Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee have released an 83 page report which says that, based on “the preponderance of evidence,” they believe that the COVID-19 outbreak began after the virus was “accidentally released from Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) laboratory sometime prior to September 12, 2019.”
The report says that the virus, “which may be natural in origin or the result of genetic manipulation,” was likely collected from a cave in China’s Yunnan province sometime between 2012 and 2015. The virus then escaped from WIV “due to poor lab safety standards and practices” which were “exacerbated by dangerous gain-of-function research being conducted at inadequate biosafety levels.”
The virus spread throughout central Wuhan, “likely via the Wuhan Metro,” in the weeks prior to the Military Would Games. The report argues that the CCP were aware that COVID-19 had escaped from the WIV at this time, but that “in order to prevent national embarrassment” the games were allowed to go ahead. Spectators were not allowed to attend the event, but nearly 10,000 competitors, from over 100 countries, and over 235,000 volunteers were involved in the games.
This event led to COVID-19 being brought back to “multiple continents.”
According to the report “top scientists” at the WIV, officials within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and American citizens engaged in a cover-up, attempting to “obfuscate information related to the origins of the virus and to suppress public debate of a possible lab leak.”
The report says that “strong evidence…suggests” that Peter Daszak, an American researcher who was “heavily involved” in the gain-of-function research taking place at the WIV, is the “public face of a CCP disinformation campaign designed to suppress public discussion about a potential lab leak.”
Daszak had organised the publication of a statement, “condemn[ing] conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin,” in the Lancet in February of 2020. That statement was signed by numerous scientists but did not disclose Daszak’s connections with the WIV. Emails seen by the authors of the report show that the statement was created in response to a request for support WIV researchers had sent to Daszak.
The report calls for a ban on gain-of-function research “until an international and legally binding standard is set.”
The full report can be read HERE.