Dr Anthony Fauci faces fresh pressure after it emerged $200,000 more of taxpayers money was given to the Wuhan Institute of Virology than the amount he said had been donated during Senate questioning.
America’s most senior infectious diseases expert has been accused of misleading Congress after he claimed that $600,000 of taxpayers’ money was sent to the Wuhan lab – when the actual figure is now known to be $826,000.
‘These new documents show that funding for the Wuhan Institute was greater than the public has been told,’ said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, which uncovered the discrepancy by using a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
‘That it has taken a year and a federal lawsuit to get this first disclosure on COVID and Wuhan is evidence of cover-up by Fauci’s agency.’
Fauci, the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, told a Senate hearing on May 25 that the U.S. funded the lab at the center of speculation about the origins of the pandemic, and justified the expenditure.
Fauci is pictured on May 25 appearing before a Congressional committee – the House Appropriations Committee – and stating that his organization funded the Wuhan lab to the tune of $600,000. It now emerges the figure was actually $826,000
‘We had a modest collaboration with very respectable Chinese scientists who were world experts on coronavirus, and we did that through a sub-grant from a larger grant to EcoHealth,’ Fauci said, referencing a New York-based non-profit that supported research into coronaviruses.
‘The larger grant was about $600,000 over a period of five years. So it was a modest amount. The purpose of it was to study the animal-human interface, to do surveillance and to determine if these bat viruses were even capable of’ infecting humans.
On Friday, however, Judicial Watch obtained via a Freedom of Information Act confirmation that the funding was significantly higher.
Internal emails within the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which Fauci leads, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed the true scale of funding.
On April 21, 2020, six years of funding to the Wuhan lab, from NIAID via EcoHealth, was detailed.
The grants were under the headline: ‘Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence’, and totaled $826,277.
Funding for the Wuhan lab has been in the spotlight in recent weeks, and has become exceptionally controversial.
Fauci has twice defended the spending, insisting that it would be a dereliction of duty not to help understand coronaviruses, and seek to study them.
After his May 25 appearance before the Senate, the following day he was questioned again and admitted that there is no way to know if Chinese scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology lied and conducted what are called ‘gain of function’ experiments on bat coronaviruses using U.S. tax dollars.
‘There’s no way of guaranteeing that,’ Fauci said at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, responding to a question from Republican Senator John Kennedy.
‘But in our experience with grantees, including Chinese grantees, which we have had interactions with for a very long period of time – they are very competent, trustworthy scientists.’
‘Gain of function’ experiments are conducted to make viruses more contagious or deadly.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said there’s no way to know if Chinese scientists lied about conducting ‘gain of function’ experiments in the Wuhan lab during Senate testimony on May 26
How Fauci flip-flopped on the origins of COVID
April 2020: Fauci repeatedly made public statements suggesting that that COVID was the result of an ‘unusual human-animal interface’ in a Chinese ‘wet market’ and that ‘the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human.’
May 2020: Still adamant that he didn’t believe the coronavirus was man-made. ‘If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated,’ he told National Geographic in an exclusive interview published May 4, 2020. ‘Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species.’
Late May 2021 to early June 2021: During an event called ‘United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking,’ Fauci was asked if was ‘still confident’ that the virus evolved naturally.
‘No, actually … I am not convinced about that. I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened,’ Fauci said. ‘Certainly, the people who investigated it say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but it could have been something else, and we need to find that out.’
He added: ‘So, you know, that’s the reason why I said I’m perfectly in favor of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus.’
There continues to be speculation that COVID-19 could have escaped from a lab, with the White House releasing a statement Wednesday saying U.S. intelligence agencies couldn’t state for certain the origin of that coronavirus.
The White House is asking the intelligence agencies to dig in, while pressuring the World Health Organization to get the underlying data from China.
Biden on May 26 defended his administration’s approach and said the intelligence agents were divided on the two possible scenarios: laboratory leak or natural transfer in the wild.
