The Senate passed a bipartisan resolution on May 28 that calls on the World Health Organization (WHO) to act with “extreme urgency” to investigate the origins of the CCP virus, demanding full and transparent access to records in China, which senators have accused of stonewalling and a “cover-up.”
The resolution, introduced by Sens. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), seeks an immediate, comprehensive, and transparent investigation that would be mandated by the World Health Assembly (WHA), the governing body of the WHO, with access to all relevant records, samples, and personnel in China.
The probe “must fully explore all possible sources of the COVID-19 pandemic, including exclusively ‘natural’ zoonosis in the wild, human contamination in an animal farm, and a research-related accident,” the resolution states (pdf).
It also demands the United States and its global allies and partners get involved “if China continues on its path of cover-up and obfuscation,” a joint statement from the senators reads.
“It’s outrageous that a comprehensive investigation on the origins of COVID-19 has still not been carried out,” Marshall said in a statement, which comes as the WHA convenes virtually for a series of meetings between May 24 and June 1.
“We must get a full investigation into the outbreak,” Marshall said. “If China continues on its path of cover-up, we must begin planning a full investigation, including with partners around the world.
“The Chinese must show us the data and be transparent with the world—and if they don’t, we will fight to get to the bottom of this outbreak.”
Gillibrand doubled down on insisting that Beijing’s “obstruction is completely unacceptable.”
“Our resolution makes clear that the U.S. believes that the previous WHO investigation was flawed, that there must be accountability, and all potential origins of this virus, including a lab leak, must be investigated fully,” Gillibrand said.
The first WHO study into the origins of the CCP virus concluded with a report in March stating that the virus likely spread to people through an unknown animal, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the mission to study the origin of the virus didn’t adequately analyze other theories.
“As far as WHO is concerned, all hypotheses remain on the table. … We have not yet found the source of the virus,” Ghebreyesus said at the time.
On May 25, the United States urged the WHO to start a fresh investigation into the source of the CCP virus, highlighting the need for transparency.
“Phase 2 of the COVID origins study must be launched with terms of reference that are transparent, science-based, and give international experts the independence to fully assess the source of the virus and the early days of the outbreak,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in remarks to the 74th World Health Assembly.
The United States and more than a dozen other nations have raised concerns about the phase one WHO study into the origin of the virus, pointing to the report’s significant delay and China’s refusal to share crucial raw data.
President Joe Biden announced on May 26 that he has ordered a closer intelligence review of what he characterized as two equally plausible scenarios of the origins of the CCP virus—one natural, the other a lab leak.
The laboratory at the heart of the controversy is housed at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, in Wuhan, China. It has surged into the spotlight amid concern that the CCP virus may have originated there, rather than by making a natural jump from bats to humans.
Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee argued in a May 19 report (pdf) that it’s more likely the virus escaped from the lab.
The CCP has denied any connection between the virus’s origin and the Wuhan lab, and has pushed the “natural zoonotic” hypothesis—that the virus was transmitted to humans from an animal host. However, Beijing has so far failed to identify the original animal species that supposedly passed the virus to humans.
In addition, the Chinese regime has claimed that the virus originated outside of China. At a May 24 press briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused the United States of releasing the virus from the Fort Detrick military base in Maryland.
Amid questions about the origins of the CCP virus, the Wuhan Institute of Virology has refused to share its raw data, safety logs, and lab records about its work on coronaviruses in bats.