INSIDE SOURCES

Stewart seeks to block US funding going to places like Wuhan lab in China where pandemic may have started

Jun 25, 2021, 7:05 PM | Updated: Aug 2, 2022, 12:40 pm
China funding...
A security person moves journalists away from the Wuhan Institute of Virology after a World Health Organization team arrived for a field visit in Wuhan in China's Hubei province on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. The WHO team is investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic has visited two disease control centers in the province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah congressman is co-sponsoring a bill that would ban federal funding from going to adversarial countries such as China, North Korea, Russia and Iran for gain-of-function research, which seeks to boost the severity or harmfulness of a virus, disease or poison in order to combat future viruses or pathogens.

“There is significant circumstantial evidence that COVID-19 leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology” in China, said Rep. Chris Stewart. “The origin of this virus is one of the most important questions we currently face, and the American people deserve answers. U.S. taxpayer dollars have been funneled to the very lab that conducted this dangerous research and turned our world upside down.”

The pandemic began in China

President Joe Biden has requested that US intelligence agencies investigate the origins of COVID-19. Australia, Japan and the European Union have asked for a study into the virus’s origins in China. 

Chinese government officials suppressed crucial public-health data at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and during the 2002–04 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic, according to a report in Nature.

However, a joint World Health Organization-China study on the origins of COVID-19 says that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is “extremely unlikely,” according to a draft copy obtained by The Associated Press.

China ‘not a trusted partner’

Stewart joins Inside Sources host Boyd Matheson to discuss his legislation.

If it were not for “gain-of-function research, COVID probably wouldn’t have been developed,” Stewart said, “and it wouldn’t have been nearly as effective as it was and transmittable. At a minimum, Boyd, as an absolute minimum, if you put forward an argument that you think this is necessary research in order to protect against the pandemic, for heaven’s sakes, don’t team with China to do this research because we know they’re not trusted partners.”

He added that if the research is necessary to protect against future pandemics or outbreaks, do it within the borders of the United States.

Failure of imagination

Stewart recalled that early on during the pandemic before most Americans had ever heard of a new virus in China, intelligent agencies said repeatedly that COVID-19 originated from a natural transmission of animals to humans.

“We have the Wuhan laboratory there [in China]. Is it possible it came from there? They, to their fault, excluded that as a possibility really early and without evidence.”

“One of the interesting lessons that I hope we learned from this is there needs to be a greater sense of imagination . . . among our intelligence community to look at other possibilities,” Stewart said, “because had we known early on, it would have affected the way we responded to this. I’m not talking about punishing China or anything. I’m talking about how we respond medically to this pandemic.” 

 

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

 

Other Reading:

WHO team visits Wuhan virus lab at center of speculation

WHO team in Wuhan departs quarantine for COVID origins study

2 films offer 2 tales ahead of Wuhan lockdown anniversary

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Stewart seeks to block US funding going to places like Wuhan lab in China where pandemic may have started