Biden administration suspends Wuhan Institute of Virology funding over COVID stonewalling
The federal agency also told the Wuhan lab in the memo that it is seeking to permanently cut off funding.
The Department of Health and Human Services informed the Wuhan Institute of Virology that it is suspending federal funding nearly four years since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, after the lab did not provide information about safety and security, according to a memo.
The federal agency also told the Wuhan lab in the memo sent Monday that it is seeking to permanently cut off funding.
Congressional Republicans found in October 2022 that "substantial evidence" indicates the COVID-19 pandemic originated from a Wuhan lab leak. The FBI and Energy Department both said earlier this year that the virus likely originated in a lab leak, but a National Intelligence report last month stated that five intelligence agencies think COVID's origins are natural while the CIA and another unnamed agency are unable to determine where COVID came from.
While the U.S. government is divided about COVID's origins, the Wuhan lab has been plagued with safety concerns.
An HHS spokesperson told Bloomberg that the memo means the institute won't be given any more federal funding. Additionally, the outlet reports that the National Institutes of Health has not given the lab any funding since July 2020.
However, the NIH told the Wuhan lab it would stop directly funding it in August 2022, and the federal health agency renewed a grant to EcoHealth Alliance, the research nonprofit known for funding experiments in the Wuhan Institute, as recently as May 2023.
The HHS inspector general concluded earlier this year that the U.S. government failed to track at least $8 million in grants to EcoHealth Alliance.
The institute has not responded to the U.S. government since it issued its memo, but it can contest the suspension and the proposed HHS debarment.
White Coat Waste Project, a group that fights taxpayer-funded animal experiments, celebrated the memo.
Justin Goodman, the group's senior vice president, told Just the News in a statement: "Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to fund a foreign lab run by an adversarial nation that wasted money, tortured animals, and engineered superviruses that probably caused a pandemic."