Families of Those Who Died From COVID-19 Sue EcoHealth Alliance

The lawsuit alleges EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak knew the virus was “capable of causing a worldwide pandemic.”

QUICK FACTS:
  • Four families of COVID-19 victims are suing EcoHealth Alliance for creating and releasing the virus, “either intentionally or accidentally.”
  • The families include Larry Carr, of Crossville, Tennessee; Mary Conroy, of Pennsylvania; Emma D. Holley, of Rochester, New York; and Raul Osuna, of Bennington, Nebraska.
  • “If we had known the source or origin of this virus and had not been misled that it was from a pangolin in a wet market, and rather we knew that it was a genetically manipulated virus, and that the scientists involved were concealing that from our clients, the outcome could have been very different,” Attorney Patricia Finn told The New York Post.
  • The families of the deceased “are definitely in mourning, but moreover they’re enraged because the truth of what really happened appears to be coming forward,” she added.
  • “This particular case is highly offensive because it appears they knew and concealed the origin of the virus,” Finn explained. “The treatment or approach taken in dealing with the virus could have been radically different than it was.”
  • The lawsuit alleges that EcoHealth failed to maintain appropriate security measures and focused on covering up the virus outbreak from the lab.
ECOHEALTH FUNDING CONNECTED TO LAB:
  • In May, EcoHealth Alliance received a $576,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research how outbreaks originate from wildlife and transfer to humans.
  • The grant was a reinstatement of an award from 2014.
  • Originally, EcoHealth was given $3.8 million from Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) over five years to research bat viruses “using reverse genetics, pseudovirus and receptor binding assays, and virus infection experiments in cell culture and humanized mice.”
  • A June report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) stated that the NIH “provided $200,000 in grant funding to Wuhan University, the only selected Chinese entity to receive funding directly from a federal agency.”
  • An earlier audit from the Office of Inspector General found that NIH awards to EcoHealth amounted to about $8 million, including almost $2 million to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), a sub-recipient.
  • Despite efforts to maintain that the virus was zoonotic in nature, a Senate committee report concluded that COVID was likely rooted in a lab “research-related incident” rather than an animal-related “spillover.”
BACKGROUND:
  • American Faith reported that a bill from the House Appropriations Committee would ban EcoHealth Alliance and the Wuhan Institute of Virology from receiving funds from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other sources leading to the State Department.
  • The bill follows the report from White Coat Waste Project that EcoHealth Alliance gave $38 million USAID funds to a Wuhan lab “patient zero.”
  • “Patient zero” Ben Hu’s research focused on “modifying coronaviruses so they could bind to human cells. The stated purpose of the research was to identify viruses that could lead to a pandemic and facilitate the development of a vaccine,” according to the Wall Street Journal.”
  • The bill states that “none of the funds made available by this Act may be made available to support, directly or indirectly,” the Wuhan Institute of Virology, EcoHealth Alliance, any lab controlled by the government of China, Cuba, Iran, Korea, Russia, Venezuela, or “any other country determined by the Secretary of State to be a foreign adversary.”

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