Iowa’s senator, Joni Ernst (R), has proposed a bill to permanently defund the United States’ participation in the Ecohealth Alliance as investigations reveal China’s mismanagement of COVID experiments.
The investigation was conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG). The findings revealed that EcoHealth had mismanaged coronavirus tests done in Wuhan, China, Ernst is insisting that Congress cease funding for the organization immediately and permanently.
The Ecohealth Alliance homepage introduces the organization as “a nonprofit dedicated to a ‘One Health’ approach to protecting the health of people, animals and the environment from emerging infectious diseases”. The organization has garnered grants and sponsorship from several organizations and governments with the promise to conduct “research and develop tools to save ecosystems and predict and prevent pandemics”.
In the first half of 2021, Ernst asked that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General investigate EcoHealth when she came to know that the organization was utilizing taxpayers’ money for potentially hazardous coronaviruses in the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, and had not been making any information about these ventures public, as required by law.
The examination discovered that EcoHealth, the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the National Institutes of Health were all responsible for mismanagement in regards to the Covid 19 Pandemic. EcoHealth failed to notify the NIH promptly when a coronavirus was made more lethal, and when they did, the NIH did not take any effective steps to mitigate the harm this virus created across the world.
The Iowa region legislative representative made her views known on the program, Wake Up America, saying;
“In the spring of 2021, I went to the Department of Health and Human Services and asked their office of inspector general to do an investigation into EcoHealth Alliance and their ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the fact that American taxpayer dollars were going to study what could have created the pandemic.
“So the office of inspector general just came back and they did find that Wuhan Institute of Virology and the NIH [National Institutes of Health], which is where the funding comes from for EcoHealth Alliance, that they were not following law. They did not alert authorities when they saw the potential for a pandemic. And yet, we continue to fund them.I think it’s longtime overdue that we stop funding EcoHealth Alliance.”
The investigation found EcoHealth, WIV, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) were all at fault for mismanagement:
– EcoHealth did not immediately notify the NIH when a coronavirus was enhanced to become more lethal, as required; and, when it did, the NIH did not quickly act to have the pathogen reviewed for pandemic potential.
– EcoHealth misspent tens of thousands of tax dollars on bonuses, junkets, and other unallowable costs.
– China’s WIV did not cooperate.
Since the world was embroiled in the storm brought by the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of 2020 – including the role EcoHealth might have played in a potential lab leak— EcoHealth has received more than $40 million in taxpayer dollars. Just last month, the Biden administration awarded the group $3 million out of the Department of Defense (DOD) budget.
And while there are those who oppose the Ecohealth Alliance, the organization has been actively in the forefront in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, working to identify, respond to, and prevent future health threats.
The Alliance has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic and has worked to identify the source of the virus, assess the risks it poses, and develop strategies for prevention and control. The organization has identified that the virus likely originated from bats, and has been working with communities to reduce human contact with wildlife and their habitats. Ecohealth Alliance has also been working to support local governments in developing evidence-based public health policies, and to create and implement programs that help protect vulnerable populations.
The organization has also been supporting research on the virus, including identifying potential treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics. Ecohealth Alliance has provided funding for research into potential treatments and vaccines, and has developed a platform to share research findings and data across countries around the world. The organization has also developed tools to track the virus, and to monitor how it spreads and evolves.
The Ecohealth Alliance has also been working to provide access to clean and safe water, as well as to promote good hygiene practices such as hand-washing and wearing face masks. The organization has been working with local communities to develop strategies for preventing the spread of the virus and to address the underlying social issues that contribute to the pandemic. The organization has also been providing training to health workers, community members, and other stakeholders to ensure that they are equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to respond to the pandemic.
However, Senator Ernst has judged the EcoHealth Alliance unworthy of continued financial aid from the United States due to the findings of the investigation and advises that if funding needs be trimmed, ceasing to give dollars to this organization may be where Washington should start.