The American People Deserve to Know the Truth About Origin of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world -- possibly forever. Over the past year, Americans were forced to adhere to social distancing guidelines, an untold number of small businesses were shuttered, and social gatherings were basically eliminated. Together, these draconian rules (and many others, such as wearing face masks everywhere) attempted to create a “new normal.”

Thankfully, we are closer to the end of the pandemic than the beginning, principally due to Operation Warp Speed. Yet, many unanswered questions remain. Perhaps the most important of all is: What is the actual origin of COVID-19? And could another pandemic be in the offing?

Currently, the origin of the COVID-19 virus is unknown. But we do know there are substantial risks associated with gain-of-function research projects the U.S. government has funded in China for years. And there is growing concern COVID-19 could have been unleashed on the world due to a lab accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China.

One prominent group that has been at the forefront of this topic is the White Coat Waste Project (WCWP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to stopping taxpayer-funded animal experiments. According to White Coat Waste, the Wuhan Animal Lab covers 1,216 square meters with “126 cages for Japanese white rabbits, 340 cages for SD and Wistar rats, 3268 cages for… genetically engineered mice, 12 cages for ferrets, 12 cages for bats… totaling 52 subspecies,” and WCWP suggests it is possible experiments on these animals created the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although disturbing reports, such as those backed by WCWP, suggest the massive operation at WIV may have a connection to COVID-19, a full investigation into the lab and COVID-19’s origins has yet to be completed.

One thing is crystal clear, however. Americans shouldn’t be funding potentially dangerous projects like those at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Especially when those projects occur overseas -- a position a growing number of federal officials have adopted in recent months. Strangely, not everyone in the federal government agrees, and some have even attempted to conceal the government’s role in gain-of-function research at WIV.

During a Senate hearing on May 11, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who is a medical doctor, questioned Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about gain-of-function funding at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. As defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Gain-of-function (GOF) research involves experimentation that aims or is expected to (and/or, perhaps, actually does) increase the transmissibility and/or virulence of pathogens. Such research, when conducted by responsible scientists, usually aims to improve understanding of disease-causing agents, their interaction with human hosts, and/or their potential to cause pandemics.”

Yet Fauci denied the U.S. government’s involvement in the Wuhan lab’s research, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Thousands of Fauci’s emails were recently released by way of the Freedom of Information Act. From those emails, there is strong evidence that Fauci was aware of the GOF research and experiments occurring at the Wuhan Lab via NIH funding. As it is becoming a very real possibility that COVID-19 was developed in the Wuhan lab, Fauci has denied, denied, denied since the beginning.

In an interview with National Geographic on May 4, 2020, Fauci claimed, “If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated.”

Despite his objections, however, U.S. State Department reports show that the U.S. government “engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017.” 

As we wait for further evidence to prove the true origin of the virus, there is no question that allowing unelected bureaucrats to spend our hard-earned tax dollars frivolously and dangerously is unacceptable and must stop immediately.

Fortunately, Paul sponsored Senate Amendment 2003, which the U.S. Senate recently passed. (Co-sponsors included Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Thom Tillis (R-NC).

If approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, the proposal would ban the National Institutes of Health, as well as every other U.S. government agency, from funding gain-of-function research in China. Further, the amendment would specifically ban additional funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

COVID-19 took the lives of millions of people around the world and caused our nation to endure unprecedented socioeconomic turmoil. More investigational research is necessary to uncover the truth about the origin of the virus. However, regardless of how the COVID-19 pandemic began, it is vital that U.S. government agencies refrain from supporting operations backed by untrustworthy foreign governments, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“The truth shall set you free” is a verse that comes to mind in light of recent events. Even if the truth isn’t self-serving for Fauci, or flattering toward the U.S. government, the American people deserve the truth.

Christina Herrin (cherrin@heartland.org) is a government relations manager at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, free-market think tank headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Image: Marco Verch 

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