E&C Republicans Issue Final Warning to Becerra to Cooperate with Investigation of Risky Mpox Experiments
Administration refuses to produce documents related to
supercharged pathogen experiments
Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), on behalf of the Health and Oversight Subcommittees’ Republicans, today wrote to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra.
As part of an ongoing investigation, their letter requests a voluntary videotaped, transcribed interview with Dr. Bernard Moss, a leading pox virus researcher at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), regarding reported experiments he has conducted or proposed to supercharge strains of the mpox virus.
In November 2022, Energy & Commerce Republicans, then in the minority, launched an investigation into a proposed NIAID mpox virus enhancement experiment, which has reportedly made the disease 1000 percent more lethal in mice. Dr. Moss discussed the experiment in an interview with Science magazine. According to an article in the October 19, 2022, Science magazine, scientists were alarmed about these mpox experiments, and that an outbreak strain lab escape could spark a substantially more deadly mpox epidemic.
The Chairs, now in the majority, reopened the investigation in March 2023, also providing a notice to preserve all documents and communications related to the topic.
Following an inadequate response from HHS that simply stated that the study “has not been formally proposed, and NIAID has no plans to move forward with this research,” the Chairs requested a videotaped, transcribed interview with Dr. Moss in May 2023. The Chairs noted “Dr. Moss has been with the NIH since 1966, is one of the leading authorities on pox viruses, and one of the NIH’s most accomplished researchers. He has received numerous awards and prizes. […] The admission that he did not formally propose this research, and the NIAID has no plans to pursue it seems extraordinary. It seems unlikely that Dr. Moss changed his mind. On the other hand, it is hard to believe the NIAID has apparently overruled one of its most highly respected scientists.”
HHS sent a response on June 30, 2023, attaching a letter purportedly written by Dr. Moss. However, the explanation in the letter raised more questions and inconsistencies. HHS and NIH have so far not produced any requested documents.
KEY LETTER EXCERPT:
“It is vital for the committee to get a full understanding about how such risky research proposals are developed and overseen to support our legislative efforts in pandemic preparedness and protection of public health.”
“In the event one of the above dates is not selected, the Committee will be forced to consider compulsory process to secure Dr. Moss’s attendance.”
CLICK HERE to read the letter.