B., Zhang, W., Wang, L.-F., Shi, Z.-L., & Daszak, P. (2020). Origin and cross-species transmission of bat coronaviruses in China. Nature Communications, 11(1).
  4. Hu, B., Zeng, L.-P., Yang, X.-L., Ge, X.-Y., Zhang, W., Li, B., Xie, J.-Z., Shen, X.-R., Zhang, Y.-Z., Wang, N., Luo, D.-S., Zheng, X.-S., Wang, M.-N., Daszak, P., Wang, L.-F., Cui, J., & Shi, Z.-L. (2017). Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus. PLOS Pathogens, 13(11), e1006698.

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