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The Biden administration has announced they have suspended federal funding for any programs linked to a scientist who is central to the lab leak theory of the origins of the coronavirus.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sent a letter to Dr. Peter Daszak on Tuesday, informing him of his suspension from all federal funding programs. This decision came shortly after similar action was taken against his organization, EcoHealth Alliance (EHA). HHS holds Daszak responsible for EHA’s inadequate oversight of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and failure to report the lab’s high-risk virus studies.

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The letter from HHS stated, “The alleged conduct of EHA is imputed to you, because during all or part of the time relevant, you participated in, knew of, or had reason to know of EHA’s improper conduct, through your role as the President of EHA” as well as project director and principal investigator. They added, “Given the issues regarding the management of EHA’s grant awards and subawards, and the nature of the virology research being conducted by EHA … I have determined that the immediate suspension of Dr. Daszak is necessary to protect the public interest.”  While suspensions typically last about three years, the letter noted that the duration could be adjusted based on the circumstances.

HHS’s decision is based on information from 31 federal documents dating back to the National Institutes of Health’s initial grant to EcoHealth in 2014, culminating in the recent suspension and proposed debarment. EcoHealth Alliance and Daszak have faced scrutiny from both political parties over their work with the Wuhan lab, particularly concerning controversial “gain of function” research, which some argue is to enhance the virus’s ability to cause disease or increase its transmissibility.

Who Team Visits Wuhan Institute Of Virology

Earlier this month, House lawmakers grilled Daszak about EcoHealth’s biosafety practices and its ties with the Wuhan lab. Despite the intense questioning, no evidence directly linking the COVID-19 pandemic to EcoHealth’s research was presented. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) stated, “EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak’s personal debarment will ensure he never again receives a single cent from U.S. taxpayers nor has the opportunity to start a new, untrustworthy organization.”

Dr. Daszak has consistently denied that his organization ever funded or conducted gain of function research. However, HHS pointed out in a letter dated May 21 that EcoHealth failed to report that the WIV had created a virus exceeding permissible strength thresholds, violating grant terms. HHS previously barred WIV from receiving federal grants, citing undisputed violations of biosafety protocols.


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