House Hearing on COVID Origin Raises Questions

After a Wednesday hearing on COVID-19’s origins, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Epidemic heard testimony from lawmakers and medical experts who called for further investigation.

On Wednesday, experts including former CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield, Atlantic Council senior fellow Dr. Jamie Metzl, author and journalist Nicholas Wade, and Johns Hopkins, a University School of Medicine professor Dr. Paul Auwaerter presented their findings on the competing theories that COVID-19 resulted from a natural outbreak or a laboratory leak.

Redfield stated that the more probable scenario was a lab leak. According to testimony from Auwaerter, U.S. government agencies have only a low to moderate level of confidence that COVID-19 resulted from a lab leak. At the same time, many doctors and scientists feel clear indicators point to the animal origin. Auwaerter also testified that stating that current data cannot be appropriately backed creates confusion and mistrust.

At least a few of the witnesses voiced serious concerns about the effectiveness of the initial efforts to trace the virus’s origins and the role played by the Chinese authorities in restricting access to those who wanted to learn more about the virus’s origins.

Rep. Ami Bera said China’s actions to hide information from investigators made it more suspicious, maybe due to a lab leak, regardless of the natural origin of COVID-19.

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) said the testimony was informative and added new details, but it also made her suspicious of China’s involvement in the pandemic.

Democrat and progressive Metzl claimed that initial efforts to determine what caused COVID-19 were insufficient. According to his testimony before the subcommittee, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) investigation into the viral outbreak in 2021 was a failure. According to Metzl, during a four-week study visit, a WHO team from another country was quarantined for two weeks, had restricted access to raw data, and was not even permitted full access to their Chinese colleagues.

According to Metzl’s comments to NTD, a lack of thoroughness in the initial investigation of the virus’s origins, it has helped the scientific community settle on a desired narrative of the Chinese government, which blamed the virus outbreak on animal interactions instead of the possibility that the outbreak was the consequence of careless experimentation with fatal diseases.

Metzl said during the hearing that the Chinese government accepts the concept of a spontaneous epidemic caused by COVID-19 jumping from an animal to a human host but that the government has not yet identified the animal that may have served as the intermediate host.

Researchers quickly identified the intermediate species responsible for transmitting the virus from animals to humans during previous virus outbreaks, as noted by Metzl. These outbreaks include the 2002 SARS outbreak in China and the 2012 MERS epidemic in Saudi Arabia.

To show his appreciation for Dr. Anthony Fauci’s strong opposition to the lab leak scenario, EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak sent him an email in April 2020. The Wuhan Institute of Virology is a partner of the EcoHealth Alliance.

Bipartisan support is growing for releasing data on the genesis of COVID-19. Information connecting COVID-19 to the Wuhan Institute of Virology was unanimously agreed to be made public by the Senate last week. This Thursday, Connecticut Democrat Rep. Jim Himes sponsored a bill introduced by Republicans to declassify intelligence concerning the possible lab leak.

In May of 2021, President Joseph Biden requested that the United States intelligence community review their findings regarding the possible sources of COVID-19, mainly any information supporting the lab leak hypothesis.