EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Marshall Pushes to Halt US-Sponsored Gain-of-Function Research

‘History has taught us that viruses have escaped even the most secure labs conducting gain-of-function research,’ Sen. Roger Marshall said.
EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Marshall Pushes to Halt US-Sponsored Gain-of-Function Research
Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) at an interview with The Epoch Times in Washington on June 3, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Frank Fang
Eva Fu
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Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) is introducing a resolution on Tuesday to advance his legislation banning federal funding for research that makes some viruses more deadly, a process known as “gain-of-function,” according to a copy of the bill shared with The Epoch Times.

“There are over 1 million reasons why we must stop the deadly gain-of-function research, and that’s the 1.1 million Americans who died of Covid-19,” Dr. Marshall told The Epoch Times on June 3.

“History has taught us that viruses have escaped even the most secure labs conducting gain-of-function research. Until the oversight process is reformed and adequate guidelines are in place to protect us from dangerous outbreaks, we must put an immediate moratorium on this research.”

By introducing the resolution, Dr. Marshall is asking for unanimous consent of the Senate to immediately hold a vote on his legislation, called the Viral Gain-of-Function Research Moratorium Act, which he first introduced in 2021.
The legislation (S.81), which Dr. Marshall reintroduced in January 2023 along with nine original co-sponsors, would place a moratorium on all federal research grants involving gain-of-function research on viruses that would enhance their pathogenicity or transmissibility in any organism.

The resolution acknowledges that the COVID-19 virus is likely the product of gain-of-function research financed by the U.S. government and conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China. The resolution quoted Dr. Anthony Fauci in 2021, with him saying that “it is impossible to guarantee that researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology did not use American funds to perform gain-of-function research on coronaviruses” between 2014 and 2017.

Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, funneled grant money from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to the WIV. He is now suspended from funding after a decision by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last month.
China’s WIV has long been suspected as the source of COVID-19. The institute, which houses a biosafety level 4 (P4) facility, is located a short distance from a local market, where clusters of infection cases were first reported in late 2019.
In 2021, the U.S. State Department released a fact sheet stating that the WIV had been conducting experiments on bat coronavirus starting in at least 2016. The institute also carried out “laboratory animal experiments” for the Chinese military since at least 2017.
Both the FBI and the Energy Department have also assessed it likely that the virus came out of a Chinese lab.

Testimony

On Monday, Dr. Fauci, who was the NIAID director from 1984 to late 2022, testified before the House Select Subcommittee on the COVID-19 pandemic.
“According to the regulatory and operative definition of P3CO, the NIH did not fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” Dr. Fauci said, referring to the definition of gain-of-function as outlined in Framework for Guiding Funding Decisions about Proposed Research Involving Enhanced Potential Pandemic Pathogens.
In response to Dr. Fauci’s statement, Dr. Marshall took to the social media platform X to criticize the former NIAID director for lying under oath.

“Fauci again lies under oath, claiming the NIH didn’t fund [gain-of-function] research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” Dr. Marshall wrote. “We know NIH provided grants to the WIV, which was conducting deadly [gain-of-function] research for YEARS. Our State Department even acknowledges this fact.”

Ahead of Dr. Fauci’s congressional testimony on Monday, Dr. Marshall penned an op-ed for The Epoch Times demanding the former director answer the pandemic’s unsolved questions.

One question asked why Dr. Fauci “presumably used his power to manipulate science and publish factually incorrect articles to downplay the lab leak theory.”

In March last year, the committee released email evidence suggesting that Dr. Fauci “prompted” the drafting of a “proximal origin” publication meant to “disprove” the lab leak theory.
The P4 laboratory of Wuhan Institute of Virology is seen behind a fence during a visit by the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of COVID-19, in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 3, 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)
The P4 laboratory of Wuhan Institute of Virology is seen behind a fence during a visit by the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of COVID-19, in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 3, 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

“It’s also curious that after Dr. Fauci was questioned by our Senate HELP committee in May 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services shut down all Freedom of Information Act requests. Was Dr. Fauci involved in any discussions for this decision? Why was that decision made?” the op-ed reads.

Dr. Marshall is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP).

In April 2023, Dr. Marshall released a 300-page report on COVID-19’s origins after two years of research.
“A preponderance of evidence in this report suggests there were two separate unintentional lab leaks dating back to fall of 2019 in Wuhan, China with significant evidence supporting that COVID-19 was a lab-created and altered virus,” Dr. Marshall said in a statement accompanying the release of the report.

“This report also concludes that the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] was responding to the coronavirus months before the rest of the world was even aware of its existence, yet China failed to inform the global community of the unfolding disaster.”

Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers U.S., China, and Taiwan news. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.
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