June 17, 2024

US cuts funding to Wuhan Institute of Virology amid Covid probe

The US has officially announced that it is ending funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology due to unanswered safety and security questions at the institute that is theorized to be the Covid-19 laboratory leak.

News of the termination comes as the US and China look to improve their bilateral working ties in the wake of economic fallout from the global pandemic that has killed more than seven million people. The US has launched efforts to improve ties by sending some of its officials to Beijing for some time.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified the Chinese facility of the suspension on Monday, Bloomberg reported citing a memo.

According to a review by the HHS, the facility in Wuhan in China, where Covid is said to have first emerged, violated biosafety protocols and is not in compliance with US regulations.

With the funding coming to an abrupt end, the global research institute will no longer receive any financial assistance from the United States, HHS spokeswoman Bloomberg said in an emailed statement.

The virology facility has received more than $1.4m (£1m) in awards and grants, but that ended after July 2020.

The laboratory, located in the city where the Covid pandemic is believed to have started, is under intense scrutiny because of its reported security weaknesses and too much research into bat coronaviruses.

Intelligence officials from the Joe Biden administration have been pressured by lawmakers to release more material about the origins of Covid. But they have repeatedly argued that China’s official ban on independent reviews may have made it impossible to determine how the pandemic started.

Last month, US officials released an intelligence report and rejected several points raised by those who argued that Covid was leaked from a Chinese laboratory, instead reiterating that American spy agencies are still divided as to how the pandemic began.

The report said that the intelligence community has not gone further in determining the origin of Covid.

Four agencies still believe that the virus was transferred from animals to humans and two agencies – the Department of Energy and the FBI – believe that the virus was leaked from a laboratory. No assessment has been made by the CIA or any other agency.

The report was released at the behest of Congress, which passed a bill in March that gave US intelligence 90 days to declassify information related to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Apart from that, reports that some laboratory researchers were ill with respiratory symptoms in the fall of 2019 also remain inconclusive, the report argued, saying that some of their symptoms were not consistent with Covid.

The US intelligence, the report said, “the report continues with an assessment that this information neither supports nor rejects a hypothesis of the origin of the pandemic because some diseases may have caused the symptoms of the researchers and some of the symptoms were not consistent with Covid-19. “.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *