The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the Pentagon subagency tasked with countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction including biological weapons, gave $37.5 million to EcoHealth Alliance, a firm that has provided funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), the Chinese virology lab from which COVID-19 has been suspected of leaking.
The DTRA funds to EcoHealth Alliance were documented by Independent Science News in a December 2020 spreadsheet and since reported by the Daily Caller. The spreadsheet documents funds from the DTRA going to EcoHealth Alliance beginning in 2013 and continuing into 2020. The Daily Caller reported five of the DTRA payments to EcoHealth Alliance are still active.
None of the DTRA contracts and grants to EcoHealth Alliance directly involve China, though the firm has received $6.5 million from the DTRA since 2017 to study “bat-borne zoonotic disease emergence in western Asia.”
The Department of Defense did not return a Daily Caller request for comment about the DTRA payments.
EcoHealth Alliance is the same firm that reportedly transferred $600,000 in funds to the Wuhan lab between 2014 and 2019.
EcoHealth Alliance president, Peter Daszak, has also been one of the most outspoken critics of the theory that COVID-19 leaked from the WIV and may have had a key role in shaping early intelligence community assessments on the origins of the virus. Daszak reportedly played a key role in organizing a statement published in the Lancet Medical Journal in February of 2020, before there had been much research into the origins of COVID-19, denouncing “conspiracy theories” that the virus did not originate from nature.
Daszak was also the only American to participate in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) investigation of the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan in January. WHO investigators reportedly didn’t even ask to see deleted WIV land databases containing information on at least 16,000 virus samples it had studied prior to the pandemic because Daszak personally vouched for the lab.
In emails belonging to Dr. Anthony Fauci, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Buzzfeed show Daszak also personally thanked Fauci by email, “For publicly standing up and stating that the scientific evidence supports a natural origin for COVID-19 from a bat-to-human spillover, not a lab release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
In a May report by Republicans in the House Intelligence Committee, lawmakers raised concerns that opinions within the intelligence community that the virus originated from an outbreak at the WIV were suppressed while the intelligence community relied on assessments from outside experts with “concerning yet undisclosed entanglements” and “potential conflicts of interest—such as prior involvement with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”