March 23, 2021
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for National Institutes of Health (NIH) records of communications, contracts and agreements with the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:21-cv-00696)). The lawsuit specifically seeks records about NIH grants that benefitted the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The lawsuit was filed against Health and Human Services after the NIH denied an April 22, 2020, FOIA request, for:
- All internal NIAID communications regarding the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China;
- All agreements, contracts and related documents between NIAID and the Wuhan Institute of Virology; and
- All records, including agreements, funds disbursement records and related NIAID communications regarding a reported $3.7 million in grants provided by NIH to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
In April 2020, the Daily Mail reported that documents “show the Wuhan Institute of Virology undertook coronavirus experiments on mammals captured more than 1,000 miles away in Yunnan – funded by a $3.7 million grant from the US government.”
The NIH in April 2020 suspended funding a grant to the non-profit EcoHealth Alliance that “had previously established a partnership with a virology laboratory in Wuhan, China” but in August gave the EcoHealth Alliance a grant of $7.5 million. The grant will reportedly “focus on Southeast Asia and the emergence of coronaviruses; filoviruses, the family responsible for Ebola; and paramyxoviruses, a family of viruses that includes measles and mumps.”
“For almost a year now, Dr. Fauci’s agency has stonewalled Judicial Watch’s lawful request for information about the agency’s connections to the controversial Wuhan lab,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The American people have a right to know about Dr. Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ involvement with the infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
In March 2021, Judicial Watch uncovered HHS/NIH records that show NIH officials tailored confidentiality forms to China’s terms and that the World Health Organization conducted an unreleased, “strictly confidential” COVID-19 epidemiological analysis in January 2020. Additionally, the records reveal an independent journalist in China pointing out the inconsistent COVID numbers in China to NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Deputy Director for Clinical Research and Special Projects Cliff Lane.
In October 2020, Judicial Watch received records from the HHS that show Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, approved a press release supportive of China’s response to the 2019 novel coronavirus.