By: Will Kessler, Daily Caller News Foundation
A Tuesday night memo from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a proposal to suspend and bar the Chinese Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) from participating in U.S. government programs.
In a memo made public by a House oversight committee, an HHS official in charge of suspension and debarment instructed the federal government to suspend the access of government programs to the WIV following concerns that the site is the origin of COVID-19, cutting off any access to funding, according to the HHS memo. The memo gives a timeline of the instances of contact between U.S. grant recipient EcoHealth, which has been identified as the facilitator of U.S. funding being used for controversial and dangerous gain-of-function research at the WIV, and the National Institute of Health (NIH) and its sub-agency, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), despite an order by the White House to put the research on pause since October 2014.
“I find that the information in the record constitutes adequate evidence to demonstrate that the immediate suspension of WIV is necessary to protect the public interest,” according to the memo. “As such, there is a risk that WIV not only previously violated, but is currently violating, and will continue to violate, protocols of the NIH on biosafety.”Top health officials have repeatedly denied the claims that COVID-19 originated in a lab and that the NIH funded gain-of-function research. Anthony Fauci, former director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), vehemently denied the claims that the NIAID funded WIV gain-of-function research on bat-based coronaviruses in an exchange with Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul in May 2021.
Later texts from February 2020 show that Fauci knew of gain-of-function research, with him sending an email to U.S. public health officials saying that “scientists in the Wuhan University are known to have been working on gain-of-function experiments … associated with bat viruses adapting to human infection,” according to a document from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus.
Scientists who wrote a prominent paper on the origins of COVID-19 and said that the virus likely did not escape from a laboratory were found to have exchanged private messages from February 2020 expressing support for the theory, finding a lab leak “highly likely.”
HHS did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.