House Republicans: Evidence shows COVID-19 originated from Chinese lab leak

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Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee say there is “significant circumstantial evidence” that the coronavirus originated from a leak at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, and that the US government “may have funded or collaborated” in the research that led to it.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the panel, and other Republicans on the committee released the report obtained by Fox News, which concluded that it is essential for health experts and government officials to understand how the deadly virus originated to prevent “or quickly mitigate future pandemics.”

“International efforts to discover the true source of the virus, however, have been stymied by a lack of cooperation from the People’s Republic of China,” ​they wrote​ in the report​.

“Nevertheless, significant circumstantial evidence raises serious concerns that the COVID-19 outbreak may have been a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”​

They said China has a “history of research labs leaks resulting in infections,” citing warnings from US diplomats in China as early as 2017.

The report went on to say that the lab in Wuhan had been conducting “dangerous research” on co​ronaviruses without following “necessary safety protocols,” which risked an accidental outbreak. ​

The GOP lawmakers noted in the report that “several researchers in the Wuhan lab were sickened with COVID-19-like symptoms” in the fall of 2019.

It also said Chinese’s military had “involvement” in the lab.​

“By contrast, little circumstantial evidence has emerged to support the PRC’s claim that COVID-19 was a natural occurrence, having jumped from some other species to human,” ​the Republicans wrote in the report, using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China.

They went on to say Chinese authorities “have failed to identify the original species that allegedly spread the virus to humans, which is critical to their zoonotic transfer theory.”

Even more, the report claims “clear signs” exist that US government agencies and academic institutions “may have funded or collaborated in Gain of Function research” at the Wuhan ​l​ab​.

It went on to claim the ​research “was published even after the U.S. government had paused these kinds of studies in the United States due to ethical concerns over their biowarfare applicability and their potential to accidentally unleash a pandemic.​”​

“To protect American citizens from future pandemics, the U.S. Government must place more pressure on China to allow full, credible investigations of the source of the COVID-19 pandemic and to allow probes of the likelihood that it resulted from a lab leak,” the report states.

“The U.S. Government must also provide a full accounting of any American cooperation with the Wuhan lab’s coronavirus research, including the support of these projects through U.S. Government funds.”

Nunes and other Republican members of the panel released the report and a letter to President Biden and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, blaming them for not being “forthcoming” about “what processes it undertook to make seemingly authoritative statements early in the pandemic about the origins of the virus — conclusions that are now in question.”

T​he Republicans want the intelligence community to release all the data it has on the coronavirus’s origins, including any reports on a possible “collaboration” between the Wuhan lab and the Chinese military.

They set a May 31 deadline for a response. 

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