Republican Lawmakers Reportedly Seek to Uncover 'Bias' in COVID-19 Origin Investigation
Despite multiple investigations into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak, including those made with the participation of the US Intelligence Community and the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is still unclear how COVID-19 emerged and came to disrupt life in almost every country on the planet.
Republican lawmakers are seeking to expose what they think was "bias" in the investigation into the coronavirus' origins and prejudice against the lab leak theory, CNN reported, citing several sources familiar with the matter.
At least five sources shared their frustration after a closed-door intelligence briefing that took place last week, with the GOP legislators confident that experts consulted by the Biden administration on COVID origins were biased.
According to the report, the intelligence briefing took place on 29 September, and Republicans pressed the briefers to reveal the names of the outside experts who were involved in the investigation. At one point they even went through a list of names, reading out loud a name and asking the briefers to provide a "yes-or-no" answer on whether the named individual was involved.
The GOP lawmakers were reportedly seeking to identify non-governmental scientists, not intelligence officials. Particularly, a US representative in the WHO-led investigation, Peter Daszak, faced intense scrutiny due to his past partnership with the Wuhan Institute of Virology - an institution believed by some to have been involved in the emergence of the coronavirus. According to critics, Daszak's work with the Wuhan laboratory could have prompted a conflict of interest.
Earlier last month, medical journal The Lancet announced the closure of its task force examining the coronavirus' origins - a body that was led by Daszak. According to The Wall Street Journal, the chairman of The Lancet's COVID commission decided to dismantle the task force due to its links to Daszak and his organisation EcoHealth Alliance, which was reported to have used US funds for bat coronavirus studies carried out in partnership with the Wuhan Institute.
25 September 2021, 19:40 GMT
The Biden-ordered 90-day investigation into how the coronavirus emerged did not yield very certain results, with the Intelligence Community remaining divided on whether the disease emerged naturally or escaped from a laboratory. The only thing that the American intelligence report managed to articulate confidently was that COVID-19 is not a Chinese-created bioweapon.
However, these conclusions did not satisfy the Republicans, some of whom continue to insist that the coronavirus escaped from the Wuhan laboratory, while also accusing the Biden administration of a lack of commitment to uncovering the truth about the virus' origins.
"Unfortunately, the Biden administration is refusing to take investigating the origins of this virus seriously", GOP Representative Michael McCaul of Texas lamented back in June.
In response to continued allegations that the virus escaped from a Chinese lab, Beijing has insisted that the claims are untrue, refusing to take part in a second WHO-led investigation into the disease's origins after the possibility of a lab leak was included in the proposal.
"In some aspects, the WHO's plan for next phase of investigation of the coronavirus origin doesn't respect common sense, and it's against science. It's impossible for us to accept such a plan", Zeng Yixin, deputy head of China's National Health Commission, said in July.