Biden administration FINALLY ends HHS funding for Wuhan Institute of Virology

 After months of pushback, the administration of President Joe Biden has finally formally halted the Wuhan Institute of Virology's (WIV) access to federal funding.

Biden's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified the institute about the suspension on Monday, July 17, following a department review that began in September 2022, raising concerns that the institute where the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) first emerged is violating biosafety protocols and isn't complying with United States safety regulations.  

A memorandum on the cutoff from the HHS noted that the Wuhan lab "not only previously violated, but is currently violating and will continue to violate protocols of the NIH [National Institutes of Health] on biosafety" and that "the immediate suspension of WIV is necessary to mitigate any potential public health risk.

The department further said that the cessation of all federal funding for the Wuhan lab was also due to the lab's failure to provide the U.S. with important information regarding its alleged biosafety violations.

The WIV has received more than $1.4 million in federal awards, including subgrants from the NIH, since 2014. While it hasn't received any new funding since 2020, it is still eligible for some taxpayer dollars until next year.

Republicans call on EcoHealth to also be cut off from taxpayer funding

In the wake of this development, Republicans in the House of Representatives are now calling for the HHS to "consider a similar debarment for EcoHealth Alliance," the organization – which also receives federal funding – that may have aided researchers at the Wuhan lab in conducting gain-of-function research which led to the creation of the coronavirus.

"Our committee has led a comprehensive investigation that has uncovered numerous reasons to debar the WIV and prevent U.S. taxpayer dollars from funding risky research done at inappropriate biosafety levels," said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington in an open letter. McMorris Rodgers signed this letter along with Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie of Kentucky and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith of Virginia.

The representatives noted that the HHS's own inspector general even confirmed that EcoHealth Alliance did not effectively monitor its awards and subawards, limiting the organization's ability to understand the nature of the research conducted using EcoHealth funds and preventing the organization from quickly identifying problem areas.

"We've questioned the Inspector General as well as [HHS] Secretary Xavier Becerra and NIH's head official Dr. Lawrence Tabak about decisions to continue funding research at the lab," wrote the representatives. "If that wasn't enough, our committee has uncovered that Dr. Anthony Fauci wasn't lawfully appointed when he approved the latest grant to EcoHealth Alliance in 2022."

"It's past time that the Biden administration made this decision, but they deserve no credit for finally doing what the evidence and facts demanded," wrote McMorris Rodgers. "It is outrageous that it took them so long. HHS must now consider a similar debarment for EcoHealth Alliance."

Biden administration FINALLY ends HHS funding for Wuhan Institute of Virology Biden administration FINALLY ends HHS funding for Wuhan Institute of Virology Reviewed by Your Destination on July 21, 2023 Rating: 5

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