A Wuhan-linked virologist notorious for trying to bully away COVID lab leak claims has backed a woke scientist who moaned that demonizing China is to blame for the World Health Organization’s aborted probe into the virus’s origins.
Dr. Peter Daszak – A US-based, British Zoologist who funded the Wuhan lab in question – retweeted the post from fellow virologist Dr. Angela Rasmussen Tuesday, hours after The World Health Organization (WHO) quietly nixed its probe into what started the pandemic.
Sharing an article reporting the news, Rasmussen – who works at Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization in Canada – penned a caption that seemed to suggest that America’s attitude toward the secretive communist dictatorship was to blame for the aborted probe.
She said: ‘By demonizing and alienating colleagues in China instead of building collaborative trust, this is what the relentlessly toxic lab leak conspiracy machine has yielded: The complete and total disintegration of any meaningful further investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2.’
Taking note of this, Daszak – a friend of Dr Anthony Fauci who’s received funding from Fauci’s National Institutes of Health – retweeted the post, after months of claims that COVID-19 was leaked from a lab funded by his charity as a conspiracy theory.
He sought to corral top scientists into backing claims the virus likely originated in a ‘wet market’ – despite his own close ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The lab leak theory has gained increasing credibility since the early days of the pandemic, but there’s still no smoking gun to prove how the virus first infected humans.
House Republicans for years have been demanding the virologist and Fauci produce documents and testimony that prove the lab played no part in the virus’ origins. The WHO probe, officials said, was nixed due to researcher’s diminished access to the Eastern nation.
Dr. Peter Daszak – seen here with friend Dr. Anthony Fauci – retweeted the post from fellow virologist Dr. Angela Rasmussen Tuesday, hours after The World Health Organization (WHO) quietly nixed its probe into what started the pandemic
Sharing an article reporting the news, Rasmussen – a government scientist in Canada – penned a caption that suggested America’s attitude toward Beijing was to blame for the aborted probe
While other researchers expressed disappointment over news of the abandoned investigation, Daszak, who is from England and now lives in upstate New York, reshared the announcement in apparent agreement.
Commenting on the pulled probe himself, the scientist called the government agency’s decision ‘disappointing,’ while blaming both Beijing and WHO officials’ for not cooperating better and allowing the investigation to fall apart.
‘Disappointing news from @WHO,’ Daszak wrote, shortly before the news was first reported by the science journal Nature.
‘The origins investigation was poorly handled by the global community. It was poorly handled by China. It was poorly handled by the WHO.’
Then, echoing Rasmussen’s sentiments, the self-professed disease expert wrote: ‘The WHO should have been relentless in creating a positive working relationship with the Chinese authorities.’
Peter Daszak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the lab some say served as the origin of the pandemic
The scientists’ response to the WHO’s decision – particularly Daszak’s – is not surprising, given the scientists previous statements on social media and close ties to the suspected origin site.
The scientist was engulfed in scandal after it was revealed in a Vanity Fair expose that his charity, EcoHealth Alliance, provided funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Gain-of-function research.
The lab soon found itself under scrutiny by the US government, with many airing belief the scientists there created and negligently released samples SARS-CoV-2, leading to an outbreak of catastrophic proportions.
Referred to as ‘gain-of-function’ research, the controversial experiments conducted at Daszak’s involved manipulating viruses to make them more severe or transmissible – with the hope of getting ahead of future mutations and outbreaks.
Lab leak backers say it’s simply too much of a coincidence that COVID first emerged in one of only four laboratories in the world which perform experiments on bat coronaviruses, the likely source of COVID-19. Most backers of that theory believe COVID leaked accidentally, due to poor safety procedures, rather than being released deliberately as a bio-weapon.
Dr. Peter Daszuk’s EcoHealth Alliance has received federal funding since 2002
Daszak vehemently denies COVID leaked from a lab. Fauci has sought to discourage that theory, but admits there’s insufficient proof to discount it altogether.
Less than a year earlier, in May 2021, it emerged that, under Fauci’s watch, the Government allocated $600,000 in taxpayer money to that lab and sponsored bat coronavirus research years before the pandemic happened.
Then, this past September, Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance was awarded a $653,392 grant from the National Institutes of Health – then headed by Fauci – to study Covid-like viruses in bats across Asia and Africa.
