H/T: American Everyman
IIn 2017 the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) launched a $6.5 million project on bats and coronaviruses in Western Asia (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Jordan) with the Lugar Center being the local laboratory for this genetic research. The duration of the program is 5 years and has been implemented by the non-profit US organisation Eco Health Alliance.
The project’s objectives are: 1. Capture and non-lethally sample 5,000 bats in 5-year period (2017-2022) 2. Collect 20,000 samples (i.e. oral, rectal swabs and/or feces, and blood) and screen for coronaviruses using consensus PCR at regional labs in Georgia and Jordan. According to the project presentation, Eco Health Alliance already sampled 270 bats of 9 species in three Western Asian countries: 90 individual bats in Turkey (Aug 2018), Georgia (Sept 2018), and Jordan (Oct 2018).
Coincidentally, the same Pentagon contractor tasked with the US DoD bat-research program – Eco Health Alliance, USA, also collected bats and isolated coronaviruses along with Chinese scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. EcoHealth Alliance received a $3.7 million grant from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to collect and study coronaviruses in bats in China from 2014 to 2019.