Three years after then-President Donald Trump pressured the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to suspend a research grant to a U.S. group studying bat coronaviruses with partners in China, the agency has restarted the award.
The new 4-year grant is a stripped-down version of the original grant to the EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit research organization in New York City, providing $576,000 per year. That 2014 award included funding for controversial experiments that mixed parts of different bat viruses related to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the coronavirus that sparked a global outbreak in 2002–04, and included a subaward to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). The new award omits those studies, and also imposes extensive new accounting rules on EcoHealth, which drew criticism from government auditors for its bookkeeping practices.
But EcoHealth’s embattled director, Peter Daszak, says his group is pleased: “Now we have the ability to finally get back to work,” he says.
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