WASHINGTON — Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) will hold a hearing titled “Strengthening Biosafety and Biosecurity Standards: Protecting Against Future Pandemics” to evaluate the effectiveness of existing biosafety and biosecurity practices in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and to discuss future policy improvements. Current standards for high-risk laboratories in the U.S. and abroad are confusing, overlapping, and often require individual facilities and scientists to police themselves. In addition, this hearing will examine the conflicting oversight mechanisms and federal guidelines that control laboratory activity funded by the U.S. government.
Mounting evidence and intelligence continue to suggest the COVID-19 pandemic originated at a lab — that may have been funded by the U.S. government — in Wuhan, China. Identifying biosafety and biosecurity shortcomings, challenges, and failures that could have contributed to the emergence of this pandemic will help play a critical role in preventing future public health disasters.
“Ensuring improved and modernized biosafety and biosecurity standards across public and private sectors is an obvious step in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the Wuhan Institute of Virology had an extensive history of conducting risky gain-of-function research at inadequate biosafety levels, and American public health authorities had been alerted to this risk. As we prepare to protect our country against another potential public health crisis, evaluating the effectiveness of our current biosecurity policies is essential to implement proper future safeguards. The Select Subcommittee looks forward to hearing from renowned expert on this topic, Dr. Gerald Parker,” said Chairman Wenstrup.
WHAT: Hearing titled “Strengthening Biosafety and Biosecurity Standards: Protecting Against Future Pandemics”
DATE: Wednesday, October 18, 2023
TIME: 10:00 AM ET
LOCATION: 2154 Rayburn House Office Building
Gerald W. Parker, Jr., DVM, PhD
Associate Dean for Global One Health
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Texas A&M University
*Additional witnesses to be announced*