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Press Release Published: May 24, 2023

Wenstrup Reveals NIH “Bio-Safety Concern” at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Requests Further Explanation

WASHINGTON — Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) is calling on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to explain its letter to the University of California, Irvine (Irvine) in which the NIH suspended all subgrant funds previously allocated to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) under claims that the WIV “has been conducting research at its facilities in China that pose serious bio-safety concerns.” The May 2020 letter is another acknowledgement by the NIH that risky research and lackluster bio-safety were determining factors in revoking U.S. taxpayer funding from the Wuhan lab. The NIH failed to share these concerns with the American people. Chairman Wenstrup is requesting all documents and communications related to the May 2020 letter that support the NIH’s assertion of bio-safety concerns at the WIV.

“According to documents in possession of the Select Subcommittee, on May 20, 2020, the NIH wrote to Irvine notifying it that the NIH was “suspending all activities…for which the Wuhan Institute of Virology is a subaward participant…” (enclosed).  According to the letter, “the National Institutes of Health (NIH) ha[d] been made aware of reports that Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) [sic] has been conducting research at its facilities in China that pose serious bio-safety concerns and, as a result, health and welfare threats to the public, both in China and other countries, including the United States.”  The NIH continued, “[i]t is the NIH mission to protect public health and welfare from a serious deficiency such as unsafe laboratory practices,” wrote Chairman Wenstrup

As mounting declassified intelligence and scientific evidence support that COVID-19 likely originated at the WIV, a further investigation into how and why this occurred is an essential step towards preventing a future pandemic and to holding those responsible for the outbreak of COVID-19 accountable. The Select Subcommittee is greatly concerned that the NIH used U.S. taxpayer dollars to knowingly fund dangerous and potentially dangerous research in China. The NIH hid the truth about its role in the COVID-19 pandemic when in private discussions it acknowledged that the WIV posed a “bio-safety concern,” but promoted a different narrative publicly.

“The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic (Select Subcommittee) is investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Pursuant to that investigation, we are evaluating the National Institutes of Health (NIH) interactions with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), including its funneling of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the WIV through U.S. based institutions without proper oversight.  The Select Subcommittee is now the only Committee in Congress with explicit jurisdiction to conduct this wide-ranging and important investigation,” continued Chairman Wenstrup.

Read Chairman Wenstrup’s letter to the NIH here and the NIH’s letter to Irvine here.