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NEWS on the COVID-19 Origins Investigation


06.15.21

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce are continuing our push for a complete, scientific investigation into the origins of COVID-19. Below is our latest actions, more information on what we’ve learned, and top media coverage.

  • Read the letter to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky requesting a comprehensive investigation to determine a more accurate date of the earliest COVID-19 cases in the U.S. This will also provide new data to calculate the approximate date of the first cases in China. With China blocking access to information, relevant medical records, and patient samples, this strategy of tracing back America’s first cases may be the best shot to draw these key conclusions around the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Read the new letter to National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins raising serious concerns about NIH grant oversight of its awards to EcoHealth Alliance and seeking NIH’s public release of grant reports and related documents to inform a complete, scientific, investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. This examination of the NIH’s documents will help examine the NIH’s spending policies and what funds may have gone to the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s work of bat coronavirus research via EcoHealth Alliance.
  • CLICK HERE for a comprehensive summary of all actions E&C Republicans have taken to inform the COVID-19 Origins Investigation.

DON’T MISS THIS COVERAGE

As reported by the Christian Science Monitor, this is why we are investigating how this pandemic started:

House Republicans are urging Democrats to join them in getting answers and holding China accountable, something they say is owed to the families of the more than 600,000 Americans and 3 million global citizens whose deaths have been attributed to COVID-19.

[…]

GOP members of Congress are encouraged, however, that in a recent hearing, Rep. Diana DeGette, the Democratic chair of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, affirmed her support for an investigation, including into whether the virus escaped from a lab. She said she had already spoken with Rep. Morgan Griffith, her Republican counterpart on the subcommittee and a co-author of the letters Representative Rodgers sent to the NIH and State Department. “I agree, I think it’s very important,” said Representative DeGette of Colorado. “We’re going to do whatever investigation is appropriate.”

WATCH Leader Griffith on FOX Business

Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Republican Leader Morgan Griffith (R-VA) spoke with Elizabeth MacDonald on FOX Business about the COVID-19 origins investigation, including about information the Committee is seeking from EcoHealth Alliance.

In addition to his interview on FOX Business, read Rep. Griffith’s column by CLICKING HERE.

KEY EXCERPT: Two theories now dominate speculation about the development of the coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan in 2019. The first is that it passed from an animal to humans naturally, possibly through a creature sold in one of the city’s wet markets. The other is that the coronavirus escaped due to a laboratory leak from the nearby Wuhan Institute of Virology. Work conducted at the Wuhan laboratory included studies on coronaviruses in bats, the likely culprit for COVID-19.

On Tuesday, June 8, CBS News reported exclusively on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s letter to CDC Director Walensky:

Republicans on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce are asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate early possible COVID-19 cases and blood work in the U.S. to determine whether the virus was present in the country earlier than current estimates.

Specifically, committee Republicans sent a letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky asking the CDC to use the most accurate tests available to test more blood samples from 2019 and investigate early unexplained deaths to determine if the virus was in the country earlier than December 13, 2019. The request is part of committee Republicans’ investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

The Chinese government hasn’t been forthright with U.S. and international investigators, and the GOP lawmakers reason that a better understanding of when cases first arrived in the U.S. will help investigators better determine an origin timeline in China. Committee Republicans are particularly interested in whether a potential accidental lab leak led to the COVID-19 outbreak that has caused the deaths of millions worldwide.

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a second letter to NIH Director Collins, on Thursday, June 10, asking NIH to produce grant reports and related documents to inform a complete, scientific investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NIHs grant policy explains that documents for awarded grants are mostly public record. These records include important details about the research, including financial accounting records, research progress and lists all participants. We want them to work with us to put them in the public domain to inform a complete, scientific investigation of COVID-19 origins.

As a federal cognizant grant-making agency that funded bat coronavirus research at the WIV through EHA awards, NIH is in a unique position to share publicly detailed research reports in its possession. Importantly, NIH has full access to EHA records and EHA has refused to cooperate with our inquiry. Therefore, it is critical for NIH to cooperate with our objective fact-finding investigation as we continue to collect data about U.S. funded bat coronavirus research.

The Republicans on Energy and Commerce ask asking for reports and documents related to:

  • NIH’s recent Award of over $2 million to EHA Despite its Current Grant Suspension
  • NIH’s Inadequate Oversight of EHA’s Other Support from U.S. Agencies other than NIH
  • NIH’s Inadequate Oversight of EHA’s Delinquent Financial Reports
  • NIH’s Possible Funding of EHA for Duplicative Research in China
  • NIH’s Inadequate Reconciliation of EHA’s Grant Subawards
  • NIH’s Inadequate Oversight to Ensure EHA’s Place of Performance Reporting in China
  • NIH’s Lack of Visibility into EHA’s Grant Subawards of NIH Funds
  • NIH’s Inadequate Oversight of EHA’s Grant Fund Accounting and Eligibility
  • NIH’s Inadequate Oversight of Its Funded Researchers in China
  • NIH’s Lack of Cooperation with Committee’s Congressional Oversight Inquiry

This second letter to the NIH asks the agency to prepare complete answers to our March 18 letter and to respond to these new concerns about NIH grant oversight.

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