Conspiracy Theory

Coronavirus Researchers Defunded Over Conspiracy Theory

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Chinese government and the World Health Organization (WHO) both say the novel coronavirus was most likely transmitted from bats to humans, but Trump and the cadre of conspiracy theorists behind him say the virus was leaked, perhaps even deliberately, from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

Rather than just accept anyone's word for it, it would be best to conduct a scientific study, right?

An organization studying exactly that has just seen their research defunded by the Trump regime based on a separate but closely related conspiracy theory: the idea that the American researchers themselves may have diverted funds to the lab in China that supposedly created or leaked the virus on purpose.

The National Institutes of Health on Friday told EcoHealth Alliance, the study’s sponsor for the past five years, that all future funding was cut. The agency also demanded that the New York-based research nonprofit stop spending the $369,819 remaining from its 2020 grant, according to emails obtained by POLITICO. [...]

The group caught national attention a week ago after reports swirled that millions from its NIH grants had been sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a research facility in the city where the coronavirus pandemic originated. In an email last week to NIH officials, EcoHealth Alliance President Pete Daszak denied giving any money this year to the Wuhan lab, although researchers from the facility have collaborated with EcoHealth Alliance scientists on research supported by an earlier grant. [...]

A Newsmax reporter asked President Donald Trump about the research project in an April 17 press briefing, suggesting that all $3.7 million had gone to the Wuhan lab.

"We will end that grant very quickly,” Trump said. “It was granted quite awhile ago,” he added, referencing the Obama administration. “Who was president then, I wonder?"

I have no idea what Trump really believes about the origins of the virus. You know, to the extent that Trump really believes in anything at all. But it's clear that he views this as useful political fodder.

It would be best if he could blame this whole thing on China, right? We wouldn't want to continue funding a study that could actually prove otherwise, would we?

Maybe I'm answering one conspiracy theory with another, but none of this is above Trump's character. This is his character. Trump's Razor tell us the worst or dumbest explanation is usually the correct one.

I sincerely hope EcoHealth has the means to take this to court. The group has categorically denied that their funding has ever been used for anything except their own research.

  • Draxiar

    Sure…China engineered a virus to unleash upon the world in order to…destroy their own fragile economy?

    *facepalm*

    • Tony Lavely

      Makes sense to me, said every republican, ever

  • muselet

    Suddenly ending a grant early is an unusual move for the NIH, which typically takes such steps only when there is evidence of scientific misconduct or financial improprieties — neither of which it has alleged took place in this case.

    For “unusual,” read “almost unprecedented.”

    In a statement, the EcoHealth Alliance said it wanted to know more about the NIH’s reasoning. “For the past 20 years our organization has been investigating the sources of emerging diseases such as COVID-19,” the group said. “We work in the United States and in over 25 countries with institutions that have been pre-approved by federal funding agencies to do scientific research critical to preventing pandemics. We are planning to talk with NIH to understand the rationale behind their decision.”

    I should bloody hope so. This reeks of political interference in what should be a non-political process.

    And I agree wholeheartedly about EcoHealth Alliance suing the NIH.

    I know I don’t need to say this, but for the record, Sars-CoV-2 is emphatically not an engineered virus, despite the claims of conspiracy theorists like that nameless Newsmax reporter and other boneheads in Righty media.

    –alopecia