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Senate passes Paul's amendment to bar government from funding gain-of-function research in China

"We may not know whether this ever arose out of a Wuhan lab, but I think gain-of-function research ... is wrong," Paul said.

Updated: May 27, 2021 - 2:19pm

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The Senate on Wednesday passed Sen. Rand Paul's amendment which, if it becomes law, would prohibit the U.S. government from funding gain-of-function research in China.

"We may never know whether the pandemic arose from the lab in Wuhan, but we do know that so far no intermediate animal host has been discovered," Paul said on the chamber floor prior to the vote. 

"Thousands of animals at the wet market have been looked at. None of them have carried COVID-19. We've tried to infect COVID-19 into bats. It doesn't grow well in bats. It seems most adapted and suitable for humans. We may not know whether this ever arose out of a Wuhan lab, but I think gain-of-function research, where we take a deadly virus — sometimes much more deadly than COVID — and then we increase its transmissibility to mammals, is wrong. In 2014 NIH stopped all of this research. I'm using the same definition to say any gain-of-function research should not be funded in China with U.S. taxpayer dollars and I recommend a yes vote," Paul said. 

The Kentucky Republican's amendment is cosponsored by several other GOP senators. The amendment has been folded into technology investment legislation known as the Endless Frontier Act, according to Business Insider.