E&C Republicans Release Interim Staff Report on NIH Misconduct and Inadequate Oversight Involving Taxpayer-Funded Risky MPXV Research that Jeopardizes Public Health Security

Washington, D.C. — The House Energy and Commerce Committee today released a report titled “Interim Staff Report into Risky MPXV Experiment at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.” 

The report details the Committee’s investigation, which was launched following a 2022 Science magazine interview in which Dr. Bernard Moss of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) revealed that he was planning to insert segments of a lethal strain of MPXV (formerly known as “monkeypox”) into a more a transmissible strain of the virus. This proposed experiment alarmed some scientists concerned about the risks of creating an enhanced version of the MPXV virus. 

For nearly a year and a half, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the NIH, and NIAID misrepresented and deceived the Committee by repeatedly denying that the potentially dangerous experiment was proposed and approved. However, after being pressed repeatedly by Committee Leaders, HHS ultimately admitted Dr. Moss’s research team had been granted approval to conduct a bidirectional MPVX gene-transfer experiment (i.e., inserting the more lethal strain into the more transmissible strain and vice versa). Documents made available for review to Committee staff confirmed the 2015 approval of the experiment and raised additional concerns.  

HHS, the NIH, and NIAID still maintain the riskier research project was never conducted. However, no documentation or any other evidence has been produced to substantiate the claim. NIAID has also failed to offer any explanation of the circumstances and rationale that supposedly led the Moss research team to drop the bidirectional mpox gene-transfer experiment after receiving approval for the project. 

The report concludes with a series of recommendations related to biosecurity to ensure future transparency and accountability related to risky research like this.

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) released the following statement regarding the report: 

“In order to start rebuilding trust in our government health agency guidance, agencies like the NIH must be honest and transparent with Congress and the American people. This report demonstrates a disturbing lack of judgment and accountability from HHS, the NIH, and particularly, NIAID. It is unacceptable and demonstrates the clear need for reform.” 

CLICK HERE to read the full report. 


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