House Republicans released a report Wednesday stating there is “significant circumstantial evidence” COVID-19 emerged from Wuhan via an accidental lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
House Intelligence Committee Republicans said the federal government needs to put “more pressure on China” and push for a “full, credible investigation,” according to the report first obtained by Fox News. They added that it is “crucial for health experts and the U.S. government to understand how the COVID-19 virus originated” to “quickly mitigate future pandemics.”
BREAKING: GOP House Intel Committee members agree w/ Dr. Ralph Baric, believe more investigation into COVID-19 origin is needed. Cmte: there’s “significant circumstantial evidence” it leaked from Wuhan lab; next to 0 evidence of zoonotic transmission. Article coming soon.
— Jennifer Van Laar (@jenvanlaar) May 19, 2021
The report pointed to past instances of lab leaks in China as well as 2017 warnings from U.S. diplomats about dangerous research being conducted in an unsafe manner at the WIV. They also claim that the Chinese military was involved with research at the WIV and note that several researchers at the lab became ill in Fall 2019, well before the onset of the global pandemic. (RELATED: Did Coronavirus Come From A Lab? Ten Key Takeaways From A Shocking New Report)
“International efforts to discover the true source of the virus, however, have been stymied by a lack of cooperation from the People’s Republic of China,” House Republicans said. “Nevertheless, significant circumstantial evidence raises serious concerns that the COVID-19 outbreak may have been a leak.”
The report also called for the government to “provide a full accounting of any American cooperation with the Wuhan lab’s coronavirus research.” In a Senate hearing last week, Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci sparred over whether taxpayer funds from the National Institutes of Health had been used to conduct dangerous gain-of-function research at the WIV.
Support for the lab leak hypothesis has intensified in recent months after the World Health Organization investigation into the pandemic’s origins was panned by both sides of the aisle for being insufficient and lacking transparency. More and more media outlets, many of which once called the lab leak hypothesis a “conspiracy theory,” have began lending credibility to the idea. (RELATED: NIH Director With Ties To Wuhan Lab Says Lab-Leak Theory Worth Further Investigation A Year After Dismissing It As ‘Debunked’)
The Biden administration expressed concern about the WHO investigation, and House Republicans say there is little evidence to support China’s theory that the virus naturally jumped from bats to another animal to humans. Some high-profile officials, such as former CDC Director Robert Redfield, have publicly expressed support for the lab leak theory.