Oversight Subcommittee Hearing on COVID Origins Reaffirms Lab Leak Theory and Media Malfeasance

Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) (Credit: GOP Oversight/YouTube)

On Wednesday, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic held a hearing regarding the origins of COVID-19.

The subcommittee consists of nine Republicans and seven Democrats, with Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) serving as the chairman and Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA) as the ranking member. Wednesday’s witnesses included former CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, M.D., Senior Fellow for The Atlantic Council Dr. Jamie Metzl, Ph.D., and Nicholas Wade, former Science and Health Editor for the New York Times. Paul G. Auwerter, M.D., MBA, Clinical Director for the Division of Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine also testified on behalf of the minority.


Full video of the roughly three-hour hearing can be found below, but the subcommittee shared some of the key takeaways from Wednesday’s testimony.

  • Knowing the origin of COVID is vital to predicting & preventing future pandemics
  • Mounting evidence shows it may have come from a Wuhan lab leak
  • The mainstream media downplayed this scientific theory

Of course, none of the above comes as much of a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention over the past three years — certainly not to readers here. RedState has written extensively on the likelihood that the virus leaked from a lab in Wuhan and the reluctance of the mainstream/legacy media to delve into that possibility, as well as the extraordinary lengths the government and Big Tech went to in order to suppress discussion of the topic.

Still, seeing the matter testified to and fleshed out before a congressional hearing is at least somewhat gratifying. The Oversight Committee provided a wrap-up of the hearing, noting some of the key testimony.


Regarding the Importance of Determining the Origin of the Virus

Dr. Jamie Metzl, Ph.D., senior fellow at the Atlantic Council said in an opening statement, “If we do not get to the bottom of what went wrong with the COVID-19 pandemic, if we fail in our efforts to fearlessly understand all shortcomings and shore up the vulnerabilities this crisis has so clearly exposed, the victims of the next pandemic, our children and grandchildren, will ask us why we failed to protect when we knew what was at stake and had the chance.”

Regarding the Mounting Evidence Pointing Toward the Lab in Wuhan as the Origin

Dr. Robert Redfield, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), testified how science indicates COVID-19 infections were likely the result of an accidental lab leak in Wuhan. His conclusion is based on the biology of the virus itself and unusual actions in and around Wuhan in 2019, including gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Colo.) and Dr. Redfield discussed unusual actions at the WIV in September 2019.

Rep. Lesko: “Do you believe we can have certainty that the virus did not come from the Wuhan lab and that U.S. funding was not used for coronavirus research?”

Dr. Redfield: “Absolutely we cannot do that. It’s now declassified now, but in September 2019, three things happened in that lab. One, they deleted the sequences. That is highly irregular—researchers don’t usually like to do that. Second, they commanded the command and control of the lab from civilian control to military control. Highly unusual. And the third thing they did, which I think is really telling, is they let a contractor re-do the ventilation system in that laboratory. There is strong evidence there was a significant event in that laboratory in September 2019.”


Regarding the Mainstream Media’s Insistence on Downplaying the Lab Leak Theory

Nicholas Wade testified about the campaign to discredit the lab leak theory. He pointed out that scientists kept in line with the natural origin camp led by Drs. Fauci and Collins because of their dependence on government grants and that the media failed to challenge the forced narrative.

Chairman Comer: “Would you agree that the scientific establishment used the media to downplay the lab leak theory?”

Mr. Wade: “I think the media was used in this particular campaign to establish the natural origin theory.

“The scientific community is very afraid to speak up on political issues. I think the reason is that government grants are handed out through the system of peer-reviewed committees. You don’t want any single scientist on your peer-review committee to vote against, because you won’t get your grant – it’s so competitive. Therefore, scientists are very reluctant to say anything that’s politically divisive or turn other scientists off against them. This means that they cannot be relied upon in the way that we would like them to be independent and forthright and call it as they see it.”

Comer: “Was there science available to make such an unequivocal statement against the possibility of a lab leak that early on in February of 2020?”

Witnesses Dr. Metzl, Mr. Wade, and Dr. Redfield all answered, “No.”

Comer: “Is the possibility COVID-19 leaked from a lab a conspiracy theory?”

Witnesses answered, “No.”


Regarding Gain of Function Research Being Conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and Funding of Same

Subcommittee Chairman Wenstrup: “In your expert opinion was the Wuhan Institute conducting gain-of-function research on a batch of coronaviruses?”

Dr. Redfield: “Absolutely.”

Rep. Malliotakis also warned that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) may have been funding gain-of-function research on coronaviruses at the WIV.

Rep. Malliotakis: “Is it likely that American tax dollars funded the gain-of-function research that created this virus?”

Dr. Redfield: I think it did, not only from NIH, but from the State Department, USAID and DOD.”

Subcommittee Chairman Brad Wenstrup offered a prepared statement during the hearing which can be found here. He concluded his remarks with this:

These are some of the facts as we know them. But there is so much more to do.

We are here today to try to understand what and why.

It is important to conduct this investigation.

Discovering the origins is vital.

It matters for the future of the world.

And we aren’t finished. We are just beginning.

There will be more hearings. And more inquiries. And more documents discovered.

We will follow every lead.

They’d better.



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