Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Investigators Probe Whether U.S. Was Billed Twice for Coronavirus Research in China; Newly Released Documents On 2018 Coronavirus Research Proposal Reveal Scientists’ Safety Concerns Over Chinese Lab, and other C-Virus related stories

Photo: EcoHealth Alliance
WSJ: Investigators Probe Whether U.S. Was Billed Twice for Coronavirus Research in China:
Two federal inspectors general are investigating whether a nonprofit group involved in high-risk coronavirus research in China double-billed U.S. taxpayers for hundreds of thousands of dollars for that work, according to people familiar with the matter.
The probe of New York-based EcoHealth Alliance’s practices, some details of which haven’t been reported, is at an advanced stage and has included subpoenas of the organization’s records, the people said.
EcoHealth Alliance won tens of millions of dollars in grants and contracts from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Agency for International Development for pandemic research, including collaboration with Chinese scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology studying coronaviruses similar to the one that causes Covid-19.
The investigation by the inspectors general at USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the NIH, are focused not on the pandemic’s origins but on whether EcoHealth billed the two agencies for the same work.
The nonprofit disputes the allegations, saying the funding supported different projects that didn’t overlap.
Congressional Republicans have targeted the institute in Wuhan, the city where the Covid-19 pandemic began, and EcoHealth’s work as part of their probe into whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19 emerged as the result of a laboratory accident. No definitive proof of the virus’s origins has emerged, and U.S. intelligence agencies are divided over the pandemic’s beginnings.
China has rejected the idea that the virus leaked from one of its labs, and EcoHealth’s president, Peter Daszak, has been a prominent critic of the theory. The other leading theory is that the virus was first transmitted to humans from an infected animal. --->READ MOREE HERE
NY POST: Newly released documents on 2018 coronavirus research proposal reveal scientists’ safety concerns over Chinese lab:
Newly released documents and internal messages regarding a 2018 coronavirus research proposal reveal scientists’ concerns that the Chinese lab — which is now at the center of the COVID-19 lab leak theory — would be viewed by US officials as a safety risk.
Drafts and notes regarding a grant proposal called Project DEFUSE, coauthored by American researchers and scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, were published by US Right to Know Monday through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The proposal, which was ultimately rejected and denied funding by the US’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), was submitted by the now-controversial EcoHealth Alliance and sought to test engineering bat coronaviruses in a way that would make them more easily transmissible to humans.
The researchers proposed introducing “appropriate human-specific cleavage sites” to the spike proteins of SARS-related viruses in the lab.
The draft proposal was made public in 2021 and raised speculation that the coronavirus pandemic may have been caused by an infected lab tech or the improper disposal of hazardous waste from the Wuhan facility.
Now, messages and notes between the proposal’s authors as well as early drafts released this week add another layer to the theory.
According to the new documents, the researchers had planned to conduct a portion of the research at the Wuhan lab where safety precautions are not up to US standards, according to US Right to Know, a nonprofit public health research group. --->READ MORE HERE
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WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

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