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Forum Forum Date:June 29, 2021 12:00 am U.S. Capitol

Origins Forum Wrap Up: The Science Points to a Lab Leak

WASHINGTON—Today, Republican Whip and Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Ranking Member Steve Scalise (R-La.), House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.), and Republican lawmakers held a forum entitled “Led By Science: The COVID-19 Origin Story.” At the forum, the Republican lawmakers heard from Members of Congress who have been investigating the virus’ origins as well as expert witnesses about the mounting evidence showing the virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). Panelists agreed the science points to a lab leak.

Key Takeaways

There is mounting scientific evidence that COVID-19 originated from the WIV in Wuhan, China and gain of function research was used to make the virus more infectious.  

  • Dr. Steven Quay, Founder of Atossa Therapeutics, testified there are six undisputed facts that support the hypothesis of gain of function acceleration and a lab leak. He also debunked the theory the virus originated from a wet market.
  • Dr. Richard Muller, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California Berkeley, testifiedevery scientific test that distinguishes between the animal to human and lab leak origins theories produces results that highly favor the lab origin. Muller emphasized that he has found no credible evidence that favors zoonotic origin.
  • Dr. Brett Giroir, former Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, testified the most likely origin of COVID-19 was an accidental infection of laboratory personnel from the WIV, with secondary transmission to the local population, and subsequent spread to hundreds of millions of people around the world.
  • Devin Nunes, the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, recently released a report and testified there is no substantive evidence supporting the theory that the virus was transferred from animal to human and there were multiple warnings about safety at the Wuhan lab, beginning as far back as 2017.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took malicious actions to conceal the origins of COVID-19 and the World Health Organization (WHO) is complicit in its cover-up.

  • Michael McCaul, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, outlined how Communist China detained doctors in order to silence them, disappeared journalists, destroyed lab samples, hid the fact there was clear evidence of human-to-human transmission, and refused to allow a real investigation into the virus’ origins.
  • Dr. David Asher, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, testified that it’s past time to impose costs on Beijing for its systematic intransigence, indifference, inaction, cover-up, and blatant disregard for international treaty obligations.
  • Ranking Member Nunes underscored that China has prevented a full and complete investigation into the origins of COVID-19. He outlined how China engages in gain of function research at the WIV and that the People’s Liberation Army reportedly conducts secret scientific research at the WIV.
  • Dr. Giroir stated the WHO cannot be relied upon to do an authoritative investigation, because it is a multilateral organization with no authority to do anything in China that is not directly approved by the Chinese Communist Party.

Congress must provide leadership in the COVID origins investigation, but Democrats have refused to participate in Republican efforts to hold the CCP accountable.

  • Dr. Giroir and Dr. Asher called on Congress to provide leadership for a full, complete, and transparent investigation.
  • Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) outlined several actions to take now to aid the origins investigation, including the declassification of intelligence, issue a subpoena to EcoHealth Alliance for all information related to their work with the WIV, run an audit of any taxpayer dollars that may have gone to the WIV, and continue the investigation into potential biological weapons convention violations.
  • Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called for more transparency from the Biden Administration, especially whether the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded gain of function research at the WIV. 
  • Republicans have repeatedly called on Democrats to investigate the origins of COVID-19, but they have refused.