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Prominent scientists denounce cancellation of grant for coronavirus research in China.

Prominent scientists denounce cancellation of grant for coronavirus research in China.
The funding provided by the National Institutes of Health supported researchers in China working with bats, which can carry viruses like the one that causes Covid-19.

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A group of 77 Nobel laureates has asked for an investigation into the cancellation of a federal grant to EcoHealth Alliance, a group that researches bat coronaviruses in China.The pre-eminent scientists characterized the explanation for the decision by the National Institutes of Health as “preposterous.” The agency said the investigation into the sources of pandemics did not fit “with program goals and agency priorities.”The Nobel recipients said the grant was canceled “just a few days after President Trump responded to a question from a reporter who erroneously claimed that the grant awarded millions of dollars to investigators in Wuhan.

” President Trump said the grant would be ended immediately.The grant had been given to EcoHealth Alliance, an organization with headquarters in New York that studies the potential for spillover of animal viruses to humans around the globe. The group collaborated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been at the center of conspiracy theories about how the novel coronavirus originated. Virologists and intelligence agencies agree that the virus evolved in nature and spread from animals to humans.Days after the news conference in April, the National Institutes of Health emailed Peter Daszak, the head of EcoHealth Alliance. They questioned his work with the Wuhan Institute, and after an exchange of emails, he
 
was informed that the renewal of his grant for more than $3 million was canceled.Days after the news conference in April, the National Institutes of Health emailed Peter Daszak, the head of EcoHealth Alliance. They questioned his work with the Wuhan Institute, and after an exchange of emails, he was informed that the renewal of his grant for more than $3 million was canceled.Harold E. Varmus, a former director of the N.I.H., said that the government always sets broad priorities for research that some scientists may disagree with, including restrictions on use of embryonic stem cells, but that this research was squarely in line with federal priorities. He called the cancellation “an outrageous abuse of political power to control the way science works.”

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