Wuhan Lab Kept NIH Funding Despite Trump Crackdown


Federal records show the U.S. government is partnering with the Wuhan Institute of Virology even though the Trump administration pledged to ban funding for the Chinese laboratory located at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

President Donald Trump promised that he would “end” public funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology during an April 17 press conference. Despite his promise, the National Institutes of Health has left untouched a 2019 neuroscience research grant that disbursed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Chinese laboratory, according to a federal expenditure database. The NIH earmarked most of the $4.3 million grant to U.C. Irvine, which the California public university used to funnel $216,108 in taxpayer money to a Wuhan Institute of Virology researcher as a “sub-grant.”

The Trump administration previously cracked down on a different U.S.-based group that occupied a similar intermediary role between the NIH and the Chinese lab. The Trump-era NIH temporarily stopped funding a bat coronavirus research project managed by New York-based environmental nonprofit EcoHealth because nearly $600,000 of the $3.7 million grant went toward the Chinese institute. The NIH later reinstated some of the funding after intense blowback from academics but imposed hefty conditions on its usage that EcoHealth said would “effectively block” it from finishing the bat coronavirus research project.

U.C. Irvine also funneled some of its NIH grant money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but the California university appears to have been spared the funding restrictions imposed on EcoHealth: The database shows that the U.C. Irvine project remains fully funded to this day. The taxpayer-funded grant supported the publication of two academic articles, including one that was published months after Trump pledged to suspend government funding for the Chinese lab. – READ MORE

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