Kansas GOP Sen. Roger Marshall is leading a group of fellow Republicans in introducing new legislation that will put a temporary hold on federal research grants that go to universities and other organizations that are conducting "risky research on potential pandemic pathogens."
The Vital Gain of Function Research Moratorium Act was written and presented in response to congressional inquiries into such research. Marshall says that the probes has revealed significant issues including federal agencies authorizing "dangerous research" with countries that may have been involved with the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Singling out Dr. Anthony Fauci, the county's top infectious disease expert, Marshall said, "For the last decade, Dr. Fauci has funded gain-of-function research on SARS viruses, and until we get to the bottom of the origins of COVID-19, the federal government should not provide another dime in funding for viral gain-of-function research in the name of global health."
The senator also said that he firmly believes a "comprehensive global investigation on the origins of COVID-19" needs to be carried out.
Such research, albeit risky, attempts to better under the characteristic and patterns of potential dangerous pathogens to better combat outbreaks.
Marshall also argued the Defense Department has over the years provided at least $40 million in funding to the EcoHealth Alliance to conduct gain of function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, in the same China city were COVID started. That funding he argues was, for the most part, distributed with "no transparency and no accountability."
The bill is co-sponsored by nine other Republican senators including the delegation from Tennessee, Kentucky's Rand Paul, Tom Cotton, of Arkansas, Tommy Tuberville, of Alabama, and Florida's Marco Rubio.