Marshall, Colleagues Call on Biden White House to Reinstate Government-Wide Moratorium on GoF Research
(Washington, D.C., November 22, 2022) – In a letter to the White House today, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. and four of his Senate Republican colleagues demanded that the federal government implement a government-wide ban on all ongoing and new viral Gain-of-Function (GoF) and Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) studies in the life sciences involving all enhanced pathogens of pandemic potential (ePPP) due to the current lack of research oversight, clear guidelines, and potential risks of outbreaks from laboratory accidents.
The letter, addressed to White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director Dr. Arati Prabhakar, details concerns about the ambiguity of the existing guidelines for this dangerous research. The letter also outlines recent examples of GoF and DURC projects in the United States that were sponsored by NIH and could start another pandemic if a laboratory accident occurs. A prior government-wide OSTP ban on GoF and DURC involving certain ePPP’s was implemented during the Obama Administration from 2014 through 2017.
“For too long, a select group of individuals within American public health institutions and the scientific community have manipulated the research rules to pursue dangerous studies. These individuals operate without consequence for their actions that jeopardize public health in the United States and around the world,” said Senator Marshall. “That is why we are calling on the Biden White House to join our efforts in Congress to prevent the next pandemic by pausing viral Gain-of-Function research and Dual Use Research of Concern studies. Until better guidelines are in place and the federal oversight process is reformed, our government should not allow any of these risky research projects to move forward.”
The GOF/DURC research techniques may have increased the virulence or transmissibility of a coronavirus pathogen during experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, which possibly contributed to the initial COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. The Senators wrote, in part,
“These experiments pose extreme threats to public health if the altered pathogens are accidentally or deliberately released… We ask for the moratorium to include studies that enhance the virulence or transmissibility of any pathogen to produce an ePPP and studies that confer efficient human transmissibility on a pathogen of even modest virulence… U.S. laboratories are not exempt from laboratory accidents. Hundreds of laboratory accidents reported to NIH, previously concealed from the public, have been revealed in thousands of documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests… An intrinsic threat that powerful ePPP viruses can escape from high-containment, high-security laboratories and spark an outbreak with much greater lethality than the world just experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic is plausible… Until clear ePPP research policies are implemented, it is critically important for the OSTP to immediately institute increased protections for the public from these potentially lethal pathogens…”
Cosigning Senator Marshall’s letter were Senators Chuck Grassley (IA), Joni Ernst (IA), Marsha Blackburn (TN), and Marco Rubio (FL).
“Transparency brings accountability. We still have neither from our public health agencies and officials who’ve overseen potentially risky and dangerous gain of function research. The American people are still in the dark about the origins of COVID-19 and the federal government has used taxpayer money to fund and sponsor high risk research activity. The taxpayers are entitled to know exactly what’s being done with their money and that the government has implemented robust oversight mechanisms. Until that time, there should be a moratorium on this type of research,” said Senator Grassley.
“The NIH still can’t answer questions about the dangerous experiments with coronaviruses that Dr. Fauci was funding in China’s Wuhan Institute, and the agency wasn’t even aware it was sponsoring risky research enhancing coronaviruses at Boston University. What other dangerous studies are being funded by the NIH and other government agencies, and where are those occurring? We need answers now. Until we know, and measures are put in place to guarantee safety and transparency, it is imperative that a moratorium be enacted immediately on this risky research,” said Senator Ernst.
“The American public is still awaiting the truth behind COVID-19’s origins and gain of function research. We need answers from administrators and researchers who reportedly failed to properly oversee these dangerous projects. Until oversight is improved and safety guardrails become a guarantee, the White House must halt Gain of Function research and Dual Use Research of Concern,” said Senator Blackburn.
Fox News carried exclusive coverage of the Senators’ letter and you may click HERE to read the story.
You may click HERE to read the Senators’ letter to the OSTP.
Last month, Republicans on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) released a report confirming the possibility that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted from a research-related incident. Senator Marshall issued a statement applauding the committee’s work and pledging to continue investigating the coronavirus’s origins following the release of the report.
One year ago, Senator Marshall led a group of colleagues in introducing the Viral Gain of Function Research Moratorium Act to place a moratorium on all federal research grants to universities and other organizations conducting gain-of-function research and risky research on potential pandemic pathogens. This legislation was in response to the congressional inquiries and various media investigations revealing national security issues including federal agencies authorizing dangerous research with certain foreign entities that may have contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Having been the first member of Congress to sound the alarm on the House floor about the spread of COVID-19 and later serving on the frontlines as a volunteer treating patients in Wyandotte County and Seward County, Senator Marshall has been leading the effort in the U.S. Senate to get to the bottom of the origins of COVID-19.
