A group of bipartisan lawmakers have introduced a bill that aims to halt all taxpayer-funding for gain-of-function research over the next five years.
The Pausing Enhanced Pandemic Pathogen Research Act was introduced by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Buddy Carter (R-Ga.), and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas.)
For months, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, has faced scrutiny over whether he oversaw federal funds channeled toward bat coronavirus research at China's Wuhan Institute of Virology. A recently published report from The Intercept indicated that the U.S. had indeed funded gain-of-function research at the controversial laboratory from which it is suspected the novel coronavirus could have leaked in late 2019.
Such research essentially attempt to increase the transmissibility and virulence a pathogen to better planned for an outbreak, vaccines and therapies.
"We knew the dangers of gain-of-function research, but the National Institute of Health and Dr. Fauci continued to fund it in America and overseas. This is something we never should have allowed without proper oversight and safety protocols," Carter in a statement.
"Evidence continues to mount that COVID-19 originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology with research funded by U.S. taxpayers. We must double down on our efforts to prevent irresponsible research and protect our communities from future pandemics. Our bill will prevent taxpayer funds from being used to conduct gain-of-function research until we can ensure proper safety standards are put in place," he continued.
Gallagher, who last week, called on Fauci to resign, made a set of similar remarks.
"While we continue to investigate the origins of COVID-19, the U.S. should – at a minimum – halt all funding for this dangerous research until we understand the role it played in this pandemic. I’m proud to support Rep. Carter’s legislation that does just that."