U.S. Formally Suspends Funding To Wuhan Institute Of Virology

"This action aims to ensure that WIV does not receive another dollar of federal funding."
Security personnel stand guard outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan as members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team investigating the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus make a visit to the institute in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on February 3, 2021. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration has formally suspended funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Chinese research institute at the center of the COVID lab leak theory, saying the institute does not comply with federal regulations.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) informed the Wuhan Institute on Monday that the U.S. is cutting off funding, adding that the department is looking to stop funding permanently, according to a memo first reported by Bloomberg News.

The decision comes after a months-long review by HHS, which concluded that the institute, a leader in coronavirus research based in Wuhan where the COVID-19 virus began, “is not compliant with federal regulations and is not presently responsible.”

An HHS spokesperson said the decision to scrap funding came after the Wuhan Institute failed to provide documents related to concerns that it had violated the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) biosafety protocols.

Previously, the NIH helped fund experiments at the Wuhan Institute that involved creating “chimeric” hybrids of SARS-related bat coronaviruses.

“This action aims to ensure that WIV does not receive another dollar of federal funding,” the HHS spokesperson said in a statement.

For months during the thick of the pandemic in 2020, the lab leak theory was mocked and dismissed as a conspiracy theory.

Scientists who authored an early, highly influential paper on the origins of COVID agreed to downplay the lab leak theory, “given the s*** show that would happen if anyone serious accused the Chinese of even accidental release,” one said in a private Slack message in February 2020.

“Yup, I totally agree that that’s a very reasonable conclusion. Although I hate when politics is injected into science – but its [sic] impossible not to, especially given the circumstances,” one of the paper’s other authors responded.

“We do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible,” the five prominent scientists later wrote in their March 2020 paper titled “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2” that was published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Emails from early 2020 that came to light earlier this year show that Dr. Anthony Fauci and his team suspected all along that the virus may have been the result of a lab leak. Fauci was the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and served as a prominent member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in 2020.

At the end of January, Fauci had a call with one of the COVID origin paper’s authors, Kristian Anderson, that concerned him so much he suggested potentially notifying the FBI.

After that phone call, Fauci wrote in an email that a group of evolutionary biologists should get together to “examine carefully the data to determine if his concerns are validated.”

“He should do this very quickly and if everyone agrees with this concern, they should report it to the appropriate authorities. I would imagine that in the USA this would be the FBI and in the UK it would be MI5,” Fauci wrote.

“Some of the features (potentially) look engineered,” Anderson wrote in an email to Fauci that same evening.

“On a spectrum if 0 is nature and 100 is release — I am honestly at 50!” British medical researcher Jeremy Farrar later wrote on February 2 to Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins, then the director of the NIH.

The scientists scrambled to look for a natural evolution explanation for COVID-19, but they struggled to find conclusive evidence.

“Our main work over the last couple of weeks has been focused on trying to disprove any type of lab theory, but we are at a crossroad where the scientific evidence isn’t conclusive enough to say that we have high confidence in any of the three main theories considered,” wrote Andersen. “As to publishing this document in a journal, I am currently not in favor of doing so.”

However, in March, they decided to move forward and publish the scientific paper that downplayed the lab leak theory.

The NIH begrudgingly released the unredacted emails earlier this year after more than a year of litigation involving Freedom Of Information Act requests from journalists.

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