Senator Marshall led a group of Senators on a letter to Samantha Power, Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), demanding that her agency suspend its taxpayer-funded financial awards to EcoHealth Alliance (EcoHealth), a U.S. nonprofit organization led by Peter Daszak. USAID’s unwillingness to cooperate with congressional requests for information regarding its funding of organizations like EcoHealth has previously led Senator Marshall to delay Senate consideration of USAID nominees from confirmation, to which USAID responded by providing some records. The effort is ongoing. The Senators’ letter outlines EcoHealth’s history of noncompliance with federal grant requirements, as well as the organization’s dishonesty about its use of federal grants to fund research at foreign labs like the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China.
Senator Marshall asked questions during a U.S. Senate hearing on the federal government’s involvement with GoF research projects in China. At the same hearing, Senator Marshall connected Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to efforts to push GoF research out of the United States and into China through EcoHealth Alliance. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall’s full line of questioning during the hearing.
Video was released of Hudson Institute Senior Fellow David Asher, who led the State Department’s COVID-19 origins investigation for the Trump Administration, interviewing Senator Marshall about his leadership in the investigation into the COVID-19 pandemic’s origins and the implications of future gain-of-function research to avoid these types of leaks from reoccurring. Nearly three years after COVID-19’s emergence the world still lacks basic answers on the pandemic’s origins; the Chinese cover up of its rapidly emerging spread; how the National Institutes of Health (NIH) sought to change key scientists’ opinions about a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology; and why there is a lack accountability, transparency, and responsibility among scientists and public health officials in the United States and around the world. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch the interview.
Senator Marshall and U.S. Representative Jim Jordan (OH) released a video detailing Dr. Tony Fauci’s involvement with the COVID-19 China cover up. The video comes on the heels of Dr. Fauci refusing to stop using U.S. taxpayer dollars to award China grants following a question by Senator Marshall at a committee hearing. Senator Marshall and Representative Jordan have been leading the fight to uncover the origins of COVID-19. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall and Representative Jordan’s video.
At a hearing when Senator Marshall asked Dr. Fauci if he would stop using U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund Chinese Communist Party research projects – such as EcoHealth Alliance’s activities at the Wuhan Institute of Virology – Dr. Fauci admitted his agency does not have any plans to do so. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall’s full exchange with Dr. Fauci.
In February 2022, Senator Marshall penned an op-ed for the Washington Examiner about the nearly ten billion dollars in funding controlled by Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins and how those dollars appear to have influenced scientists worldwide on their opinion of COVID origins.
Upon joining the U.S. Senate in 2021, Senator Marshall released a multi-step path forward on getting to the bottom of the origins of COVID-19 and holding China accountable for its actions surrounding the earliest days of the outbreak. Since then, he has introduced the Chinese Communist Party Accountability Act to place sanctions on the top two Chinese health officials with early ties to the COVID-19 outbreak who obfuscated actionable information; the Viral Gain of Function Research Moratorium Act to place a moratorium on all federal research grants to universities and other organizations conducting gain-of-function research and risky research on potential pandemic pathogens; and the National BioSecurity Improvement Act to ensure federally-funded research involving potentially dangerous pathogens does not compromise national security. You may click HERE or on the image below to read the Senator’s multi-step path forward.
The Senator introduced a resolution calling for a bipartisan Select Committee to investigate the origins of COVID-19. The Senate passed a bipartisan amendment offered by Senator Marshall and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) calling for a transparent investigation into the COVID-19 outbreak mandated by the World Health Assembly during its current session, which ends on Monday. Additionally, if China continues on its path of cover-up and obfuscation, the Marshall-Gillibrand Amendment demands a full, transparent investigation to include the U.S. and our allies and partners around the world. In fact, Senators Marshall and Gillibrand held the first joint bipartisan Senate briefing on the origins of COVID-19 bringing together healthcare, national security, medical, and academic experts. In November 2021, Senators Marshall and Gillibrand joined forces with Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to introduce bipartisan legislation to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate COVID-19 origins and identify lessons learned regarding U.S. preparedness, response, and recovery to improve our ability to respond to future outbreaks. Senators Marshall and Gillibrand were on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to discuss the legislation, which you may watch by clicking HERE or on the image below. In the following months, he secured this 9/11 Style COVID task force in the Senate HELP Committee’s bipartisan PREVENT Pandemics Act.
Senator Marshall was the first U.S. Senator to demand answers from the DOD and HHS on possible COVID-19 infections of U.S. Army troops who participated in the 2019 World Military Games that took place in Wuhan, China from October 18-28, 2019.