Investigation of NIH Wuhan Funding Overdue but Welcome

As Jerry Dunleavy of the Washington Examiner reports, House Republicans are calling for an investigation of National Institutes of Health funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). The GOP members said in statement: “We are gravely concerned about the NIH’s relationship with both EcoHealth and WIV, and the Agency’s handling of allegations that the COVID-19 pandemic was potentially caused by an NIH-funded laboratory at WIV. We also are alarmed that WIV is eligible to receive additional funding from the NIH through 2024.”

The members want the independent watchdog of Health and Human Services to find out when the NIH was first aware that coronavirus experiments were conducted at the Wuhan lab, if NIH officials reviewed the Wuhan lab’s experiments to assess compliance with HHS guidelines, and whether NIH officials communicated with EcoHealth Alliance or the lab to coordinate messaging to respond to the lab leak hypothesis. The lawmakers also seek to know how much NIH support the WIV has received and when its funding eligibility ends. While the investigation proceeds, embattled Americans might keep the back story in mind.

Gain of function research, as Nidhi Subbaraman explains in Nature, “involves making pathogens more deadly or more transmissible.” The NIH banned such research in 2014 but revived it in 2017 and the NIH and State Department also approved the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) as a collaborator. U.S. funding for the WIV was channeled through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci since 1984.

The WIV received shipments of deadly pathogens from Chinese agents at Canada’s National Microbiology Lab. Despite claims by the World Health Organization, the Wuhan lab is the likely source of the virus that causes COVID-19. Dr. Fauci, the highest paid employee in the federal government, has not been forthcoming about NIH funding for the Wuhan lab, a wholly owned subsidiary of China’s Communist regime. The long overdue investigation should also check out the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), a secretive division of the Centers for Disease Control, known as the nation’s “medical CIA.” True to form, information on the EIS is hard to find.

Back in 2017, Dr. Ali S. Kahn, an EIS officer, wondered about the “downstream effect” of smaller EIS class sizes. The incoming group had been reduced to 71 members, fewer EIS officers “to tackle health threats around the world.” For Dr. Kahn, it was no time to “wind back our health security gains and reduce our boots on the ground.”

The EIS had boots on the ground in China, but the CDC has not explained their role with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, funded by American taxpayers. What responsibility will the EIS take for the pandemic that has caused so much death, suffering and economic damage? Embattled Americans have a right to know.

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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