The United States gave over $800,000 to the top-level laboratory in China from which some believe the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus escaped, according to newly released documents.
Internal emails from officials with the National Institutes of Health and an office inside the agency, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), show they discussed in 2020 a question from Republican members of Congress regarding how much the agencies sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The total amount sent between Fiscal Years 2014 and 2019 was $826,777, according to the officials.
The funding went to EcoHealth Alliance, which channeled money to the lab for the purpose of “understanding the risk of bat coronavirus emergence.”
The total amount is different from the amount that Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID, told members of Congress the Wuhan lab received from the U.S. government.
“We had a modest collaboration with respectable Chinese scientists who are world experts on coronavirus and we did that through a subgrant from a larger grant to EcoHealth. The subgrant was about $600,000 over a period of five years,” Fauci told members of the House Appropriations Committee during a hearing last month.
NIAID did not respond to a request for information. The agency has not returned repeated requests for comment.
The newly released emails show one chain involving Fauci in April 2020. In it, a top NIAID official, Dr. Emily Erbelding, informed Fauci and others that a new grant to EcoHealth was for $3.6 million. Of that, about $750,000 would go to the Wuhan lab. About $75,000 had already been sent to the lab during year 1 of the grant, she said.
“This is higher but not extraordinarily higher than I originally indicated which was for some earlier work,” Hugh Auchincloss, another agency official, wrote to Fauci, who responded, “Thanks.”
In another message around the same time, Fauci and National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins were informed by health officials that the White House “has strongly embraced concerns” raised by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) regarding the U.S. funding for the bat coronavirus research in China.
“HEADS UP: Wuhan lab research,” Lawrence Tabak wrote, labeling the email as “high” importance.
Fauci and Collins were told that the multi-country study in question, which included sites in China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Burma, was given $3.7 million over six years and that the Wuhan lab received approximately $826,300 and would get about $80,000 more per year for the following four years.
“More by phone,” Tabak said.
The emails were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch.
“These new documents show that funding for the Wuhan Institute was greater than the public has been told,” Tom Fitton, president of the watchdog, said in a statement. “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.”
Previously released emails obtained through a separate request showed Fauci and his team scrambled to respond to people wondering whether the CCP virus, which causes COVID-19, escaped from the Wuhan lab.
Fauci has insisted the grant funding went for appropriate research that could only be done properly in China.
“Clearly the bats that have the coronaviruses are in China. They are not in Fairfax County, Virginia, or in New York. That’s where the bats are,” Fauci told Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing last month.
Some experts say the funding went to “gain of function” research, or efforts of making coronaviruses more transmissible, but Fauci has said the money did not go towards that work.
Kennedy asked how Fauci was sure that Chinese scientists, often working under the control of the Chinese Communist Party, did not shield their true work.
“We have seen the results of the research that were done and that were published. And the studies are public, and on public databases now. None of that was gain of function,” Fauci said.