The United States has barred the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) from participating in Government programmes for an unprecedented 10 years – when the maximum debarment is usually three years.
One expert says the accompanying letter is “effectively” a full admission of the COVID-19 lab leak theory and confirmation that “gain of function” research into coronaviruses was being funded by America’s National Institutes of Health (NIH). He says the letter “overturns three years of false statements and perjurious Congressional testimony” by former Chief Medical Advisor Dr Antony Fauci, former NIH head Dr Francis S Collins and current NIH Acting Director, Dr Lawrence A Tabak.
The suspension has been issued because a National Institutes of Health (NIH) investigation determined that WIV “conducted an experiment that violated the terms of the grant regarding viral activity” and that it “possibly” led to “unacceptable outcomes”.
The letter does not specifically mention COVID-19, but the experiment – Grant Number 5R01 AI110964-05 – examined the risk of future coronavirus (CoV) emergence from bats. It was led by British zoologist Peter Daszak and named US firm EcoHealth Alliance Inc as the “awardee organization”.
The letter, from the US Department of Health and Human Services to the Wuhan lab’s Director General, Dr Yanyi Wang, explains: “The NIH determined that WIV may have conducted an experiment yielding a level of viral activity which was greater than permitted under the terms of the grant.”
It states that the ban will run for 10 years – rather than the typical maximum debarment period of three years – due to “the seriousness of the cause(s) and conditions that gave rise to the suspension”.
It also notes that the WIV’s “refusal to acknowledge or provide any information regarding this violation to the Government, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the grant, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the grant, constitutes an aggravating factor”.
And the letter details how the lab director, Dr Yanyi Wang, failed to acknowledge multiple attempts to service the notice of disbarment.
The letter continues: “Considering the length of time that lapsed during the WIV’s performance as grant sub-recipient, the potential health consequences and repercussions stemming from their violations, and their failure to respond to NIH’s investigation and this Notice… represents that there is continued potential harm and health risks caused by WIV’s violations. I consider this an aggravating factor for consideration that supports my decision to debar WIV for a period of ten years.”
“As stated in the July 17, 2023, Notice and ARM [n Action Referral Memorandum], the information in the record established that the NIH requested WIV’s original laboratory notebook entries and original electronic files to support the information that was reported relating to Grant Number 5R01 AI110964-05 to address the NIH’s concern that WIV had yielded a greater than 1 log increase in viral activity in violation of the grant.”
“The NIH requested these materials on at least two documented occasions, November 5, 2021, and January 6, 2022. To date, the NIH has not received the requested materials from WIV through EcoHealth (as the pass-through entity on behalf of WIV).
“In summary, nearly two years have passed since the NIH first requested that WIV provide the requested information and materials, and yet WIV has still failed to do so. During this time, WIV did not provide any responses or offer any explanations indicating the reason for its inability or unwillingness to provide the requested materials to the NIH.”
The letter details how WIV failed to “provide the NIH or EcoHealth with access to its original laboratory notebook entries and original electronic files to support its research”. It says: “To date, WIV has not acknowledged or corrected this violation, nor has WIV provided any information to demonstrate that it would comply with Government award regulations were it to receive any future HHS awards or sub-awards.
“This speaks to WIV’s lack of present responsibility to participate in Government procurement and nonprocurement programs, and constitutes an aggravating factor. Therefore, I have determined that WIV’s noncompliance with Government award regulations, and failure to acknowledge and correct this violation, is an aggravating factor for consideration that additionally supports my decision to debar WIV for a period of ten years.”
R H Ebright, who is on the Board of Governors of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at New Jersey’s State University, Rutgers University, said the HHS letter “confirms that NIH funded gain-of-function research on SARS viruses in Wuhan and spells out, in detail, with references to specific figures in NIH grant progress reports, what the research entailed, how it violated grant terms, and how it violated biosafety protocols.”
Sharing the letter on X, formerly Twitter, he said: “As such, HHS letter overturns three years of false statements and perjurious Congressional testimony on the subject by former NIH officials Fauci and Collins and current NIH Acting Director Tabak.”
When asked if the letter was a full admission that the covid pandemic was the result of lab leak – which was once dismissed as a ‘racist’ conspiracy theory – R H Ebright replied: “Yes. Effectively.”
The Express has approached EcoHealth Alliance Inc and NIH for comment.