virus research lab

Virus Hunter at Center of ‘Lab Leak Theory’ Grilled by Congressional Committee

May 4, 2024 | Source: U.S. Right to Know | by Emily Kopp

EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak testified before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Wednesday about his coronavirus research collaboration situated at the epicenter of the worst pandemic in a century.

Daszak’s organization collaborated closely with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab complex specializing in bat-borne viruses, including SARS-related coronaviruses. The lab hosted one of the world’s largest coronavirus databases before the data was made inaccessible in the fall of 2019.

Daszak is the first scientist connected to the coronavirus research in Wuhan called to testify before the committee. Democrats and Republicans alike aggressively questioned Daszak on his downplaying of the risks involved in these coronavirus research projects and questioned whether he breached laws regulating federal grantees.

Daszak’s scientific publications, research proposals and grant reports have stoked concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic emerged from his partnering lab in Wuhan. Their collaboration discovered one of the closest known viruses to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Their work included gain-of-function experiments that made coronaviruses more deadly. Other internal records obtained by U.S. Right to Know revealed their collaboration’s particular interest in viruses with unique features found in the genome of SARS-CoV-2.