House GOP Investigation into COVID Origins, Dr. Fauci to Testify Before Congress

Wuhan Institute of Virology

House Republicans have formally requested Dr. Anthony Fauci, the former White House chief medical advisor, to testify before Congress as they initiate a new investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Leaders of the GOP from the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic and Committee on Oversight and Accountability sent a letter to Fauci on Monday, seeking a transcribed interview.

Fauci had previously stated in November his willingness to cooperate with any oversight hearings held by the Republican-controlled House.

“I absolutely will cooperate fully and testify before the Congress if there are oversight hearings,” Fauci had affirmed during his final briefing at the White House. “We can defend and explain everything that we’ve said.”

Dr. Fauci, a prominent infectious disease expert, served as a central figure in the U.S. pandemic response under both the Trump and Biden administrations.

He relinquished his positions at the White House and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in December.

House Republicans have also extended similar requests for testimony to Dr. Peter Daszak, President of EcoHealth Alliance, and Dr. Francis Collins, former Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). EcoHealth Alliance, funded by NIH, provided grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for coronavirus research.

A report by the inspector general at the Health and Human Services Department disclosed that EcoHealth Alliance received approximately $8 million in NIH funding from 2014 to 2021, with a portion allocated directly to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for studying bat coronaviruses.

The investigation into the Wuhan Institute’s research on bat coronaviruses, conducted in the city where the pandemic originated, has prompted speculation among some scientists and investigators about the possibility of a lab leak.

Dr. Anthony Fauci (Photo: Getty Images)

Fauci, Collins, and others, however, maintain that the virus more likely originated naturally, through transmission from bats to humans via an intermediate animal.

“The vast evidence from other perspectives says no, this was a naturally occurring virus,” Collins affirmed in a 2021.

“Not to say that it could not have been under study secretly at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and got out of there, we don’t know about that. But the virus itself does not have the earmarks of having been created intentionally by human work.”

President Joe Biden had directed U.S. intelligence agencies in 2021 to provide assessments on the pandemic’s origins. While four agencies assessed with low confidence that the pandemic originated naturally, one agency suggested a possible lab accident. Three other agencies did not reach consensus on either scenario.

Additionally, House Republicans have called for classified briefings with Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, involving seven intelligence and law enforcement agencies including the CIA, DIA, NSA, and FBI. They have also requested interviews with over two dozen U.S. health officials from Health Secretary Xavier Becerra.

Following their narrow victory in the November 2022 midterms and assuming control of the House, Republicans pledged to launch multiple investigations into the pandemic’s origins, federal responses, and the allocation of taxpayer funds.

“This investigation must begin with where and how this virus came about so that we can attempt to predict, prepare or prevent it from happening again,” stated Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, chair of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, in a released statement.

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