CV NEWS FEED // A Congressional oversight committee released a report this week analyzing the government’s mishandling of evidence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, a sub-group of the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Accountability, investigated the widely controversial and impactful paper “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2.” The report, published Tuesday, accuses the “Proximal Origin” writers of ignoring or manipulating evidence to make the coronavirus strain appear natural and zoonotic.
The report was issued by Subcommittee Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio). Wenstrup argues that the Wuhan lab-leak theory was intentionally suppressed by the five health officials who authored “Proximal Origin.” Wenstrup also argues that the National Institutes of Health and its members overly influenced and manipulated the paper, specifically, Dr. Francis Collins, NIH’s director, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
According to the report, drafts of the “Proximal Origin” paper were sent to Collins and Fauci, as well as a British medical researcher and infectious diseases expert, Dr. Jeremy Farrar. The report includes photos of emails sent back and forth between the groups, discussing improvements for the draft and expressing concern that the paper did not rule out a lab leak.
The subcommittee’s investigation of “Proximal Origin” also revealed private Slack messages between the authors, arguing that if they presented the pandemic as a lab leak, it would cause potential for political conflict.
“Given the s*** show that would happen if anyone serious accused the Chinese of even accidental release, my feeling is we should say that given there is no evidence of a specifically engineered virus, we cannot possibly distinguish between natural evolution and escape so we are content with ascribing it to natural process,” Dr. Andrew Rambaut, one of the paper’s authors, wrote on Slack, according to the report.
“Yup, I totally agree that that’s a very reasonable conclusion,” Dr. Kristian Anderson, another contributor, responded. “Although I hate when politics is injected into science – but it’s impossible not to, especially given the circumstances.”
“Proximal Origin” was first published by Virological, and later published in Nature Medicine. “Proximal Origin” has since reached over 5.84 million people and has been cited over 2,500 times, giving Wenstrup another reason to expose the paper. According to a press release published by the Committee for Oversight and Accountability, “Investigating any egregious COVID-19 cover-up is essential to preserving future scientific integrity… Given [the paper’s] colossal reach and its dubious conclusions, it is necessary to analyze the process and publication of this paper to prevent the suppression of scientific discourse in future pandemics.”
“America’s leading health officials vilified and suppressed the lab leak theory in pursuit of a preferred, coordinated narrative that was not based in truth or science,” Wenstrup said in the press release. “The Select Subcommittee’s report proves that the conclusions championed by the co-authors of Proximal Origin are not only inaccurate, but were crafted to appease a stated political motive. Stifling scientific discourse and labeling those who believe in the possibility of a lab-leak as ‘conspiracy theorists’ caused irrefutable harm to public trust in our health officials.”
Americans deserve to know why honesty, transparency, and facts were abandoned,” he concluded. “Our report is devoted to achieving that goal.”
The report comes just days after Fauci and other NIH officials were found to be illegally acting as health officials after their terms expired. According to a tweet by the Energy and Commerce Committee in Washington, DC, the officials “held unlawful positions & used authority they didn’t have—including approving $26 BILLION [sic] in grants,” because the Biden administration failed to re-appoint Fauci and others after their terms ended in 2021.
Fauci retired in 2022; however, he may be required to pay back his final year’s salary, which would be over $400,000. A decision on the matter has not yet been made.