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Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee Griffith Opening remarks at the Covid Select Subcommittee hearing with Peter Daszak, CEO of EcoHealth Alliance

Washington, D.C. — Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) delivered the following opening statement at the Select Subcommittee Hearing on the Coronavirus Pandemic, entitled “A Hearing with EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. . Peter Daszak.” Given the ongoing coordinated efforts, committee leaders from the House Energy and Commerce Committee were allowed to participate in the hearing.

Prepared remarks below:

“I would like to thank chairmen Comer and Wenstrup, ranking members Raskin and Ruiz for holding this hearing today and for inviting relevant E&C chairmen and ranking members.

“For more than a year, we have been working together to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the role played by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), led by Dr. Fauci, and EcoHealth, led by Dr. Daszak may have played a role in this by funding research and facilitating the transfer of technologies to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, henceforth known as ‘Wuhan’.

“It is critical that we understand what went wrong in NIAID and EcoHealth’s relationship with Wuhan.

“Frankly, it was alarming to discover that NIAID’s approval and oversight of high-risk experiments involving potential pandemic pathogens is so lax.

“My hope is that when we are done, we will have a package of legislative proposals and other recommendations on biosafety and biosecurity.

“I increasingly think this means taking final approval authority for these experiments away from NIAID and other funding in favor of an independent entity.

“With so many lives lost and disrupted by what I believe was an investigation-related accident. We need transparent, effective oversight and strict regulation of gain-of-function research of concern.

“We certainly don’t have that now.

“I participated in Dr.’s transcribed interview. Tie bag.

“It is clear to me that neither NIAID nor EcoHealth have a full picture of what Wuhan was planning with its coronavirus collection, or with their gain-of-function research path.

“But what we know from EcoHealth’s NIAID grant, the DEFUSE proposal, and the private musings of virologists who have worked with Wuhan is not reassuring.

“We do not have this crucial information because NIAID’s assessment and oversight were a farce.

“NIAID and EcoHealth were completely asleep during the transition.

“I think they were grossly negligent.

“I find it incomprehensible that NIAID continues to fund EcoHealth’s collaboration with Wuhan to this day.

“EcoHealth’s grant was reinstated so they could process virus samples and sequences previously collected.

“It turns out that many of those viruses and sequences are in the hands of Wuhan.

“NIAID didn’t even think to ask them where the samples were stored before restarting funding.

“Even after COVID-19, it’s business as usual. It is absurd and it must change, otherwise we risk – perhaps – another accident with major consequences.

“We need to put some adults to work to independently review the proposed gain-of-function research that is concerning and that NIAID and other agencies want to fund.

“Thank you again, Mr. Chairman.

“I look forward to continuing to work together and giving back.”