Trump Administration Axes Coronavirus Research

Published May 15, 2020

Update 8/31/20: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has reinstated this grant, which funded research on bat coronavirus spillovers into humans. However, the NIH has set demands during this reinstatement process that are so unusual, experts say adherence to the demands is practically impossible. The NIH will immediately suspend the grant if the researchers are unable to carry out a series of actions that experts call "outrageous," such as explaining why there was diminished cell phone traffic in the area and having an outside inspector check if the researchers had the novel coronavirus in their possession before any outbreak had occurred in Wuhan, China.

What Happened: The Trump administration defunded a National Institutes of Health grant supporting research on bat-human virus transmission during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research seems to have been defunded due to a false reports that some of the grant funding was distributed to a lab in Wuhan, China - a lab that has been the center of a conspiracy theory that it was responsible for the release of the coronavirus from its facilities.**

Why it Matters: Scientific grant funding should not be stopped due to political purposes. Furthermore, scientists should be afforded the resources they need to conduct research that helps our government make decision effectively, especially during a pandemic when such research could literally save lives.

Learn more about the administration's attack on grant funding during the COVID-19 pandemic.