WASHINGTON, D.C. – Republicans in Congress have set forth to investigate the starting point of the COVID-19 pandemic, with special emphasis being placed on a rumor that the virus originated via an “accidental leak” from a lab in Wuhan, China, according to reports.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA), who serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, penned a letter this week – co-signed by Reps. Brett Guthrie and H. Morgan Griffith – to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in which she asked for specific documents that are needed to aid the House investigation.
“As leaders on the Congressional Committee with jurisdiction over public health, we strongly support a comprehensive investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the possibility of an accidental laboratory leak,” Rogers said in the letter.
Among the documents requested from Blinken include “unclassified documents and declassify other documents for public release, as appropriate, related to the assertion in the Department’s January 15, 2021 Fact Sheet that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in Wuhan, China, collaborated with the Chinese military in conducting classified research, including laboratory animal experiments.”
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The fact sheet in question was originally put out during the administration of former President Donald Trump, and alleged that WIV presented itself as civilian institution, but in reality was collaborating with the Chinese military on multiple “secret projects” since 2017, if not earlier.
Rogers and other House Republicans who are digging into the origins of COVID-19 have stated that the Wuhan Institute of Virology is a major focal point of their investigation. The documents requested from Blinken are hoped to contain information that would serve to contradict previous statements from Dr. Shi Zhengli, WIV’s Director of the Center of Emerging Infectious Diseases; during a March seminar, she had claimed that “all our research work is open, is transparent” and the rumors that COVID-19 had been the result of a leak at her lab was not true.
Blinken himself had previously said in April that China’s complete inaction at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic was why it became as incredibly serious across the world as it did.
“I think China knows that in the early stages of COVID, it didn’t do what it needed to do, which was to, in real time, give access to international experts, in real time to share information, in real time to provide real transparency,” Blinken said.
The letter from the House Energy and Commerce Committee follows another from Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher, who made an inquiry to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci on Wednesday.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has denied claims accusing the Chinese military of secret collaboration with the WIV where researchers fell ill with COVID-like symptoms in 2019 just before the global pandemic.