The watchdog group Empower Oversight has filed Freedom of Information Act requests for information after learning of the failure by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) to hold a key grant recipient to its contractual obligations.
The grant required the controversial nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance to submit annual progress reports.
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EcoHealth Alliance was awarded taxpayer money through the federal health agencies and worked closely with Communist Chinese scientists, including those at the Wuhan, China lab implicated in the release of Covid-19.
The taxpayer money was to carry out research on bat coronaviruses.
The specific grant being called into question is entitled, "Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence," (Grant #R01A/110964) which included research was conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
The Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG) issued a report entitled The National Institutes of Health and EcoHealth Alliance Did Not Effectively Monitor Awards and Subawards, Resulting in Missed Opportunities to Oversee Research and Other Deficiencies.
Below is Empower Oversight's summary.
The HHS-OIG report found that NIH/NIAID did not follow up in a timely manner when EcoHealth Alliance failed to submit an annual progress report related to Grant R01A/110964.
The annual progress report was due in September 2019, but it was not submitted until after NIH/NIAID expressly requested it almost two years later.
As a consequence of the combined failures of NIH, NIAID, and EcoHealth Alliance, notification to government authorities that a virus involved in the research had experienced “enhanced growth” was delayed until well into the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Such enhanced growth was a trigger for a special grant provision that required EcoHealth Alliance to immediately notify its NIAID liaison, and was grounds for a secondary review to determine whether the grant’s research aims should be re-evaluated and/or new biosafety measures should be implemented.
As grave as this conclusion sounds—considering the timing and location of the enhanced growth: 2019 and WIV—NIH nevertheless insisted to HHS-OIG that it did not believe that either experiment associated with the enhanced growth is associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yet, HHS-OIG pointed out that “scientific documentation” that NIH explicitly sought from EcoHealth Alliance—and more particularly its subrecipient, WIV—in order to gain insights into the nature of the experiments that WIV performed during the time in question were not made available to NIH.
To gain further insight into the cumulative failures of NIH, NIAID, and EcoHealth Alliance, Empower Oversight filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with HHS-OIG and the NIH.
Empower Oversight is requesting comprehensive communications regarding the grant, along with communications between Dr. Anthony Fauci and Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance in the middle of 2019, when the enhanced growth notification should have been made.
Our federal government should not be keeping Americans in the dark on key questions related to Covid-19. More serious investigations into the matter are needed to shed light on the NIH and NIAID’s failures and learn to what extent these failures impaired earlier warning and understanding of the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.Jason Foster, Founder and President of Empower Oversight
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