A leaked document coauthored by American and Chinese scientists offers new evidence supporting the lab-leak theory of COVID-19’s origins. The document details a 2018 grant proposal titled Project DEFUSE, coauthored by the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and EcoHealth Alliance, an American organization. The proposal suggested engineering high-risk coronaviruses by synthesizing spike proteins with furin cleavage sites — the very feature that made SARS-CoV-2 the most significant pandemic event in a century.
The project, initially planned for a high-containment BSL-3 lab, would be transferred to a BSL-2 lab at WIV with less stringent safety precautions, explained Peter Daszak, CEO of EcoHealth. Daszak’s involvement with Antony Fauci, the Wuhan Lab, and Chinese Communist scientists was first exposed by The National Pulse in 2021.
According to investigative journalist Emily Kopp from U.S. Right to Know, the scientists planned to study more lethal viruses after completing the coronavirus research.
The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the intended funder for Project DEFUSE, was not informed of WIV’s involvement. This was allegedly done to skirt national security concerns tied to high-level biosecurity work in China. Kopp also revealed plans to use less regulated SARS-related coronavirus research as a foundation to study more deadly viruses like Ebola, Marburg, Hendra and Nipah. Despite being rejected for funding by DARPA, Daszak has likely completed some of the proposed work with different funding sources. His organization, EcoHealth Alliance, received at least $8 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) between 2014 and 2021.
Daszak has publicly denied the lab-leak theory. However, documents leaked from Project DEFUSE contradict his denial, showing evidence of high-risk coronavirus research. Daszak’s organization is under federal investigation following claims of double-billing U.S. taxpayers for dangerous coronavirus research in China.