E&C Leaders Request Top NIH Researcher Sit for Videotaped Interview After Admin Stalls on Providing Lethal Mpox Experiment Documents
Did NIH Know that Decorated Scientist Planned to Conduct Gain-of-Function Research?
Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce 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), on behalf of the Health and Oversight subcommittee Republicans, sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services requesting that the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) top expert on pox viruses sit for a videotaped, transcribed interview regarding the mysterious discontinuation of his proposed experiment to supercharge the mpox virus.
- In a September 2022 Science article, Dr. Bernard Moss of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) discussed a specific mpox project:
- From the article: “Moss has been trying for years to figure out the crucial difference between two variants of monkeypox virus: clade 2, which until recently was found only in West Africa and is now causing the global outbreak, and clade 1, believed to be much deadlier, which has caused outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo for many decades. He’s found that clade 1 virus can kill a mouse at levels 1000 times lower than those needed with clade 2. To find out why, Moss and his colleagues swapped dozens of clade 2 genes, one at a time, into clade 1 virus, hoping to see it become less deadly, but with no luck so far. Now, they are planning to try the opposite, endowing clade 2 virus with genes from its deadlier relative.”
- The effect of the project would be to supercharge the less lethal but much more transmissible variant of the mpox virus that caused the recent U.S. epidemic by combining it with a highly lethal variant found only in the Congo Basin.
- Energy and Commerce Republicans requested in a March 30, 2023, letter documents related to the experiment described in the Science article.
- On April 26, 2023, NIH responded by noting the proposal did not go forward but did not explain how that occurred or how NIH could even be sure that the experiment was not already conducted.
“You informed us that the study discussed by Dr. Moss 'has not been formally proposed, and NIAID has no plans to move forward with this research.' This is a stunning admission. Dr. Moss has been with the NIH since 1966, is one of the leading authorities on pox viruses, and one of the NIH’s most accomplished researchers. He has received numerous awards and prizes. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Microbiology, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and president of the American Society for Virology. Dr. Moss is currently an editor of Virology and a member of several editorial boards. Dr. Moss’s comments to Science indicate to us that he gave the study in question much thought and effort, and that he believed in going forward with the mpox study. The admission that he did not formally propose this research, and the NIAID has no plans to pursue it seems extraordinary. It seems unlikely that Dr. Moss changed his mind. On the other hand, it is hard to believe the NIAID has apparently overruled one of its most highly respected scientists. These circumstances demand a detailed explanation about what happened with this research project publicized by Dr. Moss.”
CLICK HERE to read the full letter.