Washington, D.C. — In today’s edition of Science, 18 scientists joined in an open letter entitled, “Investigate the origins of COVID-19.” House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Health Republican Leader Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Republican Leader Morgan Griffith (R-VA), released a statement supporting the scientific community leaders who called for a dispassionate science-based investigation into the pandemic origins.
“Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee remain dedicated to leading the way in pursuit of the truth behind the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic is the public health question of our time. To prevent future global pandemics, it is imperative we fully understand how this one began.”
“We are grateful these scientific leaders are speaking out on this matter and hope that others, including experts within the National Institutes of Health, will begin researching the virus’ origins. We must be willing to examine whether this pandemic started due to natural origins or a laboratory leak. This is a matter of common ground and shared purpose. We look forward to working with them and all who will follow the science in order to complete this investigation. We need less opinions and more data.”
KEY: The scientists who joined the open letter include many who have conducted extensive research in microbiology, including coronaviruses, such as Dr. Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina, who has a history of collaboration with the Wuhan Institute of Virology. These experts are calling for all possibilities to be examined to learn how the pandemic began. The letter highlights how Chinese doctors, scientists, citizens and journalists shared crucial information with the world — often at substantial personal cost and under threats from the Chinese government — about how the virus spread at the beginning of the outbreak and how that same determination should be given towards pursuing a science-based investigation into the Covid origins.
“As scientists with relevant expertise, we agree with the WHO director-general, the United States and 13 other countries, and the European Union that greater clarity about the origins of this pandemic is necessary and feasible to achieve,” the scientists’ letter says. “We must take hypotheses about both natural and laboratory spillovers seriously until we have sufficient data. A proper investigation should be transparent, objective, data-driven, inclusive of broad expertise, subject to independent oversight, and responsibly managed to minimize the impact of conflicts of interest. Public health agencies and research laboratories alike need to open their records to the public.”
The Open Letter Contributing Scientists are: Jesse D. Bloom, Yujia Alina Chan, Ralph S. Baric, Pamela J. Bjorkman, Sarah Cobey, Benjamin E. Deverman, David N. Fisman, Ravindra Gupta, Akiko Iwasaki, Marc Lipsitch, Ruslan Medzhitov, Richard A. Neher, Rasmus Nielsen, Nick Patterson, Tim Stearns, Erik van Nimwegen, Michael Worobey, and David A. Relman.
CLICK HERE to read the open letter.
CLICK HERE for information on E&C Republican’s leadership on The Covid-19 Origins Investigation.