Daszak gleefully shared snaps of himself in bat-filled caves, angering lawmakers who deemed his antics distasteful in the wake of a pandemic that killed more than a million Americans.
These funds were awarded to the charity despite its close ties to Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Fauci – who after 54 years heading the NIH stepped down in December – has faced rampant criticism over his handling of the pandemic, with House Republicans and stars like Elon Musk leading the charge.
Initially a revered figure during his early lockdowns and mask mandate measures, Fauci has come under particular scrutiny for previously supporting the controversial research, while simultaneously denying his team secretly funded them during the pandemic.
Dr. Peter Daszak appears on an episode of sixty minutes at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2020
Many, including Musk, have since expressed belief Fauci lied to Congress and secretly funded ‘gain-of-function’ research, potentially killing ‘millions of people.’
‘Not awesome. imo,’ the South African mogul wrote on December 11, sharing meme that depicted a scene from the Lord of the Rings edited to show Fauci telling Biden ‘just one more lockdown, my king’. The tweet received over half a million likes.
In an interview with Nature, Fauci said comments like Musk’s ‘stirs a lot of hate in people’ and were the reason he has ‘armed federal agents with me all the time’.
Musk initially targeted Fauci in a tweet on December 11, writing , ‘My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci.’
He appeared to be mocking the left-wing embracement of gender identity while alluding to Fauci’s involvement in controversial Chinese research at the center of questions about Covid’s origin.
Speaking to Nature late last year in one of his last interviews before retiring, Fauci attempted to put to bed speculation over Covid’s origin and virus-tinkering experiments at the Wuhan lab– amid allegations he lied to Congress and secretly funded gain-of-function research.
‘The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute,’ he said, despite conceding it had indirectly funded the Wuhan virus lab.
In May 2021, during the height of the pandemic, Fauci appeared before a Congressional budget committee to defend the NIH’s allocating of $600,000 to EcoHealth Alliance, which then paid the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study the risk that bat coronaviruses could infect humans.
He said: ‘I would have been almost a dereliction of our duty if we didn’t study this, and the only way you can study these things is you’ve got to go where the action is.
‘You don’t want to study bats in Fairfax County, Virginia, to find out what the animal-human interface is that might lead to a jumping of species.
‘So we had a modest collaboration with very respectable Chinese scientists who were world experts on coronavirus, and we did that through a sub-grant from a larger grant to EcoHealth.’
He added: ‘The larger grant was about $600,000 over a period of five years. So it was a modest amount. The purpose of it was to study the animal-human interface, to do surveillance and to determine if these bat viruses were even capable of [infecting humans].’
Exactly what constitutes gain-of-function has been debated – a possible point of contention when it comes debunking Fauci and Daszak’s assertions.
Daszak has since vehemently denied that Covid-19 was leaked in a lab, despite the claims
On Monday, a day before the WHO would announce it is nixing its second phase of the probe into the Wuhan lab leak allegations, Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, and Rep. James Comer, chairman of the Oversight Committee, besieged both Biden officials and Daszak to turn over research arrived at at the lab.
‘This investigation must begin with where and how this virus came about so that we can attempt to predict, prepare or prevent it from happening again,’ Wenstrup said in a statement.
‘Government scientists and government funded researchers have so far been less than forthcoming in their knowledge and actions, including work with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and potential pandemic pathogens,’ Wenstrup added.
The committee is seeking testimony from Fauci and 40 other officials, phone records, calendars and other communications between the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases involving the Wuhan lab or EcoHealth Alliance.
Late last year, Daszak, while battling back claims his lab played a part in the start of the pandemic, proudly filmed himself inside a bat-filled cave handling the creatures for his research in Thailand, calling the cave as the ‘reactor core’ of viral activity
Fauci led the NIAID for nearly 40 years before stepping down last year. he has expressed an openness to testifying before a GOP-led panel before. The testimony would be a transcribed interview rather than on-air.
With the closing of the WHO’s probe, though, it appears unlikely that Fauci, much less Daszak, will be forced to further address the allegations.
EcoHealth Alliance has received federal funding since 2002, including a grant provided by Anthony Fauci by way of the NIH for gain-of-function viral research that it carried out with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Dr. Andrew Huff, the former vice president of EcoHealth Alliance, has said he believes it was that research which lead to the strain that sparked the pandemic.
