National Institutes of Health (NIH) documents obtained by a nonprofit watchdog in a federal court suit reveal that the agency deleted CCP virus genetic sequencing information from the Wuhan Institute of Virology at the Chinese lab’s request.
The Arlington, Virginia-based Empower Oversight Whistleblowers and Researchers (EO) obtained, as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and lawsuit, more than 230 pages of documents dating from 2020 that include emails, memoranda, and other correspondence among and between the lab and multiple NIH officials.
Among the NIH officials prominently mentioned in the documents are then-NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, who actively participated in the discussions and decision-making described in the materials obtained by EO.
“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,’” EO said in a statement on March 29.
“BioProject ID PRJNA637497 is also referred to as Submission ID SUB7554642. Three days later, on June 8th, the NIH declined the researcher’s request, advising that it prefers to edit or replace, as opposed to delete, sequences submitted to the SRA,” EO reported.
But then, on June 16, 2020, NIH officials reversed themselves and deleted the genetic sequencing data, as requested by the Wuhan researcher.
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