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Press Release Published: Jul 11, 2023

Wenstrup Releases Alarming New Report on “Proximal Origin” Authors, NIH Suppression of the COVID-19 Lab Leak Hypothesis

WASHINGTON — Today, Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) issued an interim staff report detailing the Select Subcommittee’s comprehensive investigation into the suppression of the lab-leak hypothesis by America’s leading public health officials through the drafting, publication, and critical reception of the infamous “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2” (“Proximal Origin”) publication. The report titled “The Proximal Origin of a Cover-Up: Did the ‘Bethesda Boys’ Downplay a Lab Leak?” reveals extensive influence by the NIH and the flawed analysis combined with an alarming lack of evidence that led the paper’s co-authors to argue in support of a zoonotic origin.

“America’s leading health officials vilified and suppressed the lab leak theory in pursuit of a preferred, coordinated narrative that was not based in truth or science. The Select Subcommittee’s report proves that the conclusions championed by the co-authors of Proximal Origin are not only inaccurate, but were crafted to appease a stated political motive,” said Chairman Wenstrup. “Stifling scientific discourse and labeling those who believe in the possibility of a lab-leak as ‘conspiracy theorists’ caused irrefutable harm to public trust in our health officials. Americans deserve to know why honesty, transparency, and facts were abandoned. Our report is devoted to achieving that goal.”

Included in the report are previously unrevealed Slack messages and emails between the co-authors, unabridged transcripts of interviews with every U.S.-based contributor to the paper, and a detailed analysis of the coordinated effort to suppress the lab-leak theory.

Key findings from the report:

  • Dr. Fauci, Dr. Collins, and the NIH exerted undue influence over the drafting and publication of “Proximal Origin.” Specifically, Dr. Fauci suggested the drafting of a paper regarding the lab leak theory to Dr. Andersen twice, while Dr. Collins pushed for publication and approved of the substance of “Proximal Origin.” The co-authors were so comfortable with the NIH’s involvement that they coined the name “Bethesda Boys” to describe the nation’s leading health officials.
  • “Proximal Origin” co-authors skewed available evidence when executing Dr. Fauci’s vision of a single narrative. The facts and science relied upon to draw conclusions in “Proximal Origin” have never been proven or verified. Many of the arguments championed by the publication suffer from inaccurate assumptions and obvious inconsistencies.
  • Dr. Anderson made it clear the co-authors allowed politics to influence the science behind “Proximal Origin”. In private slack messages, Dr. Anderson said, “Although I hate when politics is injected into science – but it’s impossible not to, especially given the circumstances.” The co-authors and Dr. Collins also attempted to downplay the lab leak theory seemingly motivated by an interest to defend China and play diplomat.
  • Nature initially rejected “Proximal Origin” because it didn’t sufficiently downplay the lab leak theory. The co-authors amended their paper to include stronger language that would unequivocally rule out the lab-leak hypothesis to ensure approval by Nature Medicine. Read a full history of the drafts leading up to the final “Proximal Origin” publication here.
  • Investigating any egregious COVID-19 cover-up is essential to preserving future scientific integrity. “Proximal Origin” is the 5th most impactful scientific paper in history. To date, it has been accessed over 5.8 million times and cited over 2,800 times. Given its colossal reach and its dubious conclusions, it is necessary to analyze the process and publication of this paper to prevent the suppression of scientific discourse in future pandemics.
  • The Select Subcommittee’s investigation is not over. There are still outstanding requests for transcribed interviews and documents from Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins. The Select Subcommittee will follow through on these requests.

Read the final, comprehensive report here.

Transcribed interviews with the U.S.-based “Proximal Origin” contributors can be found below: