The president of a controversial nonprofit that may be directly tied to the origins of the Chinese coronavirus has stepped down from a United Nations-backed investigation into the origins of the virus, as reported by the New York Post.
Peter Daszak, the head of EcoHealth Alliance, is still listed as a member of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission on the commission’s website. However, his profile has since been updated to read “Recused from Commission work on the origins of the pandemic.”
Daszak has become one of the most vocal critics of the notion that the coronavirus may have originated in a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), a research facility that is known to have experimented with novel coronavirus strains in bats and other animals, which is located near the Wuhan wet market where the first confirmed cases of the virus appeared back in 2019.
In February 2020, Daszak led a group of around 30 alleged “leading scientists” to sign a letter denouncing “conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.” The letter was published in the British medical magazine Lancet. Yesterday, Lancet announced that it had reached out to every signatory of the letter and gave them the chance to “re-evaluate their competing interests,” in the wake of new evidence which suggests that the virus may, in fact, have originated at the WIV.
Daszak’s organization has come under fire for recent revelations which may indicate that EcoHealth could be indirectly responsible for the virus itself, in the event that the “lab leak” theory is confirmed. In February, it was confirmed that EcoHealth had funneled at least $600,000 in American taxpayer funds to the WIV between the years of 2014 and 2019, with that funding going directly to the lab’s research into bat coronaviruses. In addition to their direct funding of the WIV, EcoHealth had received a grand total of $3.7 million in grant funding from Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in 2014, for the purpose of studying bat-based coronavirus strains in China overall.
As a result of these revelations, the National Institute of Health (NIH) terminated its grant funding to EcoHealth. In addition, recent reports allege that the United States government was aware of the strong possibility of the “lab leak” theory as far back as May 2020, but worked to actively keep these theories hidden from the public.
In addition to his now-terminated role with the Lancet Commission, Daszek was also the only American member of a recent delegation sent by the World Health Organization (WHO) to Wuhan to try to further investigate all possible explanations for the origins of the pandemic. The WHO delegation concluded from their findings that the virus most likely originated naturally in wild animals, although this determination was widely criticized by most governments, and even by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom.