TRUTH BEHIND PA DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE’S
CWD GRANT DEBACLE
In May 2019, representatives of the North American CWD Project (NACWD Project) successfully negotiated that a minimum of $1 million would be placed in the upcoming 2019-20 Pennsylvania state budget for the project’s rapid-response research to develop diagnostic test kits and vaccines in about a year for controlling chronic wasting disease (CWD). The funding request was sponsored by Representative David Maloney and approved by the House, Senate, and Governor. Unfortunately, instead of being awarded to the NACWD Project as had been the original intent of the funding, the money was redirected to the PA Department of Agriculture which issued a request-for-proposals (RFP) from anyone who wished to apply for research grants from this money that, again, had been originally intended for a specific purpose.
The NACWD Project was created in early 2019 to advance the research of Dr. Frank Bastian that a previously undiscovered bacterium in the scientific genus Spiroplasma was the real cause of CWD. The project is directed by John Eveland and administered by his Pennsylvania-based nonprofit organization. Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania joined in the project and a private laboratory was established in Louisiana. Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League is a partner with USP, and other Pennsylvania-based organizations including Pennsylvania State Camp Association and Sinnemahoning Sportsmen have continued to provide funding for the lab which is located on the campus of the University of New Orleans.
It should be made clear that the NACWD Project which includes Dr. Bastian’s laboratory is a private project that administers the project and directs operations including research and development at the New Orleans lab, field testing and implementation of test kits and vaccines (first in Pennsylvania as a national pilot program), and the broad-scale distribution of these biomedical products throughout America. The goal of this project and the Pennsylvania grant was to finally control and eradicate CWD after a half century of failed research that has followed the wrong prion-based theory – that a malformed protein was the cause of CWD. Considering that Dr. Bastian had scientifically proven the case that this newly discovered bacterium was the real cause of CWD and that he had also discovered that this bacterium was the cause of human-related diseases, the project is also crucial toward addressing and hopefully preventing and/or curing possibly millions of people who have Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Parkinson’s, ALS, and possibly even Alzheimer’s diseases.
On November 2, 2019, the PA Dept. of Agriculture (PDA) released their request for proposals for CWD research grants which were stated by PDA to be $1 million or more. Therefore, the NACWD Project was required to submit an application for funding that it had successfully negotiated for the budget toward its own research project. The deadline for receiving applications was November 30 at 4 pm. At 12:28 pm on November 29, the NACWD Project submitted their proposal for $1.4 million and complete package of material that included eight pages of standard forms and a 35-page official proposal that identified a blue-ribbon team of expert scientists from multiple universities. These two items are available for public review, and represent a research plan to create in about a year: (1) a diagnostic cervid test kit for detecting CWD in minutes when a hunter harvests a deer and, therefore, preventing them and their families from eating infected venison, (2) a diagnostic human test kit for use by hunters and their families to detect possible infection from eating infected deer, (3) a live-animal test kit to detect the presence of CWD-causing bacteria in living deer, (4) an injectable vaccine that would be most helpful in saving the deer-farming industry, and (5) an oral vaccine as an additive to supplemental feeds that is designed for use in saving free-ranging deer.
PDA had announced that it would take 60 days to evaluate proposals, and at the end of that period announced that funding had been divided among three successful applicants: two for working on a live-animal prion test and another to determine if a dog could be trained to sniff CWD-infected deer feces. The NACWD Project was not provided funding. The Tribune-Review’s Sunday, March 1,2020 headline read, “W.Pa. group left out of $1M in CWD study funds”.
Upon questioning the wisdom of PDA’s decision, PDA responded that the NACWD Project had failed to submit a proposal, that the NACWD Project had not provided all the required items, and that PDA had not received NACWDP’s proposal until someone dropped it off on February 21, 2020. When the Pennsylvania House of Representatives asked PDA for an explanation as to why their originally intended project had received no funding, PDA said that the NACWD Project had failed to submit an application.
However, this statement is in error and there is much more to this story! The NACWD Project has provided proof that their proposal was successfully submitted and received the day before the deadline on November 29, nullifying PDA’s claims that the Dept. of Agriculture had not received the proposal. While an accusation as to the reason for PDA to make such a false claim and refuse funding to the NACWD Project is not made at this time, it is important that this matter is investigated and resolved by the Pennsylvania Legislature and/or other State Government entities.
Considering that CWD continues unabated to spread across the Commonwealth without any means of control by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture or the Pennsylvania Game Commission, that nearly a half century of failed prion-based research has not moved America an inch closer to understanding let alone solving this epidemic, and that a bacterial research program was at hand that had offered to provide vaccine treatments for CWD and hope for curing human-related diseases in the short term, then it is imperative to determine what transpired in PDA’s refusal to award the NACWD Project with crucial funding. This debacle needs to be quickly resolved, and the NACWD Project needs to be provided with full funding as was originally intended. Much is at stake!