Gain-of-function research includes purposefully increasing a virus’s capacity to infect people. According to the “lab leak” scenario, COVID-19 was created by WIV researchers inadvertently and spread to other parts of the world, killing over 5 million people.
A senior National Institutes of Health official, Lawrence Tabak, just acknowledged the unpleasant fact and blamed the NIH’s grantee, the EcoHealth Alliance of New York, for neglecting to report it.
Although this specific project doesn’t appear to be connected to COVID, the report raises the possibility that other EcoHealth initiatives also deviated from the norm.
The information was revealed in a letter from Tabak, the NIH’s main deputy director, to Rep. James Comer, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee. In the so-called “limited experiment,” humanized mice were used to assess the effects of exposure to bat coronaviruses; the modified virus did in fact make more of them sick than the original one. However, Tabak noted that “EcoHealth neglected to report this result immediately, as was required by the conditions of the award,” pledging to seek full disclosure from the grantee.
Laughably, Tabak also claims the 2018 experiments didn’t fit the definition of the US ban on funding gain-of-function work on potential pandemic-causers “because these bat coronaviruses had not been shown to infect humans.”
This isn’t the only shady EcoHealth experiment coming to light now, nearly two years after COVID broke out. The Intercept reported starting last month that EcoHealth violated the terms of its grant at least four times by “creating new viruses using different parts of existing bat coronaviruses and inserting them into humanized mice” in the Wuhan lab, which was overseen by the NIH’s Fauci-led National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.