Peter Daszak

EXC: Daszak’s Donors are Bankrolling an ‘Independent’ COVID Commission.


The Covid Commission Planning Group – the foremost effort to launch an “independent” inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 – is supported by organizations that have funded the work of longtime Wuhan Institute of Virology partner EcoHealth Alliance.

Entities funding the task force – the Rockefeller Foundation, Skoll Foundation, and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s philanthropic fund – have decades-long ties to Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance. The effort, headquartered at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, is the brainchild of Schmidt, who has also served as Executive Chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet:

The work, which has attracted scant public notice, grew out of a telephone call in October from Eric Schmidt, the philanthropist and former CEO of Google, to Philip D. Zelikow, who was the executive director of the commission that investigated Sept. 11. Schmidt urged Zelikow to put together a proposal to examine the pandemic, which has caused 600,000 deaths in the United States alone.

“If Congress does establish its own commission, Zelikow said, his group would be willing to share its work. But if the government does not act, Schmidt said he was confident that he could raise enough money for the group directed by Zelikow to go forward on its own,” a New York Times profile added.

The committee is comprised of over two dozen scientists and former public officials and seeks to “prepare the way for a national Covid commission.” To do so, it has “debriefed more than 200 experts from a range of disciplines, outlined plans for nine essential task forces, and mapped out dozens of distinct lines of inquiry.”

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Similar to other COVID-19 task forces – including those assembled by the World Health Organization and the Lancet journal – the latest iteration has financial and personell conflicts of interest.

Daszak, who spearheaded the Lancet journal’s bungled efforts to find the origins of COVID-19 before being recused, has enjoyed funding from, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Skoll Foundation on several studies since 2010. and the Skoll Foundation have even funded studies conducted EcoHealth Alliance and Daszak, whose been described by the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s “bat lady” Shi Zhengli as a “longtime collaborator,” on pandemics originating in China.

Daszak is also a central figure to the potential origins of COVID-19, as he funneled taxpayer dollars from Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to collaborate on bat coronavirus research in Wuhan. and the Skoll Foundation – founded by the first president of eBay Jeff Skoll – co-funded a 2010 study on herpes, a 2014 study on henipavirus spillover, and a 2018 study on the “transmission of pathogens with pandemic potential” in China. The 14-page paper’s abstract summarizes:

We report on a study conducted in Guangdong Province, China, to characterize behaviors and perceptions associated with transmission of pathogens with pandemic potential in highly exposed human populations at the animal-human interface. A risk factor/exposure survey was administered to individuals with high levels of exposure to wildlife.

The paper appears to lay the groundwork for the theory that SARS-like coronaviruses could originate in a wet market in a province close to the city of Wuhan – the likely epicenter of COVID-19.

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The Rockefeller Foundation has also funded a 2010 study on flaviviruses in bats and a 2013 study in search of new methodologies to “predict pandemics.” Daszak, who convinced the World Health Organization COVID-19 investigation team it wasn’t necessary to look for 16,000 deleted virus samples from the Wuhan lab, praised the Rockefeller grant as “critical” for identifying outbreaks with “pandemic potential” and collecting “biological samples to test for various pathogens”:

“This research may be critical to rapidly deciding which outbreaks are something completely novel and have pandemic potential, rather than a repeat outbreak of a known pathogen.  It allows public health agencies to target their resources in the most efficient way, and helps protect us from new emerging diseases, which often erupt in remote corners of the Earth where it is sometimes very difficult to obtain vital information, let alone biological samples to test for various pathogens.”

Also on the committee is David Relman, a Fauci-funded researcher who has attended conferences at the Wuhan Institute of Virology focusing on “gain-of-function” research. According to the Wuhan lab, the 2017 event headlined by Relman had five academic sessions, the first of which was “gain of function research, gene editing, targeting and delivery and other novel biotechnology.”

Natalie Winters

Natalie Winters is freelance reporter.

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