Light Wave


US taxpayer funds used in coronavirus experiments with Wuhan lab before pandemic, report claims

By Jake Beardslee · October 31, 2023

In brief…

  • Watchdog group alleges that in 2018, NIH under Dr. Fauci funded experiment infecting bats with coronavirus from Wuhan lab
  • Bats acquired from troubled Maryland zoo to be infected in Montana NIH lab
  • Shows ties between US and China labs prior to pandemic
  • Adds to debate on COVID origins and risks of virus experiments
A report from the White Coat Waste Project claims that in 2018, NIH under Dr. Fauci funded experiments infecting bats with coronavirus obtained from Wuhan lab, showing ties between US and China virus research before COVID pandemic.  Fogarty International Center from Bethesda, MD/Wikimedia

A new investigation claims that in 2018, under the direction of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institutes of Health funded an experiment where scientists at a Montana lab infected bats with a coronavirus obtained from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. This lab is at the center of investigations into the origins of COVID-19.

The experiment involved 12 Egyptian fruit bats acquired from a Maryland zoo with a history of animal welfare violations, The Daily Mail reports. The bats were infected with a SARS-like virus called WIV1 to study its effects. Although the virus did not robustly infect the bats, the research shows concerning ties between the US government, including NIH, and the controversial Wuhan lab prior to the pandemic.

Between 2015-2023, at least 7 US entities, through NIH grants, funded dangerous animal experiments with coronaviruses in Chinese labs, totaling over $3 million. This experiment is now being scrutinized by the watchdog group White Coat Waste Project through Freedom of Information Act requests to the NIH.

The group aims to stop US tax dollars from funding risky virus experiments, which could potentially lead to outbreaks. They criticized the zoo for providing bats to NIH for virus experiments that caused them to suffer.

There is ongoing debate whether COVID-19 emerged naturally or leaked from a lab in Wuhan. US officials and the FBI now believe a lab leak is the most likely origin.