US groups protest political cuts to COVID-19 research

COVID-19 Working Group NYC

On May 1, 2020, Science Magazine reported the mid-term cancellation of a major grant to the EcoHealth Alliance, an international collaboration studying how coronaviruses transmitting in bats can evolve to spread in human populations.

Based on emails reviewed by Science, this decision appears to be directly related to the Trump administration’s belief in the conspiracy theory that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the cause of COVID-19, was purposefully or accidentally released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology was a participant in the EcoHealth Alliance grant that was cancelled.

Beyond the critical importance of the research the NIH defunded, political interference in grantmaking is a disturbing trend that would allow politicians to effectively squash research that does not align with their political desires. Industry influence in research, the silencing of climate science, and long term harm of American science in the global climate become increasingly likely if politicians can easily meddle in grantmaking.

We must stand united as a community of clinicians, scientists, activists, and citizens to demand the best – most transparent – scientific decision making process in this moment of crisis, and always.

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