EXCLUSIVE: GOP Senators Call Out Biden Official’s Appearance With Gain-Of-Function Research Non-Profit Staffer

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Republican senators are sounding the alarm about a Biden administration official’s appearance alongside an official whose non-profit partnered with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) to conduct gain-of-function research.

Jim Levy, a Deputy Assistant Secretary at the State Department, appeared on a Dec. 8 panel at the 2022 Global Health Conference (GHC) alongside EcoHealth Alliance Vice President For Science and Outreach Dr. Jonathan Epstein. The panel convened to discuss ways of “reduc[ing] the risk of [zoonotic] spillover,” which can cause pandemics, and implied COVID-19 had a natural origin by migrating from animals to humans. The U.S. intelligence community and the World Health Organization (WHO) still publicly consider a lab leak as the virus’ possible origin, even as the GHC’s panel description claimed “new science strongly supports zoonotic origins for COVID-19.”

EcoHealth Alliance funneled U.S. taxpayer dollars to WIV to conduct gain-of-function research on bat-based coronaviruses similar to COVID-19.

“We are unaware of Congressional briefings by the State Department about this new science that apparently strongly supports the COVID-19 zoonotic origins hypothesis,” Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall, Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio wrote Friday in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller.

A 2021 report released by the Biden administration revealed that intelligence community officials were split on COVID-19’s origins, and the WHO has refused to rule out its emergence from the WIV via a lab leak. The WHO has also called for further investigations into a potential lab leak. A report released in October by Senate Republicans argued COVID-19 “most likely” leaked from the WIV. (RELATED: Intelligence Community Won’t Reveal Details Of COVID Origins Investigation, Republicans Allege)

When reached for comment, a State Department spokesperson confirmed that the 2021 report “remains the U.S. government’s most authoritative assessment” on COVID-19’s origins.

“As that report noted, “the IC—and the global scientific community—lacks clinical samples or a complete understanding of epidemiological data from the earliest COVID-19 cases. If we obtain information on the earliest cases that identified a location of interest or occupational exposure, it may alter our evaluation of hypotheses,” the spokesperson told the Daily Caller.

Read the letter here:

STATE DEPT Letter Re EHA Panel Presentation 12.22.2022 by Michael Ginsberg on Scribd

“The Biden State Department’s partnership with EcoHealth Alliance in a pandemic panel discussion is a highly concerning relationship and an apparent endorsement of an organization that has blocked all Congressional oversight attempts and utterly failed to produce its bat coronavirus research evidence to NIH [the National Institutes of Health], the research sponsor. The State Department’s ‘new science’ in support of a COVID-19 natural origin contradicts the U.S. intelligence community’s consensus and the World Health Organization’s, which is that the lab leak theory is plausible,” Marshall said in a statement to the Daily Caller.

“We need immediate answers from this Administration about this shocking new position by the U.S. Government. The State Department must explain its participation in this event when all of the evidence uncovered so far heavily weighs in favor of a laboratory origin.”

EcoHealth Alliance president Peter Daszak was the only American on the WHO team to investigate the origins of the virus, despite the fact that his organization partnered with WIV. Daszak admitted to convincing the team it did not need to see missing viral data. He also helped organize an open letter that called claims of a lab leak a “conspiracy.”

EcoHealth partnered with WIV from 2014-2019, funneling $600,000 to the lab through a subgrant disbursed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The grant funded gain-of-function research, despite a U.S. government funding ban implemented by President Barack Obama in 2014. President Donald Trump lifted the ban in 2017.

EcoHealth was in optimal position to assist with research into the COVID-19 origins due to its pre-pandemic work in Wuhan, China, but instead of contributing to the efforts, it obstructed the U.S. Government’s investigation through its refusal to provide documents, statements, research materials and unpublished bat coronavirus specimen data,” the senators continued.