There is “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” backing the theory that the COVID-19 pandemic began in a lab in China, a report released Wednesday by House Intelligence Committee Republicans has concluded.
Led by ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the report assesses the Wuhan Institute of Virology was secretly working with the Chinese military, conducting risky gain-of-function research, the Washington Examiner reported.
The 21-page Republican report, “In Focus: COVID-19 and the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” also presents evidence that the U.S. funded the lab’s gain-of-function research after support for such research had been suspended in 2014 by the Obama administration.
The idea of “gain of function” is to increase the virulence and transmissiblity of a virus that is regarded as a potential threat to humans. The data is then used to begin developing vaccines and treatments in case of an outbreak. The obvious risk is that an experimental virus programmed to be highly contagious and powerful could be accidentally released. And that is what a growing number of scientists and lawmakers such as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., believe happened after more than a year of media, politicians and top health officials dismissing the scenario as a “conspiracy theory.”
On Wednesday, Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky admitted in response to queries by Republican Sen. John Kennedy that it’s “possible” the COVID-19 virus could have leaked “from a lab.”
Last week, as WND reported, a group of 18 prominent scientists published a paper in the journal Science calling for an investigation into the origins of the pandemic, insisting an accidental leak from a lab cannot be ruled out.
The open letter came on the heels of Sen. Paul confronting White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci on the issue, and a former Science editor publishing a lengthy analysis concluding the evidence points to a lab leak.
The 18 scientists said the lab theory was not given “balanced consideration” in the investigation of the pandemic’s origin by a team commissioned by the World Health Organization. Both the Trump and Biden administrations have cast doubt on the joint China-WHO probe and accused Beijing of thwarting an independent investigation into the origins of the virus. The WHO-China report concluded a jump from animals to humans was most likely.