House Intelligence Committee Republicans have outlined “significant circumstantial evidence” that the COVID-19 outbreak was due to a leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Most Americans have pointed to the virus that shut down the world to the Wuhan facility, but now Republicans are pushing for a “full, credible investigation” ushered by the federal government into the source of the global pandemic by China.
Committee members released the report Wednesday which stated that the investigation will provide “crucial information for health experts and the U.S. government to understand how the COVID-19 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,” Republicans wrote. “Nevertheless, significant circumstantial evidence raises serious concerns that the COVID-19 outbreak may have been a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
Republicans pointed to China’s “history of research lab leaks resulting in infections,” and warnings from U.S. diplomats in China as early as 2017 that the Wuhan lab was conducting “dangerous research” on coronaviruses without following “necessary safety protocols, risking the accidental outbreak of a pandemic.”
Republicans also pointed to public reports that “several researchers in the Wuhan lab were sickened with COVID-19-like symptoms” in Fall 2019, and the Chinese military’s “involvement in the Wuhan 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,” they wrote, saying Chinese authorities “have failed to identify the original species that allegedly spread the virus to humans, which is critical to their zoonotic transfer theory.”
“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.”
The report dismissed claims that COVID-19 had escaped from a lab in Wuhan and instead called the theory of zoonotic transmission, or transfer of infection from animals to humans, “likely to very likely.”
The calls for more information come after the White House last month said it believes that China has “not been transparent” in releasing its findings on the origins of COVID-19, as part of a report it wrote in collaboration with the World Health Organization.