A scientist who helped lead a group collaborating with coronavirus research at a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan vouches for the theory that COVID-19 was genetically engineered and leaked from the facility.
Dr. Andrew Huff, the former vice president of EcoHealth Alliance who has written a new book, claims grant funding from the United States government for research in China led to the “biggest US intelligence failure since 9/11,” according to The Sun.
“EcoHealth Alliance and foreign laboratories did not have the adequate control measures in place for ensuring proper biosafety, biosecurity, and risk management, ultimately resulting in the lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” he writes in his book, The Truth About Wuhan.
More than 6.5 million people diagnosed with COVID-19 have died since the earliest cases were reported in Wuhan in late December 2019. The origin of the pandemic has become a topic of fierce debate, with two leading theories being there was a natural emergence or a lab leak. China and the lab in Wuhan denied being to blame, but the World Health Organization recommended further study into the lab leak theory over the summer.
EcoHealth Alliance has worked on coronavirus research with the Wuhan Institute of Virology supported by millions of dollars in grants from the National Institutes of Health. Last year, as scrutiny of their work intensified, the group denied claims by the NIH that it failed to properly report its findings.
Dr. Francis Collins, who was the director of the NIH, rejected the notion that federal funding led to the pandemic. “Analysis of published genomic data and other documents from the grantee demonstrate that the naturally occurring bat coronaviruses studied under the NIH grant are genetically far distant from SARS-CoV-2 and could not possibly have caused the COVID-19 pandemic. Any claims to the contrary are demonstrably false,” he said.
Huff worked at EcoHealth Alliance from 2014 to 2016 and has since become a whistleblower. He says the U.S. taxpayer-funded nonprofit group instructed the Wuhan lab in the “best existing methods to engineer bat coronaviruses to attack other species” for years and claims “China knew from day one that this was a genetically engineered agent.”
Huff says he quit EcoHealth “due to a large number of ethical concerns with the scientific work and EcoHealth Alliance as a whole.” He is suing the group in New York, according to The Sun.
Huff indicated that he had seen no evidence to show China deliberately released the virus, The Sun reported. But he says the U.S. government is “to blame for the transfer of dangerous biotechnology to the Chinese” and accuses Dr. Anthony Fauci of being involved in a cover-up.
After President Joe Biden ordered a 90-day U.S. intelligence review into the virus origin last year, it was reported that officials in his administration found the lab leak theory as credible as the natural emergence theory. After the inquiry, Biden criticized China for a lack of transparency and pledged a further investigation.
Huff claims he was offered a role with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in 2019, though he suspects that if he had accepted the position, the agency “would have disclosed restricted information to me, which would have consequently prevented me from discussing any of this information publicly, like I have been and am doing now.”
The Truth About Wuhan, published by Skyhorse and distributed by Simon & Schuster, is due to be released on Tuesday.