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Washington, July 19 – The US government has suspended funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China even as it failed to provide documents related to Covid virus amid reported safety concerns, media reports said.
According to a memo from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) obtained first by Bloomberg News, the infamous lab “is not compliant with federal regulations and is not presently responsible”.
It noted that the lab did not share requested documents on their security and safety measures. “This action will ensure the (Wuhan Institute of Virology) does not receive another dollar of federal funding,” an HHS spokesperson was quoted as saying in a statement to Bloomberg.
“The move was undertaken due to WIV’s failure to provide documentation on WIV’s research requested by NIH related to concerns that WIV violated NIH’s biosafety protocols.”
The HHS also proposed permanently barring WIV from doing business with the federal government. The lab hasn’t received money from the US National Institutes of Health since July 2020.
In the memo, HHS concluded that the WIV’s actions reveal it “not only previously violated (biosafety protocols), but is currently violating, and will continue to violate”.
“Therefore, I have determined that the immediate suspension of WIV is necessary to mitigate any potential public health risk,” HHS’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, whose name is redacted, wrote in the memo.
The Wuhan lab has been at the centre of a theory that Covid-19 escaped from the lab in late 2019.
The true origin of the pandemic, which has claimed the lives of 7 million lives worldwide, remains a subject of ongoing investigation. The recent revelations by the newly declassified intelligence report by the US government on the origins of Covid-19 also did not confirm whether the pandemic was the result of a lab leak or the virus jumped into people from an infected animal.