Right off the bat:
AFTER THAT, HE GOT 77 NOBEL PRIZES AND 31 MEDICAL ASSOCIATIONS TO BACK HIS AND FAUCI’S GAIN-OF-FUNCTION RESEARCH
Peter Daszak – who donated to Hillary Clinton 13 times in 2016 – serves as the president of EcoHealth Alliance, a research organization that has partnered with the Wuhan Institue of Virology (WIV) – the very same lab many count as the source of COVID-19.
The type of research conducted by the group in tandem with the WIV prompted concern among National Institutes of Health officials for its role in COVID-related research, as outlined in a letter by NIH’s Deputy Director for Extramural Research Dr. Michael Lauer.
Dr. Lauer announced the suspension of NIH grants to the group, which saw its studies engineer the “highly specific doorway into the human body” as COVID-19, as a response:
“It is our understanding that one of the sub-recipients of the grant funds is the Wuhan Institute of Virology (‘WIV’). It is our understanding that WIV studies the interaction between corona viruses and bats. The scientific community believes that the coronavirus causing COVID-19 jumped from bats to humans likely in Wuhan where the COVID-19 pandemic began. There are now allegations that the current crisis was precipitated by the release from WIV of the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. Given these concerns, we are pursuing suspension of WIV from participation in Federal programs.”
Chinese State Media.
While speaking at a conference sponsored by state-run media outlet China Global Television Network (CGTN), Daszak also revealed that he was a recipient of Chinese Communist Party cash.
He revealed he “has been working in China in collaboration with Chinese scientists and the government of China for over 15 years supported by federal funding from the U.S. and federal funding from China.”
Daszak has praised and attended the Beijing-based World Conference on Science Literacy, which is sponsored by the scientific group China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) that “serves as a bridge that links the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government to the country’s science and technology community.”
He has also appeared on panels at a CGTN-sponsored conference in cooperation with the Chinese Society for Science and Technology Journalism, a subsidiary of CAST.
The zoologist obtained his Ph.D. in parasitic infectious diseases from the University of East London – a college ranked 116th of 130 in the country.
He has repeatedly appeared on CGTN, including praising the network as “fantastic” and “great” and defending scientific collaboration with the Chinese Communist Party as “important”
EcoHealth Alliance, Daszak’s nonprofit group, routed $600,000 in taxpayer funds to the WIV in form of subgrants as part of a project to study bat-based coronaviruses in China, funding that was terminated by the National Institutes of Health in May 2020.
From the onset of the pandemic, Daszak has denied he has a conflict of interest with the WIV, a claim that Rutgers University professor of chemical biology Richard H. Ebright said in April was a “brazen lie.
The WHO has defended its decision to appoint Daszak to the investigation of its COVID-9 origins despite accusations that his involvement mires the probe with major conflict of interests.
The WHO investigative panel shelved plans last week to release an interim report detailing how it concluded that it was “extremely unlikely” that COVID-19 could have accidentally leaked from the WIV. ”
Despite working at the onset of the pandemic to suppress debate on the lab leak theory, Daszak said former White House strategist Steve Bannon and the Chinese Falun Gong religious sect, which financially backs the Epoch Times newspaper and faces persecution from the Chinese Communist Party, are the ones responsible for China’s decision to block an outside investigation of the pandemic’s origins for over a year after the initial outbreak.
“I’ve seen incredible efforts from everything from Falun Gong to … Steve Bannon’s group pushing the conspiracy theories around China,” Daszak said during Wednesday’s panel discussion. “It’s useful to them. They’re funding it and pushing it and science has been to some extent caught up in that to other instances absolutely crushed by it.”
“We’ve not had access to work in China on the origins for the last 12 months, which is ironic because we could have been on the ground there working with our Chinese colleagues and by now we could have found some really important answers,” he said. “The rhetoric has held that up.”
Nobel laureates and science groups demand NIH review decision to kill coronavirus grant
By Science News Staff May. 21, 2020 , 6:40 PM
Science’s COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center.
Seventy-seven U.S. scientists who have won a Nobel Prize today asked Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, and Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services, to “act urgently” to review a controversial NIH decision to terminate a grant that supported research into bat coronaviruses in China. NIH’s explanation for killing the grant was “preposterous,” the laureates write.
Thirty-one scientific societies have also written to Collins, calling on NIH “to be transparent about their decision-making process on this matter. … The action taken by the NIH must be immediately reconsidered.”
On 24 April, NIH informed the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance, led by wildlife disease specialist Peter Daszak, that it was ending a grant, first awarded in 2014 and renewed in 2019 because it no longer aligned with the agency’s priorities. The move came after Conservative U.S. politicians and media suggested—without evidence—that the coronavirus causing the pandemic escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, that employs a Chinese virologist who had received funding from the grant. The termination also came 1 week after President Donald Trump, when asked about the project at a press conference, said: “We will end that grant very quickly.”
