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Fauci’s NIH gives another $3.5 million to EcoHealth despite dangerous past of coronavirus research

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Just before he retires, Dr. Anthony Fauci has pushed through a new five-year grant for EcoHealth.  EcoHealth Alliance, is the U.S. nonprofit that Fauci and the National Institute of Health’s funds, “to conduct dangerous coronavirus research in partnership with China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology prior to the global Covid-19 pandemic” reports National Review.

Over the next five years, the troublesome EcoHealth will receive over $3.25 million; their first check comes this year for $653,392. The grant is one of four concurrent NIH grants that EcoHealth has; three of the grants were awarded after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The description of the grant on the NIH RePORTER website is to analyze “the potential for future bat coronavirus emergence in Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.”

“This is high-risk research that involves going into remote, often inaccessible areas, and sampling bats and bat excreta, and then returning those samples to laboratories in population centers where they attempt to isolate the virus … and then seek to characterize the threat level posed by the virus,” said Richard Ebright, a biosafety expert and professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University. “This is one of the kinds of research that may have been directly responsible for the current pandemic.”

The term gain-of-function research has become very controversial since the global Covid-19 pandemic, and National Review reports on the subject:

This newest EcoHealth project wouldn’t qualify as gain-of-function research, Ebright said. Gain-of-function research involves extracting viruses from animals and engineering them in a lab to make them more transmissible or dangerous to humans. But Ebright said two of EcoHealth’s grants do involve gain-of-function research and enhanced potential pandemic research on coronaviruses. And even if the current description of the new project doesn’t involve gain-of-function research, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t later.

From securing funding to completing the research, it is a six-year process, Ebright said, and the project is bound to change over those six years. “If researchers robotically followed what they proposed six years ago, they would not be taking into account developments in their own labs and in the field at any point along the way,” he said. “You have to have this flexibility. That also means you need oversight to make sure the flexibility isn’t going into forbidden areas.”

Going into forbidden areas is exactly how EcoHealth and its president, Peter Daszak, previously got into trouble. Starting in 2014, the U.S. government temporarily paused funding for gain-of-function research due to concerns over biosafety and biosecurity. When some of EcoHealth’s research – involving infecting genetically-engineered mice with hybrid viruses – seemed to cross that line, NIAID staff and EcoHealth leaders crafted work-around guidelines to allow the nonprofit to continue its work.

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COVID-19

Huge protests erupt in China in defiance of the Chinese Communist Party’s Covid-19 lockdowns

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Much of the world is getting on with life and attempting to recover any of the horrendous damage caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has just imposed even more Covid-19 lockdowns sparking unrest.

Chinese citizens are banning together to protest yet another round of strict covid protocols and lockdowns suffocating their freedom.

In Shanghai, citizens chanted against President Xi Jinping’s rule, according to CNN. Chants “Xi Jinping, step down” and “Communist party, step down” were chanted. Some protesters held up blank sheets of paper to symbolize resistance against the Chinese government.

One social media user explained the black sheets of paper: “We don’t need to write anything on it. It is a symbol of the revolution of the people.”

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An apartment fire in Urumqi, the capital of the far western region of Xinjiang, killed ten people and injured nine last week. The incident triggered “the most recent wave of unrest” because “it was believed that the mobility restrictions in the area either trapped the residents or slowed the dispatch of emergency services” reports National Review.

Various universities including in Shanghai, Beijing, and Nanjing, saw huge crowds of students who honored the victims and denounced China’s zero-Covid-19 policy and strict control measures.

 

 

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