An amendment by Rand Paul barring the NIH from funding some types of research in China passed in the Senate amid new debate on COVID-19's origin
- An amendment by Sen.
Rand Paulto ban NIH from funding certain research in China passed in the Senate.
- An amendment banning funding from going to the Wuhan Institute of Virology was also approved.
- There have been new calls to determine if the
coronaviruspandemic was accidentally leaked from the lab.
An amendment that would ban the National Institute of Health from funding certain types of research was approved by the Senate on Tuesday, amid new debates on whether or not the coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab.
The amendment by GOP Sen. Rand Paul was added to the Endless Frontier Act, a broader technology investment bill. It bans the NIH from funding "gain-of-function" research, which is research that alters an organism or disease to make it more transmissible, or pathogenic.
"We don't know whether the pandemic started in a lab in Wuhan or evolved naturally," Paul, who is a medical doctor said in a statement. "While many still deny funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan, experts believe otherwise. The passage of my amendment ensures that this never happens in the future. No taxpayer money should have ever been used to fund gain-of-function research in Wuhan, and now we permanently have put it to a stop."
In a hearing this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told Paul his claims that the NIH funds gain-of-function research to China are false.
"Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect that the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology," Fauci said.
This comes as experts call for a reevaluation of whether the coronavirus pandemic was triggered by an accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that US intelligence found three researchers at the lab became sick with COVID-19 symptoms in November 2019 and sought hospital care.
The Senate also approved an amendment from GOP Sen. Joni Ernst that would ban US funding from going to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
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