GOP Lawmakers Demand Investigation Into US Government Ties to Wuhan Virus Lab


Dozens of Republican members of Congress wrote a letter to Christi Grimm, acting inspector general of the National Institutes of Health, demanding a “prompt and thorough investigation” into the NIH’s relationship with a Chinese virology lab in Wuhan.

The 28 lawmakers demanded Grimm investigate the total amount of funding the Wuhan Institute of Virology has received from the NIH, as well as whether any NIH officials communicated with the lab or its U.S. sponsor at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic to quell debate surrounding the theory that the virus could have accidentally escaped from the lab.

Researchers at the WIV were studying bat coronaviruses prior to the outbreak, a project partially backed by $600,000 in U.S. taxpayer funds routed to the lab through NIH grants from the nonprofit group EcoHealth Alliance.

The president of EcoHealth Alliance, Peter Daszak, was the sole U.S. member of the World Health Organization panel that investigated the pandemic’s origin in China and reported in February that it’s highly unlikely that the coronavirus could have leaked from the lab.

Daszak orchestrated an influential statement published in the Lancet medical journal at the outset of the pandemic that condemned “conspiracy theories” that the coronavirus didn’t have a natural origin.

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A spokesperson for Daszak told The Wall Street Journal in January that Daszak’s statement was meant to protect Chinese scientists from online harassment.

“The NIH, unfortunately, has played a major role in supporting WIV and this treacherous research and the promotion of spurious claims dismissing the NIH-funded lab’s potential role in the COVID-19 pandemic,” the GOP lawmakers wrote to Grimm on Tuesday.

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The lawmakers also said they were “alarmed” to learn that the WIV is still eligible to receive taxpayer funds from the NIH through 2024.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a news conference on Tuesday that the WIV is not currently receiving any taxpayer funds, nor are there any future plans to route funds to the lab.

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