Supporters of the lab leak theory are also arguing over whether COVID is a naturally-occurring virus, or one that had been genetically modified, and whether it leaked by accident – or intentionally.
‘I have now asked the intelligence community to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion, and to report back to me in 90 days,’ said Biden.
‘As part of that report, I have asked for areas of further inquiry that may be required, including specific questions for China.’
President Biden said the inability of CDC inspectors to access key sites in China hampered early investigations as he asked the intelligence community to redouble efforts in investigating how COVID-19 emerged
He also directed national laboratories to assist with the investigation.
‘The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence,’ he said.
But he also said a final answer may never be found given the way that China refused to cooperate in the early days of an outbreak which has gone on to kill more than five million people around the world.
On Friday it emerged that Fauci’s organization was not the only government authority funding the Wuhan lab.
The Pentagon gave $39 million to EcoHealth Alliance (EHA) – a charity that has come under intense scrutiny after it emerged that it had been using federal grants to fund research into coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
The U.S. nonprofit, set up to research new diseases, has also partly funded deeply controversial ‘gain of function’ experiments, where dangerous viruses are made more infectious to study their effect on human cells.
A political storm broke when former president Donald Trump canceled a $3.7 million grant to the charity last year amid claims that COVID-19 was created in, or leaked from, the Wuhan lab funded by EHA.
But federal grant data assembled by independent researchers shows that the charity has received more than $123 million from the government – from 2017 to 2020 – and that one of its biggest funders is the Department of Defense, funneling almost $39 million to the organization since 2013.
Exactly how much of that money went toward research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology is unknown.
Federal data seen by DailyMail.com reveals The Pentagon gave $39million to charity EcoHealth Alliance (EHA), which funded a lab in Wuhan, China
FEDERAL GRANTS TO ECOHEALTH ALLIANCE
Federal grant data assembled by independent researchers shows that the charity has received more than $123 million from the government – and that one of its biggest funders is the Department of Defense, funneling almost $39million to the organization since 2013
Grants from the Pentagon included $6,491,025 from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) from 2017 to 2020 with the description: ‘Understanding the risk of bat-borne zoonotic disease emergence in Western Asia.’
The grant was categorized as ‘scientific research – combating weapons of mass destruction.’
The news comes as the charity’s chief, British-born scientist Dr. Peter Daszak, was exposed in an alleged conflict of interest and back-room campaign to discredit lab leak theories
The majority of the DoD funding came from the DTRA, a military branch with a mission to ‘counter and deter weapons of mass destruction and improvised threat networks.’
EHA also received $64.7 million from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), $13 million from Health and Human Services, which includes the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control, $2.3 million from the Department of Homeland Security, and $2.6 million from the National Science Foundation.
A government funding figure of $3.4 million was widely reported, after Fauci was questioned in a Senate hearing on how much money the National Institutes of Health sent to the Wuhan lab via its grants to EcoHealth Alliance in 2019.
But the total grant figures including Pentagon funding dwarf that number.
Researchers James Baratta and Mariamne Everett assembled grant filings from US government agencies to EHA, which were published on popular science site Independent Science News in December.
In the disclosure EHA says it is ‘the recipient of various grant awards from federal agencies including the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the US Agency for International Development and the Department of Defense.’
It does not disclose the size of its DoD funding.
In 2014 the Obama administration outlawed gain of function research, such as the experiments funded by EHA, after concerns were raised among scientists that it could lead to a global pandemic from a genetically enhanced virus escaping a lab.
But EHA reportedly continued to legally fund the practice, using a loophole that allowed for the research in cases ‘urgently necessary to protect the public health or national security.’
Researchers at a number of top universities have recently penned a letter claiming that theories that COVID-19 escaped from a Wuhan lab ‘remain viable’
While China has tried to insist the virus originated elsewhere, academics, politicians and the media have begun to contemplate the possibility it escaped from the WIV – raising suspicions that Chinese officials simply hid evidence of the early spread