Sen. Marshall Doubles Down on Requests for Committee Hearings After NIH Admits to Funding Risky Virus Enhancing Research
(Washington, D.C., October 26, 2021) – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. sent letters to the chairs of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) and Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) renewing his request that they hold hearings on the public health and security risks posed by gain-of-function research. Senator Marshall previously requested hearings on this issue in June 2021. The requests follow Senator Marshall’s introduction of the Viral Gain of Function Research Moratorium Act last week which places 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 is 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.
“The NIH has finally come clean and confirmed that Dr. Fauci funded gain-of-function and related risky research on coronaviruses. This groundbreaking news along with the mounting evidence pointing towards the labs in Wuhan simply cannot be ignored,” said Senator Marshall. “For the sake of global health, the appropriate Senate committees must address the NIH’s information cover up and clear mismanagement of this grant, along with the need for guardrails on gain-of-function research to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”
These renewed requests follow the recent admission by the National Institute of Health (NIH) that it did in fact fund EcoHealth Alliance’s risky virus enhancing research at the Wuhan Lab of Virology, despite Dr. Fauci’s testimony to Congress stating the contrary. In May, Senator Marshall asked Dr. Fauci if he could say that the viral studies NIH helped fund could not be related to the final COVID-19 virus. In response Dr. Fauci stated, “…As I mentioned in response to Senator Paul, the NIH and NIAID did not fund Gain of Function research to be conducted at the Wuhan institute of virology.” You may click HERE or on the image below to watch the exchange.
Original cosigners of Senator Marshall’s Viral Gain of Function Research Moratorium Act are Senators Rand Paul, M.D. (KY), Joni Ernst (IA), Tommy Tuberville (AL), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Bill Hagerty (TN), Mike Braun (IN), James Lankford (OK), Marco Rubio (FL), and Tom Cotton (AR).
The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has historically applied a broad and inconsistent definition of gain-of-function (GoF) research – a process that aims to genetically alter a virus or organism to gain (or lose) function on its transmissibility or pathogenicity. However, viral GoF on infectious diseases places great risk to global health as it directly aims to alter viruses deadly to people. Recognizing the threat of GoF research and biosecurity issues in lab facilities, White House officials placed a moratorium on this work in 2014. Unfortunately, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, continued funding GoF research under exceptions to the moratorium. In 2017 – with key cabinet appointments vacant or pending Senate confirmation – NIH successfully advocated for the lifting of the moratorium.
The majority of the funded research in question involves EcoHealth Alliance. A non-profit organization based in New York, their GoF projects involved researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Wuhan University, and the China’s CDC and Prevention of Guangdong Province. In addition to the NIH, other federal agencies involved in this type of risky research include the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). In fact, the DoD provided over $40 million in funding to the EcoHealth Alliance to conduct risky research at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology with no transparency and no accountability.
Senator Marshall has been leading the fight in the Senate to get to the bottom of the origins of COVID-19. In fact, recently, he partnered with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to hold the first joint bipartisan Senate briefing on the origins of COVID-19 following the passage of their bipartisan resolution that calls for a transparent investigation into the outbreak of the virus. The bipartisan resolution also demands a full, transparent investigation to include the U.S. and its allies and partners around the world if China continues on its path of cover-up and obfuscation.
Unfortunately, certain federal agencies have refused to cooperate fully on investigating the origins of COVID-19. Last month, Senator Marshall – along with Senators Chuck Grassley (IA) and Marsha Blackburn (TN) – sent a follow-up letter demanding answers to questions that may shed light on the origins of COVID-19. Specifically, the Senators requested answers regarding NIH’s data retention policies for the Sequence Read Archive, the largest public database for DNA sequencing data. NIH had deleted coronavirus gene sequences data from the database at the request of researchers from Wuhan University. NIH inadequately addressed previous congressional oversight inquiries dating back to June. The exchange between the Senators and NIH was reported on by the Wall Street Journal.
In May, Senator Marshall – along with Senators Rand Paul (KY), Ron Johnson (WI), James Lankford (OK), Rick Scott (FL), Tom Cotton (AR), and Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI) led a letter highlighting a response to the World Health Organization’s study of SARS-CoV-2’s origins from a group of eighteen scientists stating that the leak of the virus from a lab is a “viable” theory and should be thoroughly investigated. The letter touched on several high profile biosafety incidents at the labs and GoF research studies that led to a 2014 HHS and NIH pause on funding research for gain of function experiments “involving influenza, SARS, and MERS viruses.” This pause did not halt ongoing research being conducted or research that received an exception from the head of the USG funding agency.
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. While Senator Marshall’s 8-point path forward is below, you may click HERE for a more detailed version.
- President Biden and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines Must Release all Classified Information Going Back to at Least September 2019.
- Investigate the Viral DNA Sequencing Map, including the release of the China WIV data stored at the NIH National library of Medicine as well as all genomes used by the NIH-funded Ecohealth Alliance
- Hold all Nominees for Agencies and Departments that have failed to Provide Grant Application Information for Funds Given to EcoHealth Alliance.
- Enhance Congressional Oversight and Bipartisan Investigations
- Immediate Moratorium of Gain-of-Function and Other Potentially Pandemic Pathogens Research
- Impose Sanctions and Immigration Restraints on China
- Fully Integrate National Security Agencies and the Department of Health and Human Services
- Pursue a New Global Health Treaty
In August, Senator Marshall released a video walking viewers through a 3D timeline of the origins of COVID-19. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch the video.
You may click HERE or on the image below to view Senator Marshall’s COVID-19 origins timeline as an image.
In June, Senator Marshall wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) demanding answers 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. Following completion of the games, athletes from numerous participating countries reported experiencing symptoms similar to those associated with COVID-19.
Senator Marshall has penned several op-eds on COVID origins. You may click on the links below to view them:
- FOX News – April 7, 2020: China’s coronavirus reckoning – act now to end US dependency for drugs, medical supplies
- FOX News – May 22, 2020: WHO desperately needs reform – here’s how to protect global health now
- Washington Times – March 2, 2021: WHO must actually demonstrate independence from China
- FOX News – May 13, 2021:The COVID-19 mystery – we’ve lost 3 million lives and critical questions need answers
In January 2020, then Congressman Marshall was the first member of Congress to sound the alarm on the House floor about the spread of COVID-19. As a physician, he would later go on to serve on the frontlines as a volunteer treating patients in Wyandotte County and Seward County.
- Few heroes to be found in Washington amid coronavirus finger-pointing (Washington Times)…Rep. Roger Marshall, Kansas Republican and a medical doctor, five days later became the first to broach the virus on the House floor. He thought the information he heard coming out of China sounded fishy, and he wanted to sound the alarm…