Patterico's Pontifications


Closing the Barn Door Long After the Horses Have Escaped

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:45 am

[guest post by JVW]

Par for the course in Clown World:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has suspended the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s eligibility to receive federal funding for ten years after the lab failed to turn in requested documents about safety and security measures.

HHS issued a memo on Monday notifying the lab of its decision and warning that it is also seeking to permanently blacklist the lab from receiving future taxpayer funds. The lab hasn’t received funds from the National Institutes of Health since July 2020.

The move comes after the agency found in a review that began last September that the facility was not compliant with federal regulations.

Recall that this is not the first time that the Wuhan Lab was accused of mishandling sensitive materials, but friendly American scientists and bureaucrats were always there to bail them out:

The Wuhan Institute received a sub-award of a 2014 NIH grant that was issued to EcoHealth Alliance, a U.S.-based organization focused on preventing infectious diseases. The grant was for “understanding the risk of bat coronavirus emergence.” EcoHealth Alliance also sent U.S. Agency for International Development funds to the lab.

[. . .]

The U.S government temporarily paused funding for gain-of-function research in 2014 due to concerns over biosafety and biosecurity. However, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases staff and EcoHealth leaders found loopholes to allow the nonprofit to continue its work infecting genetically-engineered mice with hybrid viruses until the pause was lifted in 2017.

Because if there’s one thing at which federal bureaucrats excel, it’s in finding loopholes. And we all know who was directing the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases during this time, don’t we? The article further discusses the controversy over “gain of function” research being conducted at the Wuhan Labs, and Dr. Fauci’s role in downplaying it through misrepresentations and omissions, a campaign which was greatly helped along by supportive media and scientific allies.

The weird and ultimately counterproductive campaign to make Anthony Fauci into the secular saint of disinterested scientists whose motivations were then and are today pure and unquestionable was one of the worst aspects of the pandemic, and it has done incalculable harm to scientific credibility, especially in that intersection of science and government bureaucracy, should we ever find ourselves facing a similar disaster. Given what we now know about the general malevolence of China and the venality of some scientists whose livelihoods are dependent upon the uninterrupted flow of casually-regulated research money, the U.S. needs to take a long hard work at future collaborations with Chinese parties and should probably determine that they are not worth the various compromises that need to be made.


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