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The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) is authorized to receive taxpayer funding for animal research until January 2024, the National Institute of Health told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The WIV is at the center of widespread speculation that COVID-19 could have entered the human population in China due to an accidental lab leak. Researchers at the lab were studying bat-based coronaviruses prior to the outbreak, a project partially backed by $600,000 in U.S. taxpayer funds routed to the lab through the nonprofit group EcoHealth Alliance.

The president of EcoHealth Alliance, Peter Daszak, was the sole U.S. member of the World Health Organization (WHO) delegation that investigated the origins of the pandemic on the ground in China in January and February. While the WHO delegation has yet to release a report on their findings, Daszak said the White House should blindly accept their conclusion that it’s highly unlikely the virus could have leaked from the WIV.

Daszak also said American intelligence, which indicates researchers at the WIV became infected with COVID-like symptoms before the first known cases in December 2019, shouldn’t be trusted.

EcoHealth Alliance’s work researching bat-based coronaviruses in China was funded by a $3.7 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 2014, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The grant was terminated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in April amid criticism over EcoHealth Alliance’s relationship with the WIV. The NIH said in a letter the nonprofit’s work in China did not align with “program goals and agency priorities.”

Security-personnel
Security personnel gather near the entrance of the Wuhan Institute of Virology during a visit by the World Health Organization team in Wuhan in China’s Hubei province, China, on Feb. 3, 2021. (Ng Han Guan/AP Photo)

The NIH told EcoHealth Alliance in July it would restore the grant if it met certain conditions, one of which was to arrange for an independent team to investigate the WIV to determine if it had possession of the SARS-COV-2 virus prior to the first known cases in December 2019.

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Daszak told NPR that the NIH’s conditions were “preposterous.”

“I’m not trained as a private detective,” Daszak said. “It’s not really my job to do that.”

However, the WIV still has an active Foreign Assurance on file with the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, which enables it to continue receiving taxpayer funds to engage in animal research, according to the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.

A NIH spokeswoman told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the WIV’s Foreign Assurance was approved on Jan. 9, 2019, and is currently set to expire on Jan. 31, 2024.

The spokeswoman did not confirm whether the WIV is currently receiving direct or indirect taxpayer funding for research activities involving animals. EcoHealth Alliance’s last known subgrant to the WIV was in May 2019, according to USASpending.Gov.

EcoHealth Alliance received a new $7.5 million grant from the NIH to help establish a Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases. Daszak told NPR that the funds his organization received from the new grant will not be used for any research in China.

The president of the nonpartisan watchdog group White Coat Waste Project, Anthony Bellotti, told the DCNF that EcoHealth Alliance should be defunded entirely for funding “reckless gain-of-function animal experiments that may have led to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We’re urging Congress and the White House to defund EcoHealth now and secure independent investigations into whether their treacherous gain-of-function animal experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology led to the COVID outbreak.”

By Andrew Kerr

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VIDEO: Biden administration faces lawsuit from Texas, Missouri

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Texas AG Ken Paxton tells newsmen that he believes the states will win in court and discusses the debate over reforming the Supreme Court.

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Former White House doctor opens up on Biden’s ’embarrassing struggle’ through press conference

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Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) said Biden muddled through his first press conference as president with the help of his “biggest fans,” the White House press corps.

After President Joe Biden’s difficult press conference Thursday following his stumbles up the stairs of Air Force One just days earlier, concerns over the new president’s health continue to loom large among Americans, including former White House physician Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), who called Biden’s recent struggles a “major red flag.”

Jackson served as White House physician under former presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. He won election to the House in 2020 and now represents the 13th District of Texas. Following Biden’s shaky press conference reliant on “cheat-sheet” notes, the physician took to social media to share his view of Biden’s declining health.

“This ‘Press Brief’ was EMBARRASSING! Not only for Biden, but for the liberal press corps as well,” Jackson wrote on Twitter

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. “He struggled to make it through, despite the fact that he followed a strict order of reporters to call on and was reading what appeared to be prepared answers from the podium.”

Earlier this week, Jackson spoke as a former White House physician about the individual health preconditions necessary to serve successfully as president.

“I’ve seen what it takes physically AND mentally to do the job,” he tweeted. “I can tell you right now that the way Biden is hiding from the public is a MAJOR red flag. Something’s not right!”

Jackson asserted that the press seem to be Biden’s “biggest fans” as reporters refrained from asking the president about tough topics such as China’s accountability for the virus and the criminal investigations into his son Hunter. 

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White House Confirms Biden Will Sign Executive Order on Gun Control

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President Joe Biden will sign executive orders on gun control in the near future, confirmed White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday.

When asked about the prospect of taking executive action, Psaki responded with, “Yes.”

“I can’t give you an exact time frame, in part, because they have to go through a review process, which is something that we do from here,” Psaki told reporters at the White House.

“I will note that when we, when the president was the vice president in the Obama-Biden administration, he helped put in place 23 executive actions to combat gun violence,” she added. “It’s one of the levers that we can use that any federal government, any president, can use to help address the prevalence of gun violence and address community safety around the country.”

On Thursday, during the president’s first news conference, he hinted at taking action but pivoted to his infrastructure agenda items.

Earlier this week, Vice President Kamala Harris indicated that Congress should pass gun control legislation but stopped short of saying Biden would issue an executive order.

“It is time for Congress to act,” the vice president said in an interview with CBS News on Wednesday. “It’s simply about saying we need reasonable gun safety laws. There is no reason why we have assault weapons on the streets of a civil society. They are weapons of war. They are designed to kill a lot of people quickly,” she added.

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But gun rights organizations such as the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners for America have raised red flags about Biden’s proposals, arguing they would violate the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

“In an apocalyptic environment where the filibuster has been eradicated, you can expect to see a Democrat Congress ramming through gun bans, gun owner registration, and more,” Gun Owners for America said days after Biden’s inauguration.

Meanwhile, it’s possible that courts could overturn any potential executive rule. This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled that a federal ban on bump stocks handed down by the ATF is likely illegal, while ordering that the ban be placed on hold.

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