HHS Initiates Debarment Proceedings Against EcoHealth Alliance President

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has taken a significant step by commencing formal debarment proceedings against Dr. Peter Daszak, the president of EcoHealth Alliance, in a move to prevent him from accessing further federal funding.

In a letter sent on Tuesday, HHS informed Daszak of his suspension and proposed debarment, citing his roles at EcoHealth Alliance, Inc. (EHA), and as Program Director/Principal Investigator on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant. The action aims to restrict Daszak from involvement in U.S. federal government programs.

This decision follows the release of a report by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, which presented extensive evidence of Daszak’s alleged disregard for risks associated with gain-of-function research and violations of NIH grant terms.

The report highlighted Daszak’s collaboration with Dr. Anthony Fauci, then-NIAID Director, in circumventing a moratorium on risky gain-of-function research imposed by the Obama administration in 2014. Funding for such research was channeled through EcoHealth Alliance to Dr. Shi Zhengli, known as the “bat lady,” at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

During the pandemic’s onset, Daszak and Fauci vehemently dismissed claims of a potential lab origin for COVID-19 as conspiracy theories. Daszak orchestrated a statement published in The Lancet, denouncing such theories and impeding investigative reporting on the virus’s origins.

The suspension of taxpayer funds allocated to EcoHealth, initiated on May 15, followed evidence uncovered by the Select Subcommittee. In response, Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) advocated for individual debarment to prevent Daszak from further accessing taxpayer funds.

Wenstrup emphasized accountability, stating, “Dr. Daszak’s impending debarment does not shield him from accountability to the American people.” Allegations of dishonesty regarding grant procedures and compliance with NIH requirements further intensified scrutiny on Daszak.

The Select Subcommittee remains committed to holding Daszak accountable and expects full cooperation in producing outstanding documents and addressing Congressional inquiries.

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