Late last year, Daszak, while battling back claims his lab played a part in the start of the pandemic, proudly filmed himself inside a bat-filled cave handling the creatures for his research in Thailand, calling the cave as the ‘reactor core’ of viral activity.
On Monday Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, and Rep. James Comer, chairman of the Oversight Committee, demanded documents and testimony from Biden officials, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the president of EcoHealth Alliance
He shared multiple other snaps of the winged creatures – believed to harbor the pathogen that sparked the pandemic – and even uploaded a video of one being fed by hand.
Daszak was there as part of a legitimate research trip, with scientists having long-researched bat-related coronaviruses.
Neither Daszak nor the Wuhan Institute of Virology have been formally charged with any allegations relating to the coronavirus’ spread. It is not clear if the WHO’s investigation will be reinstated if and when relations between the US and China ever improve.
Who IS Peter Daszak? The frog-focused zoologist and friend of Dr Anthony Fauci
One of the most stringent deniers of the man-made hypothesis is British zoologist Dr Peter Daszak (pictured), who is known among friends as a ‘funny northerner’ but considered a potential orchestrator of the pandemic by advocates of the lab-leak theory
The debate around the origins of Covid has been ongoing since the virus first began causing chaos in early 2020.
Some top virologists believe the coronavirus spread to humans from an infected animal, potentially in a wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Others think it leaked from a secretive laboratory in the same city. Whether or not it was deliberate or accidental is an even more contentious part of the ‘lab leak’ theory.
One of the most stringent deniers of the man-made hypothesis is British zoologist Dr Peter Daszak, who is known among friends as a ‘funny northerner’ but considered a potential orchestrator of the pandemic by advocates of the lab-leak theory.
He became renowned for his role in facilitating ‘risky’ coronavirus research in China through EcoHealth Alliance, the non-profit he is president of.
The New York-based organization has secured $60million of US Government funds for scientific research over the past decade.
Some of this cash, it has emerged, has since ended up in the pocket of researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), the lab at the center of lab leak claims. Some of this research involved manipulating Covid-like viruses.
Now, it has been revealed that EcoHealth Alliance has gained another $650,000 (£580,000) from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to trawl through caves in Southeast Asia looking for bats carrying coronaviruses, despite fears similar work sparked the pandemic.
The new contract gives the green light to project leader Dr Daszak and his team to analyze the behavior and environmental risk factors for coronaviruses to spillover into humans from animals.
It warns that that part of the world has a ‘high diversity of wildlife coronaviruses’ and a large proportion of the population is regularly exposed to wildlife that could be infected.
Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam are particularly high risk, according to the project details published by the US National Institutes of Health.
Over the course of five years, the team will identify cases where people become infected with coronaviruses, assess the risk and drivers of community transmission and spread and test public health interventions to contain an outbreak.
Scientists argue such research is vital to contain diseases like Covid. But others have raised alarm over its potential involvement in outbreaks.
The latest contract puts the spotlight back on Dr Daszak, who hails from the mining town Dukinfield, on the outskirts of Manchester.
The researcher, who grew up with a younger brother, Ukrainian father and Welsh mother, studied zoology at the University of Bangor in Wales and the University of East London.
The expert in zoonosis — the spread of viruses from animals to humans — has authored more than 300 scientific papers over his career, which has spanned more than three decades, and seen him become friendly with Dr Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the US President.
Dr Daszak, who lives in New York with his wife Janet, joined EcoHealth — formerly The Wildlife Trust — in 2001. His early career focused on diseases spread by frogs.
But he has also worked with researchers in China for 15 years, including Dr Shi Zhengli, a virologist at the WIV nicknamed ‘Bat Woman’.
EcoHealth, which originally focused on conservation, now works around the world to find out the origins of viruses, map where they have spread and analyze them to find out where the next outbreak could occur.
Records show Dr Daszak raked in millions of dollars’ worth of grants from US Government bodies on behalf of EcoHealth alliance and was paid $354,000 (£314,000) in 2019.
This funding was often dished out to other laboratories, including the WIV, to conduct research in mines to examine bat coronaviruses.
The partnership saw researchers sample thousands of bats and determine that Sars originated in horseshoe bats, which are common in southern and central China and traded in wet markets.
And two years before Covid emerged, Dr Daszak proposed working with WIV scientists to alter coronaviruses and release them into bats as part of a plan to inoculate them against the virus.
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