A watchdog organization has filed requests via the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) this week to obtain information about the U.S. government’s funding of China-based gain-of-function studies that many believe have played a role in the origin of COVID-19.
Gain-of-function (GOF) research is experimentation that enhances the severity or transmissibility of a virus or other biological agent. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have said such work “poses biosafety and biosecurity risks [which] must be carefully managed,” though the NIH have justified funding GOF research “to help us understand the fundamental nature of human-pathogen interactions, assess the pandemic potential of emerging infectious agents and inform public health and preparedness efforts.”
Although the magazine Lancet has doubled down on its efforts to defend China and claim that there is no evidence behind the lab-leak theory of the coronavirus origins, three prominent scientists who originally agreed with this assessment were absent from the magazine’s latest statement, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
On July 5th, the magazine published yet another statement, with numerous signatories, claiming that there is no “scientifically validated evidence” to suggest that the coronavirus pandemic originated at the suspicious Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). Although many of the names signed onto the statement were the same as those who made a similar assertion back in February of 2020, at least three names are missing.
One of the names is William Karesh, who serves as the executive vice president for health policy at the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance. As has been widely documented, EcoHealth was a major benefactor of the WIV, providing gain-of-function research funding directly to the institute after the funds had been granted to the nonprofit by the United States government.