Headline RoundupOctober 21st, 2021

NIH Says US Group Didn't Meet Terms of Grant for Virus Research in China

Summary from the AllSides News Team

A letter from a National Institutes of Health (NIH) official to a Republican lawmaker says an American nonprofit failed to quickly report findings from studies on coronaviruses conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China. The letter details a WIV experiment funded by a U.S. grant that studied whether "naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable" of transferring to humans. That description appears to match the definition of "gain-of-function research," though that specific phrase is not used. The research was done in collaboration with the American nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance and was funded by an NIH grant. In May, Anthony Fauci told Congress that the U.S. has never " funded gain-of-function research" at WIV. The NIH letter ends by saying the coronaviruses studied under the grant "could not have been the source of SARS-CoV-2 and the Covid-19 pandemic."

Right-rated outlets covered the letter prominently on Wednesday, and left- and center-outlets offered little to no coverage of it. Many painted Fauci as a liar and highlighted calls for him to be fired or prosecuted; some also framed the research as dangerous and a potential reason for the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Thursday evening, the New York Times was one of the only non-right rated sources to cover the letter. The Times report doesn't mention how the letter appears to contradict Fauci, and focuses on NIH officials who denounced the claim that the research caused the pandemic.

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