The NGO run by the scientist has been granted another $600,000
It’s hard to overstate the role Daszak has played in pandemic-related issues. His EcoHealth Alliance is the organisation responsible for funnelling hundreds of thousands of dollars, sourced from US government grants to the now infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology, considered by many to be the likely source of the pandemic.
As I previously reported, he was the go-to source for the American media as they sought to “prove” that the lab leak theory was little more than a Right-wing conspiracy. He also surreptitiously organised a letter in The Lancet, attempting to shut down the debate by labelling this potential origin as a “conspiracy theory.”
Most alarmingly, it was Daszak who submitted a 2018 proposal to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency that called for scientists to insert a furin cleavage site — a key distinguishing and extremely rare feature of SARS-Cov-2 — into SARS-like viruses. In other words: a blueprint for making SARS-2 in a lab.
Daszak’s government funding was shut off in 2020, a move that spooked the EcoHealth Alliance chief, who urged staff and partners to refrain from making key genetic data public by uploading it to NIH’s genetic database, GenBank. Daszak told his colleagues that the genetic information could bring “unwelcome attention” (he was right).
Numerous experts, as well as the Editorial Board of the Washington Post, have called on Congress to subpoena Daszak. Instead, the government has supercharged his funding. While recent headlines about a fresh $600,000 grant are accurate, the reality is that Daszak’s organization was awarded about five times that, $3.3 million, by the NIH to hunt viruses in south-east Asia.
This virus hunting is part of the same approach used by WIV’s Dr. Shi, also known as “bat lady,” who travelled around China searching for viruses that could potentially be harmful to humans and even cause a pandemic.
The rationale for the approach is that by finding these viruses, scientists will be able to monitor for outbreaks and be better prepared when they occur. But leading experts call this a fiction.
“In 20 years of using this method, [EcoHealth Alliance] did not predict a single outbreak, epidemic or pandemic,” Columbia University infectious disease expert Maureen Miller told Vanity Fair.
Why is the government funding an organisation that gave money to a lab the same government considers to be the source of the pandemic?
That’s the question we need to be asking. While we might be relieved that this pandemic is in the rearview mirror, the possibility that it was caused by overly zealous researchers still receiving funding to do the same types of work should give us pause.
If this was nuclear weapons research that resulted in the deaths of more than 10 million and the disruption of billions of lives, we’d be out on the streets demanding answers. So why aren’t we now?