UPDATE – A press release by Senator Rubio states that he has joined Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS) and colleagues in introducing the Viral Gain of Function Research Moratorium Act to place a moratorium on all federal research grants to universities and other organizations conducting risky gain-of-function research on potential pandemic pathogens. This legislation is in response to congressional inquiries and various media investigations revealing national security issues, including federal agencies authorizing dangerous research with certain foreign entities that may have contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. – Read full release here.
Senator Rubio and Marshall were also joined by other Senators including, Rand Paul (R-KY), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), and James Lankford (R-OK).
According to media reports, a group of US Republicans are planning to introduce bill to ban all federal funding for gain-of-function research after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reportedly donated to a Chinese lab prior to the Covid pandemic.
Gain-of-function research is a contentious practise that involves increasing a virus’s transmissibility or lethality in order to study the emergence of new diseases.
According to the Daily Mail, the NIH gave a $600,000 grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in 2014 through the US-based non-profit EcoHealth Alliance to study bat coronaviruses.
WIV is thought to conduct gain-of-function research, which is also central to the lab leak theory for Covid-19’s origins.
While the WIV was told not to use the funds for gain-of-function research, former NIH Director Francis Collins was quoted as saying that there was no way to know the truth.
The practise was prohibited by the federal government under President Barack Obama in 2014, but the NIH overturned the decision in 2017, according to the report.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has also stated that the US funding was not used for gain-of-function research.
“For the last decade, Dr Fauci has funded gain-of-function research on SARS viruses, and until we get to the bottom of the origins of Covid-19, the federal government should not provide another dime in funding for viral gain-of-function research in the name of global health,’ Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, said in a statement.
According to the report, the moratorium would prohibit all federal research grants to universities and other organisations funding gain-of-function research.
Meanwhile, Fauci has defended the NIH offering the money to the Chinese lab, claiming that they did not use it for gain-of-function.