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Ernst to HHS: Why is China’s Wuhan Lab Still Eligible to Receive Taxpayer Dollars for Batty Experiments?

The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) remains on the list of foreign institutions approved to conduct experiments on animals – like bats – with your money.

WASHINGTON – Communist China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) is still eligible to receive U.S. tax dollars and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is demanding that the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) take immediate action to prevent another penny from subsidizing the state-run lab that gained international notoriety for its dangerous experiments on coronaviruses.


Ernst is also introducing legislation to prohibit HHS and every other government agency from funding WIV. Ernst is joined by U.S. Representative Scott Perry (R-Penn.) who is introducing a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.


Despite the biolab’s serious documented safety concerns and known connections to the Chinese military, risky research at WIV was paid for by taxpayer dollars – funneled through EcoHealth Alliance. Between the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), WIV received at least $1.7 million. WIV refuses to turn over information about those experiments.


“It is totally batty that three years after a mysterious new disease emerged in the vicinity of the Wuhan Institute of Virology – where U.S. taxpayer dollars were funding dangerous experiments on coronaviruses – the lab is still eligible to receive your tax dollars to conduct experiments on bats,” said Ernst, the Senate’s biggest foe of government waste. “I am urging HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to immediately and permanently debar WIV from receiving U.S. funding. These mad scientists should never be permitted to get their hands on bats or taxpayer dollars ever again.”


“As the group that first exposed and ended the NIH’s reckless funding of the rogue Wuhan animal lab, we applaud Sen. Ernst for introducing commonsense legislation to defund this CCP-run animal lab whose dangerous coronavirus experiments on animals likely caused the pandemic,” said Tristan Daedalus, Government Affairs Director for the White Coat Waste Project.“Our investigations since early 2020 have uncovered how the Wuhan lab wasted U.S. tax dollars on risky gain-of-function animal experiments in violation of a federal funding ban. The Wuhan lab has also refused to turn over records related to the animal experiments funded by U.S. tax dollars, deleted its public virus database, and otherwise obstructed investigations into COVIDs origins. Yet, we’ve discovered that the NIH has inexplicably allowed the Wuhan lab to remain eligible for even more tax money, specifically for animal experiments. Congress should swiftly pass Sen. Ernst’s bill and defund the Wuhan animal lab once and for all. Taxpayers should not be forced to bankroll white coats in Wuhan who waste money, break the law, abuse animals, and place public health in peril. Stop the money. Stop the madness!”


In 2021, Ernst requested the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) to investigate the matter. A report of the findings released last month revealed that:

  • Enhanced coronaviruses had been genetically engineered in the WIV and NIH was not immediately notified, as required.
  • EcoHealth did not disclose how or where taxpayer dollars were being spent, as mandated by federal law.
  • NIH acknowledges that WIV may never provide the information about the lab experiments paid for with taxpayer dollars.


The OIG recommended that HHS consider the disbarment of WIV – making them ineligible to ever receive taxpayer dollars again – and the NIH concurs. Yet to this day, the lab remains on HHS’s list of foreign institutions approved to conduct experiments on animals—like bats!


In response, Ernst also awarded her February 2023 Squeal Award to Secretary Becerra and the Biden administration’s HHS.