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GOP rep asks Fauci for information on U.S. funding of coronavirus experiments at Wuhan laboratory

Controversy has swirled around lab since outset of pandemic.

May 7, 2021 3:22pm

Updated: May 7, 2021 4:27pm

A Republican representative in Congress this week asked White House coronavirus adviser Anthony Fauci for information related to the United States' funding of coronavirus experiments at a Wuhan, China laboratory that sits just miles from the first identified outbreak of COVID-19. 

Hundreds of thousands of U.S. taxpayer dollars flowed to the Wuhan Institute of Virology via the U.S. nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance in the years leading up to the pandemic, much of it via the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which has been headed by Fauci for decades.

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher in a Wednesday letter to Fauci asked the doctor, "How much U.S. government funding has gone to the WIV over time," as well as "how much of that supported gain-of-function research," a controversial practice in which virologists seek to increase the pathogenicity of viruses to study their pandemic potential. 

Gallagher in the letter also asked Fauci if he considers it a credible theory that the virus escaped from the Wuhan lab, as well as whether or not gain-of-function research is itself too risky an undertaking in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Given the stakes, we cannot afford to settle for a limited, blinkered, or politicized understanding of the origin of this terrible disease," Gallagher wrote in the letter. 

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