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Anthony Fauci emails: Who is Peter Daszak? Expert thanked doc for denying Wuhan lab theory

Peter Daszak, who had collaborated with the director at Wuhan Institute of Technology, Shi Zhengli, thanked Dr Anthony Fauci for supporting the 'bat-to-human' virus origin theory
Peter Daszak and Anthony Fauci (Twitter, Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Peter Daszak and Anthony Fauci (Twitter, Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In the wake of the Fauci email leak, another name has come to light in connection with US funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Peter Daszak, the president of EcoHealth Alliance, had thanked Dr Anthony Fauci for publicly dismissing the Wuhan lab-leak theory in an April 2020 email, published by BuzzFeed. EcoHealth Alliance is the organization that granted $3.4 million funding from the National Institutes of Health to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). 

Daszak has always denied the Wuhan lab-leak theory. He has vehemently refuted allegations that the Covid-19 virus was the product of an experiment and originally was leaked from the WIV, before creating a worldwide pandemic. However, in his mail to Fauci dated April 18, 2020, Daszak wrote, “I just wanted to say a personal thank you on behalf of our staff and collaborators, for publicly standing up and stating that the scientific evidence supports a natural origin for Covid-19 from a bat-to-human spillover, not a lab release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology."


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Dr. Anthony Fauci (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Who is Peter Daszak?

The British zoologist and disease ecology expert was a member of the WHO team sent to China to probe the origin of the novel coronavirus. Daszak had previously collaborated with Shi Zhengli for many years, who is the director at Wuhan Institute of Technology. His nonprofit organization EcoHealth Alliance helps support several public health programs across the globe and facilitates, specifically targeted actions on pandemic prevention. 

Daszak holds a PhD in parasitic infectious diseases from the University of East London. He started his career at the School of Life Sciences at Kingston University, before moving to the US. There he worked at the Institute of Ecology at University of Georgia, followed by the National Center of Infectious Diseases. With commendable success in his field, Daszak became the executive director at Consortium for Conservation Medicine. He also held adjunct positions at top universities of the UK and USA.  

Peter Daszak (TEDMED)

Peter Daszak's research primarily centered around conservation medicine and is one of the early proponents of the concept. He has investigated and predicted the impact of new diseases on human population, wildlife, and livestock. As a matter of fact, he has been involved in extensive research on past epidemics like Nipah virus, Hendra virus, SARS-1, Avian influenza, and West Nile virus. 

Since 2014, Daszak has led a project on the emergence of novel zoonotic coronaviruses (CoV) that originate from bats. After the breakout of the Covid-19 virus in China, he wrote an op-ed article in February 2020 for New York Times, where he stated that he had warned WHO experts about the next pandemic. The pandemic would be "caused by an unknown, novel pathogen that hadn't yet entered the human population," he claimed to have said back in 2018, naming it Disease X. 

Did Covid-19 come from a lab leak?

A recent paper published by scientists Angus Dalgleish and Birger Sørensen claimed that Covid-19 was made by China in Wuhan Lab. Now, the leakage of Fauci's emails and the mail sent to him by Daszak, has urged many to suspect a conspiracy behind the pandemic.  

Daszak and his nonprofit EcoHealth had been researching coronavirus in China for quite a while, even prior to the pandemic. In May 2020, it emerged that the Trump administration had abruptly frozen the funding for his research. "President Donald Trump alleged – without providing evidence – that the pandemic virus had escaped from a Chinese laboratory supported by the NIH grant, and vowed to end the funding," claimed an article published in the journal Science. 

In his April 18 mail to Fauci, Daszak further added, "From my perspective, your comments are brave, and coming from your trusted voice, will help dispel the myths being spun around the virus’s origins." He received a reply as well from the Chief Medical Advisor, who wrote, "Many thanks for your kind note.” Though Fauci had consistently maintained the natural origin theory of the coronavirus, in May 2021 he stated that he was 'not convinced' the virus developed naturally.