CNN’s Pamela Brown Grills NIH Director On ‘Oversight Failure’ for Wuhan Research: ‘Why Should Americans Trust You?’


CNN’s Pamela Brown confronted National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins on whether the agency experienced an “oversight failure” in light of the admission that their funding inadvertently facilitated gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The NIH and Dr. Anthony Fauci have faced a great many questions following the release of an NIH letter saying the research of EcoHealth Alliance, a U.S.-based health organization, had the “unexpected result” of crossing into gain-of-function. The letter also says EcoHealth failed to disclose these findings in compliance with the terms and conditions of their NIH research grant.

Brown, in an interview on her program Sunday night, asked Collins what the revelations say about Fauci’s claim months ago that “the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute.”

“You’re just now finding out U.S. tax dollars were being used to pay for this risky research in that Wuhan lab two years ago,” she said. “So the question is how can you know what this money is going toward? What kind of research this is going toward in places like the Wuhan lab if you’re just now finding this out from EcoHealth Alliance how the U.S.’ taxpayer dollars were being used?”

Collins led by agreeing “EcoHealth did violate the terms of their grant award.” He insisted, however, that their gain-of-function research was not the kind that requires “special high level oversight,” and it was “in no way connected” to the emergence of the Covid-19 virus.

“Yeah, they messed up,” he said. “We’re going to hold them accountable. They sent us a progress report two years late that they should have sent a while ago, and it had information in it that they should have told us about.”

Brown kept up the pressure by noting the fact remains the NIH was unaware that their funding was being used for “risky research.” Collins acknowledged those concerns, but said, “I don’t think there is indication that there is a broad range of this kind of difficulty going on.”

“But isn’t this also an oversight failure of the NIH?” Brown followed up. “Because, the NIH is responsible for taking taxpayer money and giving these grants. So would you say this is also an oversight failure?”

Collins responded by claiming the NIH is asking Congress to amend the system that allowed the Wuhan Institute to become the subrecipient of EcoHealth’s grant. This led to Brown asking “Why should Americans trust you and the NIH on the issue of Covid origins when you didn’t even know about the programs it was funding with taxpayer dollars in China?”

Watch Collins’ response above, via CNN.

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