The report, though not an official scientific document, represents a possible model for future investigative hearings in Congress if the Republicans gain control. Parliament or Senate – or both – after the midterm elections. The so-called “lab leak” theory is a talking point for some Republicans seeking office, and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Has promised to hold a hearing if his party wins the Senate.
The 35-page “provisional” report released Thursday is from Senator Richard Burr (RN.C.) and a Republican employee of the Senate Health, Education, Employment and Retirement Committee who is investigating the source of the virus.
Although this report favors “lab leaks” origins, it does not rule out market origins. The report also does not adhere to further provocative arguments for how SARS-CoV-2 reaches the population. For example, there is no claim that the virus was engineered as a biological weapon.
It also does not mention Anthony S. Fauci, president of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a frequent target of Paul and other laboratory leak advocates because his institute has helped fund research on viruses at the Wuhan Institute. of Virology.
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The report’s conclusions are very different from the two peer-reviewed studies published in this summer’s scientific journal that show the case for the Hunan seafood market at the center of an explosion. One study found geographical cow eyes on the market among the first cases of a disease called Covid-19. Other studies have shown the analysis of the first two viruses, which show that there are two and probably the spread of many different viruses from animals sold on the market.
Scientists who like market sources do not know which animals became infected or where they came from. No animals at the market were tested before the market was closed and cleaned.
“Significant evidence of a natural spread has disappeared. While the absence of evidence is not self-evident, the lack of evidence of a leak or leak within three years of an epidemic is a serious problem, ”the new GOP report said.
Michael Worobey, a professor at the University of Arizona who co-authored the two studies published in Science, said the new GOP report “gets the science completely wrong.”
“As the saying goes, when you mix science and politics, you get politics.” He said.
Worobey said the hypotheses of some laboratory incidents were worth investigating, and he was among the scientists who wrote a letter to Science in May 2021, arguing that all possible origins should be identified. Investigate. But he said his investigation and those of other scientists were pointing to market sources.
He said he would be willing to testify if the Republicans called a hearing.
David Relman, a professor of medicine at Stanford University who was interviewed by the committee staff, praised the report as a credible effort to extract a wide range of information, including safety issues in Chinese laboratories. Also.
“I think it’s a safe and fair treatment of what is largely evidence of the circumstances that make up the case for both hypotheses,” Relman said. But in particular it raises the question of assuming that natural overflow must be the cause.
Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan and co-author of a scientific paper, dismissed the new GOP report as “speculative waving” and described it as partisan.
“This is an attempt to create something that is politically useful for a party,” she said. “It’s to make it easier to present the main test for human enemies, which unfortunately Come and join the scientists. ”
The report comes on the last day of the election cycle, in which several Republicans – including Paul, who sits on the Health Council – have accused Fauci of withholding information about the origin of the virus.
Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan) said: “We owe it to Americans who lost their lives to the virus, their families and those who are still struggling with the social and economic consequences of an epidemic to continue investigating the origin of the virus. This “. In a statement on Thursday, Fauci called for “release of contact email articles and provide complete and unedited records.”
Burr, who will retire this year, has taken steps to reconcile with Fauci. Praise the work of long-time government scientists At last month’s hearing and tried to focus on the report on a wide range of biosecurity questions.
While concluding that the research-related incident was the “most likely” source of the outbreak, the new report stops the closing of the case. Burr’s notes are identical.
The main article of the report states that “this conclusion is not intended to be harmful.” “Lack of transparency from government and public health officials in the country [People’s Republic of China] Concerning the origin of SARS-CoV-2, it is impossible to reach a clearer conclusion. If additional information is made public and is the subject of independent verification, it is possible that these conclusions will be reviewed and reconsidered.
The council report was led by Robert Kadlec, Burr’s adviser, 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 was director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the Trump administration, reiterated their belief that laboratory leaks in China were the most likely cause of the epidemic.
“I think you will see the presumption of evidence for the origin of Covid-19 is that it is not of natural origin. That is my personal opinion,” Redfield told a congressional committee investigating the virus response. Of the government in March.
In a statement on Thursday, the Democrats’ top committee reiterated that a separate investigation into the origins of the virus was under way.
“[I]In 2021, I announced a bilateral review effort with Senber about the origin of the virus. Senate Health Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) Said the Aid Committee is continuing bilateral work on the review report.