A National Institutes for Health (NIH) spokesman is disputing a non-profit watchdog group’s claim that the agency “deleted” genetic sequencing data on the CCP virus from a Chinese lab, but the same official acknowledged the data was “suppressed.”
“The headline says the sequences were deleted which is inaccurate. They were not deleted. This is a really important point, and I’ve highlighted what did happen from what we provided to you earlier this week,” NIH Media Branch Chief Amanda Fine told The Epoch Times in a March 31 email.
The Epoch Times story was prompted by a report published on March 29 by Empower Oversight Whistleblowers and Research (EO) that was based on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) responses the group received from the institute.
The non-profit reported, The Epoch Times story said, that “on June 5, 2020, a Wuhan University researcher requested that NIH retract the researcher’s submission of BioProject ID PRJNA637497 because of error. The Wuhan researcher explained ‘I’m sorry for my wrong submitting,’ Empower Oversight said in a statement (pdf) on March 29.
Asked for a response to Fine’s claim the information was not deleted, EO Founder and President Jason Foster told The Epoch Times that NIH’s actions ensure the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus genetic sequencing info is only available to the few individuals possessing its “accession number,” which effectively deletes the data from open access and research.
“NIH documents released with Empower Oversight’s report demonstrate that the sequencing data was deleted from public view by the NIH at the request of the Wuhan researcher,” Foster said.
“Our report also details emails between Professor Jesse Bloom and the NIH’s Steve Sherry from October 2021 that clearly indicate NIH retained copies ‘for archival purposes.’ Yet, the emails demonstrate that NIH refused to share that data in an open, transparent scientific process sought by Professor Bloom,” Foster continued.
“The NIH should make more information available about each and every time it reassigned the status of sequence data and any information potentially relevant to the origins of COVID-19 should be made available for scientific inquiry,” he said.
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