Republicans on a House committee on Friday urged for a bipartisan Congressional investigation into the origins of COVID-19, citing stonewalling by China’s communist authorities who have refused to share key information about the outbreak.
On Friday, GOP members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology sent a letter calling for the probe to Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight Chairman Bill Foster.
“If we expect to fully understand the origins of COVID-19, relevant committees of jurisdiction, including the Science Committee, must come together in a bipartisan manner and use our oversight powers to uncover the truth, identify lessons-learned, and establish best practices for future public health challenges,” the members of Congress wrote.
“We owe it to the American people, and the rest of the world, to investigate its origins so that we are better prepared to prevent and respond to future pandemics,” the lawmakers wrote.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
In a statement, the Republican representatives commended the Science Committee for its July 14 Congressional hearing on the virus’ origins but stressed that “more work is needed, particularly in light of the Chinese Communist Party’s refusal to share information about the origins of the outbreak.”
At the hearing, two microbiologists explored a range of theories, with neither ready to dismiss the possibility of a “lab-associated mechanism” and one of them calling attention to the “risky” research being conducted by scientists at a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
Separately, a panel of public health experts recently told a Republican-sponsored congressional forum that the CCP virus “likely originated” in a leak from the Wuhan Institute for Virology and that it had likely been modified through dangerous gain-of-function research.
Chinese officials have rejected the notion that the virus came from a lab and have instead insisted that it made a natural jump from animals to humans. A March report from the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that the virus likely has a natural origin and that the lab leak hypothesis was “extremely unlikely,” although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that more studies are needed, that “all hypotheses remain on the table,” and that “we have not yet found the source of the virus.”
The WHO has called for a follow-up probe into the origins of the virus, including further studies in China along with lab audits, which Chinese officials recently rejected. Zeng Yixin, the vice minister of China’s National Health Commission, said at a recent press conference that he was surprised by the WHO’s request for a team to return to Wuhan, calling the move “not scientific.”
In May, President Joe Biden called on U.S. intelligence officials to investigate the origins of the CCP virus, including the possibility of a lab leak, and to report back in 90 days.
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