A group of Republican senators has revealed that Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been using taxpayer money to fund the dangerous research of “potential pandemic pathogens.”
In response, five GOP senators have introduced a bill to increase oversight of the NIH’s policies and procedures regarding federally funded research.
The bill – the “National Biosecurity Improvement Act” – requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to look into any NIH research that involves dangerous pathogens.
The introduction of the legislation to the Senate comes after months of GOP-led efforts to look into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we need more transparency surrounding federal agencies’ funding of various research, particularly regarding potentially dangerous pathogens,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), one of the sponsors of the bill.
“This bill will increase oversight and help ensure research is conducted safely and securely, both in the United States and overseas, to protect the safety of Iowans and all Americans.”
If the bill were to pass, the GAO would be required to look into how federal agencies ensure that any research involving dangerous pathogens is done safely without compromising national security.
It would also make efforts to “establish a common domestic and international approach to ensuring the safety and security of research involving the enhancement of potential pandemic pathogens and related risky research with potentially dangerous pathogens.”
In October, the NIH released documents that appeared to contradict previous statements regarding the experiments taking place on bat coronaviruses at the lab in Wuhan, China.
“The limited experiment described in the final progress report provided by EcoHealth Alliance was testing if spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model,” the letter, signed by NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence A. Tabak, states.
“In this limited experiment, laboratory mice infected with the SHC014 WIV1 bat coronavirus became sicker than those infected with the WIV1 bat coronavirus.”
The NIH added that “this was an unexpected result of the research,” as “sometimes occurs in science.”
The letter resulted in more questioning from legislators concerned with the research at the Wuhan lab.
“’I told you so’ doesn’t even begin to cover it here,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tweeted in response to a tweet about the letter.
The tweet quoted by Paul claimed: “NIH states that EcoHealth Alliance violated Terms and Conditions of NIH grant AI110964.”
The “National Biosecurity Improvement Act” would seek to improve the government’s awareness of research being conducted similar to the research happening at the Wuhan lab.
“The more we learn about the potential origins of the coronavirus pandemic, the more questions we have about the role of state actors and even our own government in researching dangerous pathogens,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), another sponsor of the bill.
“As we continue to investigate, Americans deserve answers on the extent to which the U.S. government engages in or funds risky research and what policies are in place to ensure it is done safely and in a way that doesn’t jeopardize our national security.
“This bill brings about much-needed transparency into the government’s policies and past actions regarding such risky research.”
The bill was also sponsored by Sens. Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).