Ohio Congressman Wenstrup Starts Probe of Wuhan Institute of Virology Funding and COVID

Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-02) this week commenced a House of Representatives investigation concerning the genesis of the novel coronavirus that hit U.S. shores in winter 2020.

As the new chair of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, the southern Ohio legislator formally requested an on-the-record conversation with former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci and other senior federal health administrators as well as security officials. Wenstrup’s subcommittee is working on the matter alongside House Committee on Oversight and Accountability which is chaired by James Comer (R-KY-01) who last month made initial requests for federal documents pertaining to COVID-19’s origins.

Many observers believe the virus could have originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. Backers of this notion are particularly concerned about medical experiments known as “gain-of-function” research which, as defined by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, “improves the ability of a pathogen to cause disease” so scientists can plan for disease countermeasures in an outbreak. In 2021 testimony before the Senate, Fauci denied backing U.S. funding of such research, but a letter from National Institutes of Health official Lawrence Tabak revealed that Fauci did support these kinds of studies through a grant to the American nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance.

The experiments in question specifically concerned whether “spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model.” 

Wenstrup insisted that Americans should know if their government was inadvertently culpable in abetting research that proved catastrophic for millions. Government statistics indicate that COVID has claimed 1,141,220 U.S. lives so far. 

“The American people deserve real answers after years of suffering through the coronavirus pandemic and related government policies,” the congressman said in a statement. “This investigation must begin with where and how this virus came about so that we can attempt to predict, prepare for or preferably prevent a pandemic from happening again. Government scientists and government-funded researchers have so far been less than forthcoming in their knowledge and actions, including work with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and potential pandemic pathogens.”

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which also includes Wenstrup, issued an initial report in December on COVID’s origins. The document strongly reproves the Chinese Communist Party for encouraging such dangerous viral research in its virology laboratories and working to obscure the truth of how COVID may have been engendered. The report also faults U.S. intelligence agencies for failing to publicize information about this research and its potential link to the virus. 

“We can’t accept more years of stonewalling,” the congressman said. “The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic is committed to conducting a proper investigation that the American people have demanded.”

Wenstrup and Comer are also seeking interviews with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and President Joe Biden’s science advisor Francis Collins on this matter. 

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Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Ohio Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Wuhan Institute of Virology” by Ureem2805. CC BY-SA 4.0.



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