After Uncovering Earliest-Known SARS-CoV-2 Sequence, E&C Republicans Press NIH for Possible Additional GenBank COVID Submissions

Washington, D.C. — This past January, House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans revealed the earliest known SARS-CoV-2 sequence released outside of China, calling in to question China’s transparency.

In a new letter, Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) have requested National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Monica Bertagnolli provide the files of all SARS-CoV-2 submissions to GenBank prior to January 10, 2020. Any such data would better inform the Committee’s ongoing investigation into the origins of COVID-19.


“We were dismayed to learn that the NIH had received eight pages of genetic code and a nearly complete version of the genetic sequence for SARS-CoV-2, almost two weeks before the sequence was made public. However, the NIH apparently had no situational awareness in early January 2020 about this genetic code while high-level officials in our government were attempting to get the sequence, including directly from the Chinese government. 

“The circumstances suggest the possibility that there may be other early versions of the SARS CoV-2 sequence that were submitted to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI’s) Genbank but were not posted. Since such potential submissions could provide clues about the timing of the pandemic and how SARS CoV-2 was evolving at the beginning of the pandemic, there is a strong public interest to conduct further due diligence to check GenBank for such submissions.” 


January 17, 2024: E&C Investigation Uncovers Earliest Known SARS-CoV-2 Sequence Released Outside of China 

September 28, 2023: E&C Republicans Signal Intent to Issue Subpoenas as Biden Admin Stonewalls Crucial Investigations into Government Health Agency Actions 

August 9, 2023: E&C Presses Unresponsive NIH for Answers about COVID Origins and Risky Research Projects 

May 3, 2023: E&C Republicans Seek Data and Documents from NIH on Early COVID Cases