U.S. funded gain-of-function research at Wuhan lab NIH admits; Claims ‘it poses no threat or harm’

Special to CosmicTribune.com, May 18, 2024

A top official at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has admitted under oath that U.S. taxpayer money was used to fund dangerous gain-of-function research at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology in the months and years ahead of the Covid pandemic.

NIH principal deputy director Lawrence Tabak made the admission during a hearing on Thursday of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Lawrence Tabak still insists that Covid originated at a Wuhan ‘wet market.’ / Video Image

Arizona Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko asked Tabak: “Did NIH fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology through [Manhattan-based nonprofit] EcoHealth [Alliance]?”

“It depends on your definition of gain-of-function research,” Tabak answered. “If you’re speaking about the generic term, yes, we did.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has repeatedly insisted in congressional testimony that the federal government did not fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab, is scheduled to appear before the committee on June 3.

Tabak went on to claim that “this is research, the generic term [gain-of-function], is research that goes on in many, many labs around the country. It is not regulated. And the reason it’s not regulated is it poses no threat or harm to anybody.”

Dr. Bryce Nickels, a professor of genetics at Rutgers University and co-founder of the pandemic oversight group Biosafety Now, told the New York Post that Tabak “was engaging in the usual obfuscation and semantic manipulation that is so frustrating and pointless.”

Nickels added that the NIH official was resisting accountability for risky research that can create pathogens of pandemic potential.

“Instead of addressing this directly, Tabak launched into a useless response about how ‘gain-of-function’ encompasses many types of experiments,” Nickels said.

EcoHealth Alliance president Dr. Peter Daszak, in a hearing earlier this month before the committee, testified that his organization “never has and did not do gain-of-function research, by definition.”

But that claim directly contradicted Daszak’s private correspondence, including a 2016 email in which he celebrated the end of an Obama administration pause on gain-of-function research.

The EcoHealth chief was also called out in sworn testimony to the Covid panel by Dr. Ralph Baric, a leading coronavirologist who initiated the research himself and declared it was “absolutely” gain-of-function.

EcoHealth received more than half a million dollars for its work with the Wuhan Institute of Virology as part of a grant of more than $4 million to study the emergence of bat coronaviruses between 2014 and 2024. That grant was revoked in 2020, reinstated in 2023 and finally suspended and proposed for debarment this week.

During Thursday’s hearing, Tabak also repeated the widely debunked claim that Covid originated at a “wild animal market in Wuhan.”

Nickles told The Post: “No credible scientist still believes this. In fact, the wet market theory has even been refuted by the world’s leading coronavirus expert, Ralph Baric, in his testimony from January.”

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