WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and House Committee on the Judiciary Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) today launched a probe into a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant awarded to EcoHealth Alliance which then awarded taxpayer funds to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China to study bat coronaviruses.

“There is mounting evidence the COVID-19 pandemic started in the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Chinese Communist Party covered it up. If U.S. taxpayer money was used to develop COVID-19, conduct gain of function research, or assist in any sort of cover-up, EcoHealth Alliance must be held accountable,” wrote the Republican lawmakers. “It is incumbent upon grant recipients to ensure their work is performed within the scope of the grant, advances our national interest, and protects our national security. It is vital to understand if U.S. taxpayer funds were at all affiliated with a pandemic that has taken the lives of nearly 600,000 Americans so we can prevent similar future catastrophes.”

Despite U.S. intelligence concerns about the ability of the WIV to properly contain the deadly diseases they study, EcoHealth Alliance still awarded almost $600,000 dollars to the WIV. Last summer, the NIH sent a letter to EcoHealth Alliance expressing concern over its relationship with the WIV and suspended its grant pending answers to several questions. EcoHealth Alliance was asked to explain the disappearance of a scientist who worked at the lab, disclose out-of-ordinary restrictions placed on the lab in October 2019, and allow a U.S. government-led inspection of the lab. It is unclear if any of those questions were answered or if that inspection took place.

In a letter to Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the NIH, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Ranking Members Comer and Jordan raise concerns EcoHealth Alliance knew of the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to cover-up the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and failed to act or inform the U.S. government. The Republican lawmakers call for all documents and communications between the NIH, WIV, and EcoHealth Alliance regarding the grant, as well as those resulting from any U.S. government-led inspection of the WIV arranged by EcoHealth Alliance.

The full text of the letter is available here.