NIH cancels grant for bat research in China

A National Institutes of Health grant allowed researchers from the EcoHealth Alliance and their colleagues to study how viruses move from bats to humans. ©EcoHealth Alliance

The National Institutes of Health has abruptly canceled a grant supporting research in China on how coronaviruses move from bats to humans. Research scientists are criticizing the move, saying it was politically motivated. The action following unsubstantiated rumors that the novel coronavirus pandemic escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. That lab employs a Chinese virologist who had been receiving funding from the grant, part of a collaboration with the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance.

“This is a horrible precedent,” Gerald Keusch, a former director of NIH’s Fogarty International Center who is now with the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory at Boston University, told Science Magazine.

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