GOP report on origins of COVID-19 builds on lab leak theory – .

GOP report on origins of COVID-19 builds on lab leak theory – .

A Republican House lawmaker’s investigation into the origins of COVID-19 raises fears that the pandemic outbreak stems from a genetically modified virus that has leaked from the Institute of Virology in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the disease was first detected in December 2019.
representing Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaul Afghan evacuees will be accommodated at the Virginia base. (R-Texas), the prominent member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Monday released a third installment of its investigation into the origins of the virus and the Chinese government’s missteps in Beijing by alerting the world to the risks of the pandemic.

The GOP investigation parallels efforts by the Biden administration and the international community to determine the origins of the pandemic outbreak, which has killed more than 4.2 million people worldwide, infected nearly 200 million and upset global stability.

Public health advocates who support efforts to determine the origin of the virus say such an investigation is essential to take action to reduce the risk of another pandemic.

But national security experts have also expressed concern that the United States must discipline China for failing to promptly and cooperatively alert the international community to the virus outbreak and its continued obstruction of the investigation of the virus. origins of COVID-19.

“The Biden administration has already – in collaboration with the WHO and with the G7 and with other countries – used diplomacy and tried to urge the Chinese to cooperate. They gave us their answer, their answer is no, ”said Anthony Ruggiero, senior researcher at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

” And after? The Biden administration has not explained how it will get China to cooperate and if it doesn’t cooperate, what it will do about it. Plus, they haven’t really explained how this issue fits into the larger US-China relationship, ”Ruggiero added.

McCaul, in statements alongside the report’s release, called on Congress to pass legislation sanctioning Wuhan lab scientists and Chinese Communist Party officials who were determined to have hampered efforts to respond to the pandemic quickly and effectively.

McCaul also calls on the House Foreign Affairs Committee to subpoena Peter Daszak, an American scientist who has come under scrutiny for his links to the Wuhan lab and his involvement in publishing a letter. opened in February 2020 which dismissed the laboratory theory as a xenophobic distraction from the pandemic response.

The letter, which was published in the Lancet medical journal, has since been criticized as an attempt to distract from China’s responsibility for the virus outbreak.

“Now is the time to use all the tools the US government has at its disposal to continue to uncover the whole truth about the birth of this virus,” McCaul said.

“This includes Peter Daszak’s summons to appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to answer the many questions that his inconsistent – and in some cases outright and knowingly inaccurate – statements have raised. It also includes the passing of a law by Congress to sanction WIV scientists. [Wuhan Institute of Virology] and PCC [Chinese Communist Party] officials who participated in this cover-up. It was the biggest cover-up of all time and caused the deaths of over four million people around the world, and people must be held accountable. “

The Republican report doubles down on the idea that the virus likely emerged from the Wuhan lab, a theory that has gained increasing legitimacy although it did not gain much ground at the start of the pandemic.

The so-called “lab leak theory” is the idea that the virus emerged from the Wuhan science lab either due to a series of missteps and lax security procedures or due to military tampering. and Chinese government.

The Chinese government and scientists at the Wuhan lab have dismissed the claims and argue that the earliest cases are likely from animal-to-human transmission in a wet market in Wuhan city.

“As we continue to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, I think it’s time to completely dismiss the wet market as the source of the outbreak. Instead, as this report presents, a preponderance of evidence proves that all roads lead to the WIV [Wuhan Institute of Virology] McCaul said in a statement.

The Republican report, which is based on open source material and draws conclusions from circumstantial reports, also raises concerns that the lab was conducting “gain-of-function” research in a dangerous, controversial medical research where scientists genetically modify a bacteria or virus. to make it more contagious in order to study better preventive measures.

“We know that gain-of-function research was going on at the WIV and we know it was being done under hazardous conditions,” McCaul said.

State Department cable leaks from 2018 documented that U.S. diplomats raised concerns about the Wuhan lab’s security and management procedures that have not reached the level necessary for the lab’s status as BSL-4, the highest level of safety in international biological research. The cables were first reported by the Washington Post in April 2020.…

The Republican report adds to this by raising concerns about the ongoing maintenance and renovation at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the adjacent laboratory, the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, related to its hazardous waste treatment system and to its air conditioning systems while conducting coronavirus research. Such cases took place in the months leading up to the first known cases of COVID-19, the report says.

Investigators are also offering an alternate timeline of the virus outbreak, suggesting that the first cases occurred in August or September 2019, and not mid-November, as other reports have suggested.

The Republican report also raises concerns that scientists at the Wuhan lab, including researchers in the United States, have the ability to modify genetically modified viruses without leaving any trace that they have been tampered with.

“An American scientist, Dr. Ralph Baric, helped create a method to leave no trace of genetic modification as early as 2005,” the report said. “And as early as 2017, scientists working at WIV were able to do the same. This clearly shows that the claims of the scientific community that SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] could not be man-made because it has no markers of genetic modification are spurious.

They cite, among other things, a 2020 interview Baric gave to an Italian TV station, where he says: “You can create a virus without leaving a trace. The answers you seek, however, can only be found in the Wuhan lab records. ”

The authors of the report do not claim to have a smoking gun to definitively prove their claims, but raise the broader imperative of crafting a legislative response to pandemic preparedness and of imposing a cost on China for the epidemic of virus.

As scientists and intelligence officials increasingly rallied around the theory that the likely epicenter of the pandemic outbreak was the Wuhan laboratory – in addition to the theory that the virus chain stemmed from from human contact with an infected animal – they played down the suggestion that the virus was genetically modified.

President BidenJoe BidenSupreme Court and blind partisans end illusion of independent agencies Missed debt ceiling deadline launches high-stakes fight Senate infrastructure talks spill over rare Sunday session MORE has set a September deadline for the intelligence community to deliver more definitive conclusions regarding the two theories, although its senior intelligence officials have warned that such a determination is unlikely without Chinese cooperation.

« [The reality is] that the Chinese government was not transparent, did not fully cooperate with the WHO investigation initially, and it was suggested more recently that it would also refuse to cooperate in a follow-up. And it is deeply regrettable ”, declared the director of the CIA William BurnsWilliam Burns Havana Syndrome: Is It Safe To Serve? CIA watchdog to review handling of ‘Havana syndrome’ cases The Hill’s Morning Report – Pelosi plans to add GOP voices to January 6 panel MORE said in an interview with NPR last week.


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