The U.S. has suspended funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Chinese research laboratory at the center of the debate over the origins of the coronavirus that has killed nearly 7 million people worldwide.
The lab has not received any U.S. funding since 2020, but for months the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been reviewing its operations, concluding that the institute “is not compliant with federal regulations and is not presently responsible.”
The funding cutoff was prompted by the lab’s “failure to provide documentation on [its] research requested by [the National Institutes of Health] related to concerns that [the lab] violated NIH’s biosafety protocols.”
The virus was first identified in Wuhan. One theory holds that COVID-19 escaped from the Wuhan lab in late 2019, triggering the pandemic. Some scientists believe the virus was passed from animals to people, possibly from a wholesale seafood market.
The U.S. intelligence community has yet to reach a conclusion about the origins of the virus.
Researchers at the institute have repeatedly denied that their work was related to the coronavirus outbreak, but China has blocked international scientists from a wide examination of the facility and its operations.
Source : VOA News