In their letter, the Nobel laureates say they “are gravely concerned” about that decision. “We believe that this action sets a dangerous precedent by interfering in the conduct of science and jeopardizes public trust in the process of awarding federal funds for research. … Now is precisely the time when we need to support this kind of research if we aim to control the pandemic and prevent subsequent ones.”
They write that “despite the high relevance of the studies to the current pandemic, and despite the very high priority score that his application for renewal had received during peer review, the NIH informed Dr. Daszak and his colleagues that the grant was being terminated because ‘NIH does not believe that the current project outcomes align with the program goals and agency priorities.’ Such explanations are preposterous under the circumstances.”
Azar and Collins should, they write, “act urgently to conduct and release a thorough review of the actions that led to the decision to terminate the grant, and that, following this review … take appropriate steps to rectify the injustices that may have been committed in revoking it.”
The signers of the letter include researchers who won a Nobel Prize as recently as 2019, and as long ago as 1975.
The letter from the scientific societies was organized by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). “Our aim with this effort is to stand up for a scientific enterprise that should be free of political influence on sound scientific research,” said Benjamin Corb, public affairs director for ASBMB, in a statement. “The continued politicization of science during this pandemic crisis is an alarming trend that is risking not only the integrity of science, but also the lives of citizens.
The Honorable Francis S. Collins
National Institutes of Health
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20892
May 20, 2020
Director Francis Collins:
We, the undersigned scientific organizations representing tens of thousands of members of the American biomedical research enterprise, are alarmed by the National Institutes of Health’s revocation of a peer-reviewed research grant for studies of coronaviruses by EcoHealth Alliance. Not only is this decision counterintuitive, given the urgent need to better understand the virus that causes COVID-19 and identify drugs that will save lives, but it politicizes science at a time when, if we are to stamp out this scourge, we need the public to trust
experts and to take collective action.
The foundation of the American biomedical research enterprise rests on two principles: international collaboration and a robust peer-review process. Both must be vigilantly upheld. The abrupt revocation of the NIH grant for the EcoHealth Alliance concerns us for two primary reasons:
First, the decision seems to be a reaction to a theory about the origins of the COVID-19 virus that the intelligence community itself has publicly repudiated. EcoHealth Alliance at one point collaborated with a lab in Wuhan, China, which has recently been at the center of rumors about the origin of the pandemic. The overall goal of EcoHealth Alliance’s research project is to study coronavirus transmission from species to species. But the purpose of the research project has been conflated with these rumors. This is worrisome. International collaboration has propelled the American research enterprise to achieve vital innovations and discoveries; it is the gold standard for the scientific community. The United States is a beacon for the best and brightest minds, consistently attracting top scientists from around the world. However, with this incident, international
collaboration is being portrayed as a threat. The scientific enterprise requires diversity, and American scientists depend on their international colleagues to pool resources, expertise, and ultimately make scientific breakthroughs.
Second, the decision sets a dangerous precedent by revoking a grant that was awarded based upon scientific merit without a justifiable rationale such as issues related to scientific or financial fraud or misconduct. This grant is highly and uniquely relevant to all NIAID priorities to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. Most extramural research funds are awarded through a robust peer-review process. Scientists, not politicians, determine the merit of grant applications, and grant recipients are expected to be careful stewards of taxpayer
dollars. Throughout the lifetime of a grant, each recipient communicates regularly with scientific review officers at the funding agency and produces progress reports providing evidence that the work remains valuable and on
track. This has been the norm and until April 24, 2020 was applied to the now terminated grant. That has now been breached and this action must not become the norm going forward.
The scientific community urges federal funding agencies and policymakers to ensure the transparency, openness, and collaborative nature of the American biomedical research enterprise. We call on the NIH to be transparent about their decision-making process on this matter. We urge federal funding agencies to safeguard the American biomedical research enterprise. The action taken by the NIH must be immediately reconsidered.
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
The Academy for Radiology and Biomedical Imaging Research
The American Association for Anatomy
The American Institute of Biological Sciences
The American Physiological Society
The American Psychological Association
The American Society for Investigative Pathology
The American Society for Virology
The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
The Association of Anatomy, Cell Biology and Neurobiology Chairs
The Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities
The Association of Medical and Graduate Departments of Biochemistry
The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health
The Biophysical Society
The Botanical Society of America
The Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences
The Endocrine Society
The Entomological Society of America
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
The Genetics Society of America
The HIV Medicine Association
The Infectious Diseases Society of America
The Natural Science Collections Alliance
The North American Vascular Biology Organization
The Shock Society
The Society for Freshwater Science
The Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
The Society for the Study of Reproduction
The Society of Toxicology
To be continued?
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