(Ken Silva, Headline USA) House legislators voted Tuesday to pass Rep. Thomas Massie’s, R-Ky., proposal to prohibit taxpayer-funded gain-of-function research—the risky science experiments now widely believed to have caused the COVID-19 pandemic.
Massie’s proposal came in the form of an amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which already prohibited gain-of-function research in China, Cuba, Russia or North Korea.
“The problem is that it doesn’t prohibit this dangerous type of research anywhere else in the world,” Massie said of the bill’s restrictions on gain-of-function research, which entails developing more dangerous versions of diseases in order to study them.
“Why should we be funding it here?”
Massie explained the risks of gain-of-function research—namely, that it creates diseases that wouldn’t otherwise appear in nature.
“It creates new health threats—threats that through 10,000 years of evolution may never come into existence, but in 10 days of research could come in existence in a lab,” he said.
The U.S. government paused gain-of-function research from 2014 to 2017, but resumed it in 2018. It was around that time that the National Institutes of Health began funding “in earnest” research on bats infected with coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Massie said.
While some still deny that COVID came from the Wuhan lab, various publications have uncovered suggestive details over the last year-plus, including the fact that three of the first people to become infected with COVID-19 were scientists at the Wuhan lab.
In February, FBI Director Chris Wray reportedly said his bureau “has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan.” And in June, Times of London reported that State Department investigators “found evidence that researchers working on these experiments were taken to hospital with Covid-like symptoms in November 2019.”
But during the height of COVID in 2020, anyone who promoted the lab-leak theory was censored, de-platformed and cast as a conspiracy theorist.
Alina Chan, a molecular biologist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, has expressed frustration that the lab-leak theory is only now being vindicated.
“Ever since I put out my [May 2020] preprint [research paper] saying that an accidental lab origin was possible, I was criticized as a conspiracy theorist,” Chan said in June.
“If this info had been made public in May of 2020, I doubt that many in the scientific community and the media would have spent the last three years raving about a raccoon dog or pangolin in a wet market.”
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.