EcoHealth Alliance collaborated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology for years, collecting coronavirus samples from bats and manipulating it to jump to humans
The dangerous gain-of-function research was carried out via a grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The grant was cut off in April 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic gained steam, and U.S. intelligence agencies started to look into whether the coronavirus that started it all escaped from a biological laboratory in Wuhan, China
In August 2020, however, the NIH pivoted, granting a new $7.5-million grant to EcoHealth Alliance — part of an $82-million award being split among 11 research teams looking into the origins of viruses and how they infect people
The controversial move means that EcoHealth Alliance’s work will continue, this time targeting Southeast Asia instead of China
Further, Jonathan Latham, Ph.D., a molecular biologist and virologist and Allison Wilson, Ph.D., a geneticist, believe gain-of-function research performed at the Wuhan Institute of Virology played “an essential causative role in the pandemic.”8 Peter Daszak, EcoHealth Alliance president, however, said that the funding cut to their China bat research project would pose a threat to the U.S. public health.