EXCLUSIVE: Top Republicans are hammering Dr. Anthony Fauci over a new grant issued by the National Institutes of Health to EcoHealth Alliance to study bat coronaviruses, after a previous grant to the company drew scrutiny over its links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The $653,392 grant to EcoHealth was made through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is run by Fauci. It covers a period until Aug. 31, 2027, for a project titled “Analyzing the potential for future bat coronavirus emergence in Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.”

Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., House Oversight Committee ranking member James Comer, R-Ky., and Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on Thursday sent a letter to Fauci that objected to using taxpayer funds to issue a new grant to EcoHealth.

NIH GIVES NEW GRANT TO ECOHEALTH ALLIANCE TO RESEARCH BAT CORONAVIRUSES, DESPITE CONCERNS OVER WUHAN LAB LINK

House Republicans sent a letter to Dr. Anthony Fauci objecting to a grant issued to EcoHealth to study bat coronaviruses.
(Getty Images)

“You awarded this new grant to EcoHealth despite NIAID’s parent agency, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), finding that EcoHealth had failed to comply with the terms of previous coronavirus grants and even canceling a subaward to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) for potentially dangerous research that may have contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the lawmakers told Fauci, who intends to retire at the end of the year.

“We have grave concerns that one of your last acts at NIAID is to send even more taxpayer dollars to an organization whose prior involvement in the very same subject may have contributed to a global pandemic. We write seeking information about your decision, including whether anyone at NIH has a financial or other non-official interest in EcoHealth continuing to receive taxpayer funds,” the letter said.

Lawmakers called the decision to issue the grant “especially galling” because EcoHealth has not yet provided information demanded by NIH about research in Wuhan.

A previous $4.7 million grant to EcoHealth Alliance from USAID drew criticism from Republicans who claimed the money was used in part to fund research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. EcoHealth Alliance was also criticized for failing to disclose findings in a timely manner.

Republican Whip Steve Scalise is among Republicans who sent a letter to Fauci Thursday.

Republican Whip Steve Scalise is among Republicans who sent a letter to Fauci Thursday.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“[Y]your decision to continue the flow of grant funding to EcoHealth is, at best, a gross mismanagement of taxpayer dollars,” the Republicans wrote.

“It is outrageous that the results of U.S. taxpayer-funded experiments are unavailable to the U.S. government, particularly when those experiments could shed light on the origins of a virus that has killed more than one million Americans,” they added. “It is unconscionable that you would choose to continue to fund a company that has violated its NIH grant terms in a manner that helps to keep this valuable information from the U.S. government and American taxpayers.”

The NIH told Fox News Digital in response to the letter that “the scientific evidence to date suggests that the virus is the result of normal viral evolution and not the result of genetic modification in a lab.”

“NIH has been working with EcoHealth Alliance (EHA) to review its compliance with requirements of the NIH Grants Policy statement due to concerns with administrative non-compliance with the terms and conditions of NIH grant awards. NIH’s approach with cases of grant non-compliance is generally to provide a grantee the opportunity to come into compliance in an effort to preserve the research, when possible. This is consistent with HHS grant regulations, which provide that in cases of non-compliance, a funding agency can impose specific award conditions; and if the agency determines that the noncompliance cannot be remedied by specific award conditions, then the agency may take more severe actions, such as terminating an award in whole or in part,” said NIH.

The agency continued, saying that EcoHealth “has demonstrated” it can improve its administrative policies and practices “to remedy the administrative non-compliance that NIH identified on all of their awards.”

FAUCI AND WIFE’S NET WORTH INCREASED BY $5M DURING THE PANDEMIC, ANALYSIS FINDS

In the Senate, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, introduced a bill to make sure EcoHealth Alliance never gets another grant.

Rep. James Comer is conducting oversight of Fauci's agency.

Rep. James Comer is conducting oversight of Fauci’s agency.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Ernst’s bill is known as the “Defund EcoHealth Alliance Act,” and says that “[n]o funds authorized or appropriated by Federal law may be made available for any purpose to EcoHealth Alliance, Inc, including any subsidiaries and related organizations that are directly controlled by EcoHealth Alliance, Inc.”

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Fox News’ Ronn Blizter contributed to this report.



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