Chairs Rodgers, Griffith, and Guthrie Launch E&C’s 118th Congress COVID-19 Origins Investigation
Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) today launched the committee’s investigation into the origins of COVID-19 for the 118th Congress. The members sent letters to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and EcoHealth Alliance for information and documents as well as formally noticing a preservation of documents related to research done at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
“With more than a million American lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, fully examining all available evidence to have a clearer picture of the origins of COVID-19 is one of the greatest public health responsibilities of our lifetime. For the past two years, Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans have been pursuing an in-depth investigation into the early days of SARS-CoV-2 with an emphasis on the virus’ origins,” said Chairs Rodgers, Griffith, and Guthrie. “Despite severely inadequate cooperation to date from the NIH and EcoHealth, we expect greater responsiveness to our Republican majority—either voluntarily or through the Committee’s authority. As we learned in yesterday’s oversight hearing, the stakes are too high with the growing risks of future pandemics for our nation not to unite behind stronger efforts to investigate the origins of pandemics. We will continue to pursue the facts related to how NIH spends taxpayer dollars and to what extent it was involved in potentially dangerous research in a hostile nation within a lab that was not at an adequate biosafety level. Bringing the truth to light is crucial in our efforts to help restore public trust in our government institutions.”
The letters come in the lead up to a February 8, 2023, joint Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and Subcommittee on Health hearing titled: “The Federal Response to COVID-19” at which Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., PhD., Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director at the NIH, is confirmed to testify.
KEY NIH LETTER EXCERPT:
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a catastrophic biological incident resulting so far in the deaths of more than a million Americans and more than 6 million people worldwide. The threat of similar pandemics is increasing. As the Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted, globalization, climate change, and urbanization has increased the probability, intensity, and frequency of catastrophic biological incidents. A study in 2021 found a high probability of observing pandemics similar to COVID-19 (probability of experiencing it in one’s lifetime is 38 percent), which may double in coming decades. The global proliferation of high-containment laboratories has similarly increased the probability of a catastrophic biological incident caused by the escape of a pandemic pathogen.“
CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Dr. Tabak.
KEY ECOHEALTH ALLIANCE LETTER EXCERPT:
“As noted by the NIH and in EcoHealth’s correspondence with NIH, EcoHealth failed to obtain laboratory notebooks and electronic files of transgenic mice experiment(s) conducted by the WIV as a research activity supported by the NIH grant. This material failure violated the NIH grant terms and conditions. There is no evidence that the work from the experiment(s) was ever published. There is no substantiation of the experiment(s) other than the WIV’s assertions to EcoHealth that included inconsistent and incomplete data representations. Thus, there was no scientific work product produced for the American taxpayers who helped finance these efforts, and no useful information to support pandemic preparedness efforts. Further, EcoHealth's lack of monitoring of the WIV research in accordance with NIH grant terms presented additional biosafety risks, raising questions about the possibility that WIV biosafety lapses could have contributed to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
CLICK HERE to read the full letter to EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak.
CLICK HERE to read more about the Energy and Commerce Republicans COVID-19 origins investigation.