The one thing we’ve learned from the pandemic is that we’ve learned nothing from the pandemic.
Peter Daszak, whose EcoHealth Alliance had moved millions in grants from the National Institutes of Health to study bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, thanked Fauci for protecting the lab.
Daszak offered Fauci a “personal thank you on behalf of our staff and collaborators” for backing “a natural origin for COVID-19 from a bat-to-human spillover, not a lab release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” The entire middle part of the email was curiously redacted. It’s unclear if the collaborators would have included the Chinese scientists laboring away in Wuhan.
The EcoHealth Alliance had been working with Wuhan’s top man, Shi Zhengli, and Fauci wasn’t a disinterested party. The Wuhan grant had come through NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases which Fauci has headed since 1984. The lab release theory wasn’t just bad news for the EcoHealth Alliance, whose grant would be suspended by the Trump administration, but for Fauci, who wasn’t just helping the media slam Trump, but was also helping himself.
Good news from the EcoHealth Alliance.
EcoHealth Alliance Receives NIH Renewal Grant for Collaborative Research to Understand the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Spillover Emergence
EcoHealth Alliance recently received a renewal grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The objectives of the project are to (1) characterize and analyze more than 300 new whole genomes and large genome segments of SARSr-CoVs from our archived samples to determine the processes underlying coronavirus recombination and identify viral strains with a high predicted risk of spillover; (2) analyze archived samples from community- and clinic-based syndromic surveillance of people to identify evidence of spillover, assess behavioral risk factors, and pinpoint evidence of illness; and (3) conduct in vitro viral characterization and in silico analysis of epidemiological data to identify hotspots of further CoV spillover risk.
In other words, push the whole ‘bats-to-humans’ in the wild origin narrative that China prefers.
This grant reflects a reversal of the previous termination and suspension of an R01 awarded in 2019, but halted in April 2020 due to concerns about continuing collaborative laboratory research with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Fauci may be gone, but nothing has changed. For a lot of conservatives, Fauci became a demon, much as he became a saint for leftists. But focusing on Fauci was a dead end. He was just a bigger-than-average cog in the machine and that machine is still running just fine. Unless it’s reformed, it’ll be running the same way when he passes on. And if it isn’t reformed, the next virus out of China may be even deadlier and do more damage.