It just keeps getting weirder.
In a letter sent to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General Christi Grimm Tuesday, 28 members of Congress are demanding an investigation into what they call “secretive” taxpayer funding by the National Institutes of Health into the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), the lab suspected of being the source of the COVID outbreak. The letter reads in part:
Recently, the Washington Post, which had regularly dismissed the theory that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted from a lab leak at WIV, finally published an editorial board column embracing the lab leak hypothesis and calling for investigation into the research lab that was funded in part with U.S. tax dollars from the NIH.
The Post’s about-face follows growing belief among experts, including the U.S. State Department, that the pandemic that has killed over 500,000 people in the U.S. and 2 million people worldwide may have been caused by dangerous coronavirus research gone awry at the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-run bioagent laboratory.
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 Federalist reports the lawmakers, led by Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa), are seeking answers to a whole list of concerns.
The members of Congress are requesting an investigation into the following questions concerning the NIH’s connections to the Wuhan Institute of Virology:
- When was the NIH first aware that coronavirus experiments were being conducted at WIV with taxpayer funds (via EcoHealth Alliance or otherwise)?
- Did NIH officials review WIV’s coronavirus experiments to assess compliance with Potential Pandemic Pathogen Care and Oversight (P3CO) guidelines?
- When was the NIH first aware of biosafety or other concerns at WIV?
- Was the NIH briefed on the concerns raised by the State Department in 2018 about the potential pandemic risk of WIV’s research?
- Did Dr. Collins or other NIH officials communicate with EcoHealth Alliance and/or WIV to coordinate responses to lab leak allegations?
- When does WIV’s current eligibility to receive NIH funding expire?
- Is WIV currently receiving any NIH support directly or indirectly?
- How much NIH funding — directly or indirectly — has WIV received from the NIH including grants, sub-grants, and other funding sources.
“In 2017, NIH Director Francis Collins personally supported and celebrated the resumption of dangerous taxpayer-funded ‘gain-of-function’ research designed to make viruses more transmissible and fatal,” the letter says. “[E]xperts now claim that WIV’s gain-of-function research could very well have engineered the novel coronavirus that caused the pandemic from a virus collected from bats in caves in China.”
The NIH recently confirmed that the WIV will receive taxpayer funds through January 2024, and has already received $600,000 from 2014 through 2019 to study bat-based coronaviruses.