E&C Republicans Seek Details on Coronavirus Research After NIH Dodges Question About Risky Activities
Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) today on behalf of the Health and Oversight subcommittee Republican members wrote to Dr. Lawrence Tabak, the senior official who is performing the duties of Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The request comes on the heels of an Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing titled “Biosafety and Risky Research: Examining if Science is Outpacing Policy and Safety,” which was held Thursday, April 27.
- In January 2022, the Chairs requested a list of all proposed, approved, or ongoing research work that NIH is funding in the area of coronaviruses (especially SARS CoV-2), or viruses related to SARS, MERS, or SARS CoV-2.
- In its written response, NIH specifically ignored the question: “Does the research involve virus manipulation, passaging of a virus, genetically modified animals, or making any mutations to a virus?”
The Chairs have expanded their inquiry to include additional information, including:
- Please provide a list of all NIH intramural and extramural coronavirus research studies involving virus manipulation, passaging of a virus, genetically modified animals, or making any mutations to a virus.
- Regarding NIH intramural research, what is the biosafety level of the facility being used for these experiments? What biocontainment measures are being taken with these experiments?
- Regarding NIH-supported extramural research, how does the NIH screen for the biosafety level of the facilities to be used in proposed research?
- Have NIH laboratories introduced any mutations or insertions of genes associated with pathogenesis or transmission into SARS CoV2?
- If so, what were the studies?
- What was the purpose for such studies?
- Can such insertions contribute to increasing pathogenesis or transmission?
- If insertions do contribute to increasing pathogenesis or transmission, please explain.
- Have NIH laboratories introduced mutations or insertions of genes that encode for resistance to medical countermeasures, or increase pathogenesis or transmission in influenza virus or other respiratory viruses or human pathogens?
- If so, what were they?
- What were the reasons for such studies?
CLICK HERE to read the full letter.
CLICK HERE to read more about the Committee’s ongoing investigation into the origins of COVID-19.