Emails show NIH, NIAID were repeatedly concerned about ‘gain-of-function’ experiments at Wuhan lab

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) both repeatedly expressed concerns about “gain-of-function” experiments at the Wuhan lab, according to newly obtained emails.

Judicial Watch has gotten its hands on 1,651 pages of records from the NIH through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. Government emails allegedly show that NIH officials warned that EcoHealth Alliance could be conducting “gain-of-function” research at the Chinese lab. There was also an FBI “inquiry” into the concerns over funding received in connection to the controversial research.

Ashley Sanders, who is a senior investigations officer in the NIH Division of Program Integrity, evidently emailed David A. Miller, who is an FBI agent from the Newark Field Office, on May 22, 2020. Most of that email is redacted and can’t be read but the subject line is telling, “Grant Questions – FBI Inquiry.” There was also a reference to an NIH grant award numbered R01AI110964, “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence.”

The NIAID, which has been led by Dr. Anthony Fauci since 1984, evidently had real concerns over “gain-of-function,” according to the emails.

“The incredible disclosure of an FBI inquiry shows that Fauci and others involved in this scandal were being dishonest in dismissing the seriousness of questions about their cover-up of their funding of dangerous gain-of-function research in China,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said.

“Any FBI inquiry would be appropriate as these documents, extracted by Judicial Watch after years of stonewalling, also show that Fauci’s agency knew and should have known, going back to 2016, that it funded dangerous and prohibited gain-of-function research in China,” he added.

The documents also show that American tax dollars funded Chinese labs. An April 21, 2020 document reports that more than $200,000 went to three Chinese labs, with the Wuhan lab getting $76,301.

Erik Stemmy, a program officer with NIAID, replied to an email concerning EcoHealth’s failure to file a progress report on its bat coronavirus research, stating, “They have proposed work for the next year of the award that may be subject to the gain-of-function funding pause.”

A letter was sent to EcoHealth Alliance Chief of Staff Aleksei Chmura on May 28, 2016, by Stemmy and NIH Chief Grants Management Officer Jenny Greer. It was a warning that the NIH grant for the Wuhan bat coronavirus research could be paused.

“Based upon information in the most recent progress report, NIAID has determined that the above referenced grant may include Gain of Function (GoF) research that is subject to the U.S. Government funding pause,” the letter asserts. It also pointed out that the violation comes from EcoHealth “testing predictions of CoV inter-species transmission.”

Another email on June 15, 2016, that was from Stemmy to NIH officials contends that the grant that was awarded to the president of EcoHealth Alliance Peter Daszack, “may have GoF [gain-of-function] and I’ve been in touch with the GMS [Grants Management Specialist] for a while now.”

In an email that was dated August 3, 2021, Chmura also laid out how EcoHealth research could be construed as “gain-of-function” experiments.

“To analyze which viruses were a potential public health risk, we managed to cultivate three strains of SARSr-CoVs from bat feces… We used the genetic codes of some of the other viruses we found in bats and inserted spike protein genes of those viruses (the proteins that attach to cells) into the cultured viruses. By doing this experiment we showed that other viruses may also be able to infect human cells, and were able to do this safely without the need to culture large amounts of virus…. This work proves that there is a clear and present danger for future emergence of novel SARS-like viruses in people,” Chmura stated.

Gain-of-function research is defined as: “Studies, or research that improves the ability of a pathogen to cause disease, help define the fundamental nature of human-pathogen interactions, thereby enabling assessment of the pandemic potential of emerging infectious agents, informing public health and preparedness efforts, and furthering medical countermeasure development.”

Fauci has been the leading voice repeatedly denying that there were any “gain-of-function” experiments conducted by EcoHealth.

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