Letter to the Editor: More lessons from the pandemic

View the full article from Washington Post

“The Nov. 15 editorial “To catch a killer” ​was spot on as far as the world’s need to learn from the current pandemic to prevent the next one. It identified several concrete steps but omitted one. ​A​ travesty​ occurred​ in ​April​ when President Trump, based on a comment from a far​-​right media outlet​, ​knee​-​jerked and ordered that the National Institutes of Health revoke its funding for a major bat disease study in China that has been looking for the next likely source of an outbreak. The NIH withdrew a highly rated five-year, $3 million grant for a bat disease study f​rom​ ​the expert U.S. zoonotic disease team, the ​EcoHealth Alliance​, because a minor part of their grant included collaborating with a Chinese research institute. ​

Mr. Trump’s ​desire to​ punish China led to this ill-informed example of cutting off our nose to spite our face. We will have less predictive knowledge about the next pandemic, and even ​our​ knowledge of the present coronavirus outbreak has suffered because of this grant being tampered with​. The Biden administration should add ​fully ​restoring ​a ​​robust ​cooperative ​zoonotic disease ​research​ program​ with China to its agenda. Both countries will benefit.”