Politics

EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Comer, Sen. Marshall Conduct Oversight Into WSU, Further Research Into Laboratory Leak

Photo Collage -- On left: Photo by Anna Moneymaker:Getty Images -- On Right: Photo by Susan Walsh-Pool:Getty Images

Henry Rodgers Senior Congressional Correspondent
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Republican Kentucky Rep. James Comer, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, and Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall sent a Friday letter to United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power over the agreement between USAID and Washington State University (WSU).

USAID’s agreement with WSU is worth around $125 million over a five-year period and involves as many as 12 targeted countries. The agreement requires the university to conduct research on emerging pathogens and how to prevent pandemics.

The Daily Caller first obtained the letter, in which the lawmakers share their concern about the agreement, saying they need to understand what measures are in place to prevent researchers from potentially artificially creating another pandemic.

The lawmakers also share concerns with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), saying they have failed to be transparent with the American people regarding dangerous research conducted on the taxpayer dime and the possibility of a laboratory leak or research accident leading to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lawmakers note their issue with American taxpayers helping fund potentially dangerous viral research under the agreement with USAID and WSU.

The lab leak theory posits that COVID-19 could have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), where scientists conducted gain-of-function research on bat-based coronaviruses.

White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has repeatedly testified to Congress that the U.S. government has not funded gain-of-function research at the WIV. The institute received thousands of U.S. taxpayer dollars via a NIAID sub-grant to EcoHealth Alliance, a medical non-profit, which outside virologists claim is gain-of-function research.

A Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) review board that was tasked with evaluating and recommending to reject gain-of-function funding did not do so for those grants. NIH and NIAID are allowed to determine in-house whether or not the grants fund gain-of-function research, without any oversight. Therefore, the agencies are only subject to oversight when they allow themselves to be.

“We know U.S. taxpayer funds were used to conduct dangerous gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab. For months, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins refused to be transparent with the American people about this risky research and the possibility of a lab leak leading to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through USAID’s new research agreement, Americans are once again funding dangerous viral research abroad, potentially in China,” Comer told the Daily Caller. (RELATED: As Lab Leak Theory Leaves The Realm Of Fringe Conspiracy, Republicans Consider Next Steps)

READ THE LETTER HERE: 

(DAILY CALLER OBTAINED) — … by Henry Rodgers

“Congress must ensure these funds are allocated appropriately. It’s critical for us to fully understand this agreement between USAID and WSU and that researchers guarantee safeguards are in place to prevent another potentially manufactured virus from wreaking global havoc,” Comer added. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Top Republicans Demand Answers On Government-Funded Gain-Of-Function Research)

The lawmakers called for a staff-level briefing no later than Nov. 29.