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Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Trump administration abruptly cut off funding for a project studying how coronaviruses spread from bats to people after reports linked the work to a lab in Wuhan, China, at the center of conspiracy theories about the Covid-19 pandemic's origins. The National Institutes of Health on Friday told EcoHealth Alliance, the study's sponsor for the past five years, that all future funding was cut.



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"At this time, NIH does not believe that the current project outcomes align with the program goals and agency priorities," Michael Lauer, the agency's deputy director for extramural research, wrote in a letter to EcoHealth Alliance officials.

In a statement, the EcoHealth Alliance said it wanted to know more about the NIH's reasoning. "For the past 20 years our organization has been investigating the sources of emerging diseases such as COVID-19," the group said. "We work in the United States and in over 25 countries with institutions that have been pre-approved by federal funding agencies to do scientific research critical to preventing pandemics. We are planning to talk with NIH to understand the rationale behind their decision."

The EcoHealth Alliance has received more than $3.7 million since 2015 for its research on the risks of coronavirus spread through bats and the potential for spillover into humans. The effort has produced at least 20 scientific papers, including several published in prominent journals such as Nature.

As recently as April 2018, the NIH issued a press release promoting a study linked to the research project, whose authors included a scientist at the Wuhan lab. But the project had turned into a political liability for the NIH by the time Lauer emailed Daszak on April 20 asking for a list of all Chinese participants.

A Newsmax reporter asked President Donald Trump about the research project in an April 17 press briefing, suggesting that all $3.7 million had gone to the Wuhan lab. "We will end that grant very quickly," Trump said. "It was granted quite awhile ago," he added, referencing the Obama administration. "Who was president then, I wonder?"

Just another political kneejerk topsy-turvy response, wholly typical of Trump's ignorance and arrogance.

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-04-28 06:59 PM | Reply

Aaaaahhhhhhh... just found this. I hadn't realized that Predict is the same thing as the EcoHealth Alliance. And check out the date on this story.

A crucial federal program tracking dangerous diseases is shutting down

Oct 29, 2019

Ever since the 2005 H5N1 bird flu scare, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has run a project to track and research these diseases, called Predict. At a cost of $207 million during its existence, the program has collected more than 100,000 samples and found nearly 1,000 novel viruses, including a new Ebola virus.

But on Friday, the New York Times reported that the US government is shutting down the program. According to its former director Dennis Carroll, the program enjoyed enthusiastic support under Bush and Obama, but "things got complicated" in the last few years until the program "essentially collapsed."

Predict's mission, according to USAID, is "detection and discovery of zoonotic" " that is, animal-originating " "diseases at the wildlife-human interface."

By identifying viruses in animal populations, researchers were able to identify livestock and wilderness management practices that might reduce the risk of disease transmission, as well as investigate some mysterious die-offs that could have been precursors of a new illness. The ultimate goal, of course, was to prevent the next pandemic from catching us unawares.

So basically over a span of 15 years our government spent about the same amount of money as it has in 4 years for Trump's golf visits to his own properties, yet Trump decided that October 2019 was a good time to defund the very early warning mechanism that could have been vital less than a month later?

Anybody else beginning to think that Trump had advanced knowledge of the potential that this viral outbreak (if confined to China) might cripple their economy at a time Trump was trying to make a deal with them over trade?

Wow, I've never even considered this until now, but Trump's ignorance is unmeasurable. Could the viral outbreak in China really be a false flag operation designed for them to take blame? I could see him actually believing that the virus would only affect the Chinese, that's how his mind works, and that explains his Chinese citizen ban that didn't include any other nationalities coming into America from China. I shake my head that such a thought is even worthy of consideration, but when you start putting all the pieces together, a weird picture is beginning to emerge. Doubtful that this occurred but until now, I never gave a nanosecond of thought to China accusing the virus on the US.

#2 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-04-28 08:08 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"Even as funding was cut for the group, the NIH still has plans to learn of COVID-19's origins and transmission. How they will be able to pinpoint this origin is unclear, as there is no clear replacement study for the one they have effectively eliminated. NIH refused to comment when Politico probed further."

#3 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2020-04-28 08:56 PM | Reply

In the intro, I was trying to post Sen. Ted Cruz' tweet about this same topic:

When @NIH confirmed to me that U.S. taxpayer $$ went to a Chinese virology lab at the center of the #CoronavirusOutbreak, I called on the administration to halt these transfers. I'm glad they listened and will stop this spending.
No US Senator should be this ill-informed not to understand the goals and purpose of the EcoHealth Alliance/Perfect working with the Wuhan lab to protect the US from viral outbreaks and to learn from the research done there and elsewhere along these same lines.

#4 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-04-29 06:43 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Predict's mission, according to USAID, is "detection and discovery of zoonotic" " that is, animal-originating " "diseases at the wildlife-human interface."

Researchers Crack COVID-19 Genetic Signature Using AI, Identify Origin

The study also supports the scientific hypothesis that COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) has its origin in bats as Sarbecovirus, a subgroup of Betacoronavirus.

#5 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2020-04-29 09:06 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

There is no sense in funding research on animal to human transmission of coronavirus because the virus was developed at the lab in Wuhan. Trump has proof, but we don't get to see the evidence.

#6 | Posted by horstngraben at 2020-04-30 11:07 PM | Reply

There is no sense in funding research on animal to human transmission of coronavirus because the virus was developed at the lab in Wuhan.

No it wasn't Horst.

Chinese lab conducted extensive research on deadly bat viruses, but there is no evidence of accidental release

On Thursday, the U.S. intelligence community released an assessment formally concluding that the virus behind the coronavirus pandemic originated in China. While asserting that the pathogen was not man-made or genetically altered, the statement pointedly declined to rule out the possibility that the virus had escaped from the complex of laboratories in Wuhan that has been at the forefront of global research into bat-borne viruses linked to multiple epidemics over the past decade.

#7 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-04-30 11:22 PM | Reply

What, Tony, Trump's word not good enough for you? Who cares what the experts say? Trump has proof!

#8 | Posted by horstngraben at 2020-05-01 12:11 AM | Reply | Funny: 2

"but I'm not allowed to tell you that."


Who can forbid the President from telling us anything he wants? This is just more horse manure from the Liar in Chief.

#9 | Posted by danni at 2020-05-01 07:58 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

#5 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday

Another link from - Evidence of Stray Dogs as Possible Origin of COVID-19 Pandemic.

That is very interesting...

#10 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2020-05-01 08:30 AM | Reply

Who can forbid the President from telling us anything he wants? This is just more horse manure from the Liar in Chief.


It certainly didn't stop him from giving secret information to the Russians in the Oval Office.

#11 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2020-05-01 12:48 PM | Reply

This seems unwise, which is on-brand for the petulent man-baby President Lysol-the-time.

#12 | Posted by _Gunslinger_ at 2020-05-01 03:48 PM | Reply

"but I'm not allowed to tell you that."

Which, in itself, is a tell.

#13 | Posted by donnerboy at 2020-05-02 06:29 PM | Reply

Comments are closed for this entry.

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