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Tags: peter daszak | ecohealth alliance | federal funds | wuhan

Feds Suspend Funding for Wuhan-Linked Scientist

By    |   Wednesday, 22 May 2024 06:37 PM EDT

The Department of Health and Human Services suspended and began formal proceedings to permanently ban federal funding to EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak, who's at the center of a controversy involving gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

The move came a week after HHS issued a government-wide suspension on all taxpayer funds allocated to EcoHealth and followed a debarment recommendation from Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, chair of the House Oversight Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.

An action referral memorandum dated Tuesday by the HHS suspension and debarment official and deputy assistant secretary for acquisitions, whose name was redacted, stated: "HHS believes there is adequate evidence in the record for this debarment cause and that immediate action is necessary to protect the public interest."

The official also sent a letter dated Tuesday to Daszak, stating it was holding him responsible for EcoHealth's failure to adequately monitor activities at the Wuhan lab and failing to report on the lab's high-risk virus studies. The lab is believed to be from where the coronavirus leaked, causing the pandemic.

"The alleged conduct of [EcoHealth] is imputed to you, because during all or part of the time relevant, you participated in, knew of, or had reason to know of [EcoHealth's] improper conduct, through your role as the President," the letter stated. "The improper conduct of [EcoHealth] is imputed to you and provides separate and independent cause for your suspension and proposed debarment."

The official stated that debarment is "generally for a period not to exceed three years; however, regardless of whether you contest this action or respond to this Notice, I may impose debarment for a longer period or shorter period as the circumstances warrant."

The length of debarment will be based on the seriousness of the cause for debarment, the official wrote.

Daszak and EcoHealth have been castigated by congressional lawmakers from both parties for their roles in controversial gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab. Gain-of-function research involves lab experiments that make pathogens more transmissible or more virulent, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Daszak has denied that the organization funded or conducted gain-of-function research. But the HHS official wrote in the referral memorandum that Daszak and EcoHealth failed to report to the NIH that the Wuhan lab produced a virus that was stronger than permissible thresholds, which was a violation of the terms of the grant.

"Dr. Daszak's impending debarment does not shield him from accountability to the American people," Wenstrup said in a news release. "It appears that Dr. Daszak may have lied under oath about his relationship with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and his compliance with NIH grant procedures.

"The Select Subcommittee intends to hold Dr. Daszak accountable for any dishonesty and reminds him that this debarment decision does not preclude him from producing all outstanding documents and answering all the questions of this Congressional body."

Newsmax reached out to EcoHealth Alliance for comment.

Michael Katz

Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


US
HHS suspended and began formal proceedings to permanently ban federal funding to EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak, who's at the center of a controversy involving gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
peter daszak, ecohealth alliance, federal funds, wuhan
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2024-37-22
Wednesday, 22 May 2024 06:37 PM
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