According to an explosive new report released Thursday, staff at the U.S. State Department warned against the investigation of the coronavirus origins fearing it would open a can of worms and expose the use of taxpayer funds for risky research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
The new report in Vanity Fair reveals a turf war between a Trump appointee and some longtime state department longtime staffers, who feared an investigation would create numerous questions about the U.S.’s funding of gain-of-function research. Gain-of-function research is controversial and risky research that examines ways to make viruses more deadly through genetic modifications.
According to the article, after there were significant “conflicts of interest, stemming in part from large government grants supporting controversial virology research, hampered the U.S. investigation into COVID-19’s origin at every step. In one State Department meeting,” the author writes, “officials seeking to demand transparency from the Chinese government say they were explicitly told by colleagues not to explore the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s gain-of-function research, because it would bring unwelcome attention to U.S. government funding of it.”
In recent days, Americans have learned of $3.2 million taxpayer dollars that was given to the WIH through the intermediary non-profit company EcoHeath. $600,000 was specifically assigned to the Wuhan Institute for the study of bat coronaviruses, according to the director of the NIH.