Statement to Correct Factual Inaccuracies in Sen. Marshall’s Comments to Fox Business News Regarding EcoHealth Alliance’s Work
June 5 2023 – Senator Roger Marshall’s recent comments on Fox Business Network’s “Maria Bartiromo’s Wall Street” about EcoHealth Alliance’s work (https://www.breitbart.com/clips/2023/06/03/gop-sen-marshall-report-u-s-gave-over-1-billion-to-chinese-russian-entities-is-tip-of-the-iceberg/) are factually incorrect and highly inflammatory. Firstly, he states that EcoHealth Alliance “is out of compliance with other grants”. This is incorrect. EcoHealth Alliance follows all guidelines for Federal grants, and is fully in compliance with each of the grants and contracts it is currently managing. This was confirmed in a recent audit from the Office of Inspector-General of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, which did not find significant issues with EcoHealth Alliance’s Federal grant oversight and compliance (https://oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/region5/52100025.asp).
Secondly, Sen. Marshall states that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (and by implication the work that EcoHealth conducted in collaboration with it) “is where COVID-19, the SARS-CoV-2 virus was made”. This is utterly false. There is, in fact, no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 originated in that lab, let alone as a deliberately engineered virus, as Sen. Marshall suggests. The fact is that the bat coronavirus research conducted by EcoHealth Alliance and the Wuhan Institute of Virology could not have started the COVID-19 pandemic. As then-NIH Director Francis Collins said in a public statement on October 20, 2021: “NIH wants to set the record straight on NIH-supported research to understand naturally occurring bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, funded through a subaward from NIH grantee EcoHealth Alliance. 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.” (Italics added, https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/who-we-are/nih-director/statements/statement-misinformation-about-sars-cov-2-origins).
Finally, and most egregiously, Sen. Marshall implies that EcoHealth Alliance’s work has “killed over a million Americans”. This is a grossly false statement, and one that could have very negative consequences for the scientists in organizations like EcoHealth Alliance who work hard to protect Americans from future pandemic threats. Allegations such as these are directly linked to attacks on scientists and organizations, including death threats and direct physical incidents that EcoHealth Alliance has had to deal with. We strongly urge Sen. Marshall to correct these statements publicly, so as to reduce the damage his unfounded and irresponsible accusations may cause.
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