Fauci's agency funded China's bat coronavirus research for years: Judicial Watch report

Months before a global pandemic was declared, a U.S. health official acknowledged that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was working on coronavirus research, and found that the virus "can bind to human cells," according to records obtained by Judicial Watch. 
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Anthony Fauci
Anthony Fauci
(AL DRAGO/Getty)

Dr. Anthony Fauci's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) funded "gain of function" research in China for years with the goal of genetically manipulating coronaviruses in bats, according to documents released Tuesday by Judicial Watch.

The conservative watchdog group filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to obtain records about National Institute of Health (NIH) grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where COVID-19 is theorized to have originated. 

NIAID official David Morens emailed Fauci's chief of staff in January 2020, explaining that the U.S. agency had been funding "coronavirus work in China for the past 5 years" through a grant titled "Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence." The email was forwarded to Dr. Fauci and others.

The research, in collaboration with the Wuhan Institute, had "a specific focus to identify cohorts of people highly exposed to bats in China, and work out if they’re getting sick" from coronavirus, according to Morens.

Months before a global pandemic was declared, the NIAID official acknowledged in the email that the Chinese institute was working on coronavirus research and had already found that the virus "can bind to human cells." 

Virologists also discovered another disease, "Swine Acute Diarrheal Syndrome Virus," which killed more than 25,000 pigs in China.

Morens states SARS-CoV likely originated in bats. COVID-19, also known as SARS-CoV-2, is the less deadly but more transmissible form of SARS-CoV, which caused the 2003 SARS outbreak. 

Millions of dollars were allocated by the U.S. government for this coronavirus research in China with EcoHealth Alliance until 2024. This is supported by documents obtained by Judicial Watch.

"These records are proof positive that US tax dollars were dishonestly used by Fauci’s agency to fund 'gain of function' coronavirus research," said Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch president.