Physician and Kansas Republican Sen. Roger Marshall led a group of GOP senators to introduce a new bill that would end all federal research grants funding gain of function research on potential pandemic pathogens.
The legislation, called the Viral Gain of Function Research Moratorium Act, is designed to strengthen national security against future potential pandemics following the global consequences of COVID-19.
“It’s outrageous that a comprehensive global investigation on the origins of COVID-19 has still not been carried out, and with mounting evidence pointing towards the labs in Wuhan, additional guardrails on gain-of-function research must be established to make sure nothing like this ever happens again,” Marshall said in a news release regarding the bill.
“For the last decade, Dr. Fauci has funded gain-of-function research on SARS viruses, and until we get to the bottom of the origins of COVID-19, the federal government should not provide another dime in funding for viral gain-of-function research in the name of global health,” he added.
Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst urged lawmakers to pass the legislation to “prevent another pandemic from ever happening again.”
“While Communist China continues to keep the American people and the world in the dark about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wuhan lab-linked organizations like EcoHealth Alliance are failing to tell the truth about U.S. taxpayer money being doled out to fund their dangerous studies on coronaviruses,” Ernst said, according to the release.
“This important effort will block Iowans’ hard-earned tax dollars from funding viral gain-of-function research — and help prevent another pandemic from ever happening again,” she added.
Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, one of the 10 original signers of the bill, also emphasized the need to “prevent another global crisis.”
“Significant evidence suggests that COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which received gain-of-function research grants and funding. Until the origin of this virus can be confirmed, funding for similar research programs should be halted to help prevent another global crisis,” Cotton said in a Tuesday tweet.
Significant evidence suggests that COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which received gain-of-function research grants. Until the origin of this virus can be confirmed, funding for similar research programs should be halted.https://t.co/MAQcqCzcXy
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) October 19, 2021
“Even as Dr. Fauci denies it, there is strong evidence COVID-19 started in a lab in Wuhan,” Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, another signer of the letter, wrote, according to the release.
“However, if we have learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that risky virus enhancing research — like the type conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, also funded by the U.S. government — is an unnecessary form of science that could lead to the death of millions of people.
“The Viral Gain of Function Research Moratorium Act puts a stop to federal research grants to universities and organizations that participate in this type of research, ensuring that taxpayer money will no longer be used to fund deadly manmade viruses,” he added.
In September, Marshall, along with Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn, sent a letter to National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins to discover answers to questions regarding the origins of COVID-19.
The senators specifically requested answers regarding the NIH’s data retention policies for the Sequence Read Archive, the largest public database for DNA sequencing data. The NIH deleted coronavirus gene sequences data following a request from Wuhan University.
“[O]n June 28, 2021, we wrote to you requesting answers to seven questions pertaining to the NIH’s role and responsibility with respect to the Sequence Read Archive (SRA) relating to COVID-19 data. On September 8, 2021, your office provided a response that failed to fully and completely answer all seven questions and failed to provide the requested records,” the senators wrote.
“[A]s we have made clear to you, Congress has a constitutional responsibility to engage in oversight of the executive branch and the executive branch has an obligation to Congress and the American people to substantively respond,” they added.
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