The report, while not a formal scientific document, could serve as a template for future investigative hearings in Congress should Republicans take control of Congress. House and/or Senate after midterm elections. The so-called “lab leak” theory has become a hot topic among some Republicans seeking office. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has promised to hold hearings if his party wins the Senate.
A 35-page “interim” report released Thursday came from Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Senator Richard Burr, RN.C., and Republican staff members investigating the origins of the virus. Thing.
While the report supports the origin of ‘laborique’, it does not rule out a market origin. Nor does it indulge in provocative arguments. For example, there is no claim that the virus was designed as a bioweapon.
Nor does it mention Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He is targeted by Paul and other Laborique supporters because his lab helped fund virus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
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The report’s conclusions differ significantly from those of two peer-reviewed studies published in Science this summer, and provide a case for the South China Seafood Market to be the epicenter of the outbreak. One study found there was a geographic bull’s eye on the market among the early cases of the disease, which came to be called covid-19. Another study showed analysis of his two early strains of the virus, suggesting that he had two, or even more, different spillovers of the virus from marketed animals. .
Scientists who support the market origin don’t know which animals were infected or where they came from. Market animals were not tested before the market was closed and cleaned.
“There is no significant evidence to support natural zoonotic spread. Absence of evidence is not evidence in itself, but the absence of evidence to support zoonotic spread three years after the pandemic is significant. It’s very problematic,” says the new GOP report.
University of Arizona professor Michael Worobey, co-author of both studies published in Science, says the new GOP report “completely misunderstands science.”
“As the saying goes, mix science and politics and you get politics.” He said.
Worobey said the hypothesis of some sort of laboratory accident is worth investigating, writing to Science in May 2021, arguing that all possible origins need to be investigated. was one of But his research, and that of other scientists, points to the origins of the market, he said.
He said he would be happy to testify if the Republican Party called a public hearing.
David Relman, a professor of medicine at Stanford University and one of the experts interviewed by the committee staff, described the report as a credible resource for compiling a lot of information, including safety issues in Chinese laboratories. I applaud you for your efforts.
“I think we’ve dealt fairly and fairly with the bulk of the circumstantial evidence that supports both hypotheses,” Lermann said. “But it particularly raises questions about the assumption that natural spillovers must have been responsible.”
Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan and co-author of the Science paper, dismisses the new GOP report as a “speculative gesture” and considers it a partisan document.
“This is a service that tries to set something politically favorable for a party,” she said. “To make it easier to essentially show trials for the adversaries of the people, which unfortunately have come to include scientists.”
The report landed on the final day of the election cycle, with multiple Republicans, including Paul sitting on the health panel, accusing Fauci of hiding information about the origin of the virus.
Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) said: In a statement Thursday, it called on Fauci to “publish all texts, emails, correspondence and grant records in full and unredacted.”
Burr, who is retiring this year, has taken a more conciliatory approach with Fauci. celebrate the work of many years of government scientists At last month’s public hearings, it seeks to focus the report on broader issues of biosafety.
While concluding that a research-related incident was the “most likely” cause of the outbreak, the new report is far from declaring a case closed.
“This conclusion is not conclusive,” the body of the report said. “The lack of transparency from government and public health officials [People’s Republic of China] It prevents us from reaching more definitive conclusions about the origin of SARS-CoV-2. These conclusions may be subject to review and reconsideration as additional information becomes available and is subject to independent verification. ”
The panel’s report was steered by Barr’s adviser Robert Kadlec, who served as assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Trump administration.
Some health officials, including Robert Redfield, who served as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the Trump administration, have echoed their belief that a lab leak in China was the most likely cause of the pandemic. I repeated.
“You would think that the preponderance of evidence on the origin of covid-19 is that it is not of natural origin. told the committee.
In a statement Thursday, the panel’s top Democrats reiterated that another investigation into the origins of the virus is underway.
“[I]In 2021, I and Sen. Barr announced a bipartisan effort to oversee the origins of this virus. The HELP committee continues its bipartisan work on this oversight report,” said Senator Patti Murray, a Washington Democrat, chair of the Senate Health Committee.