Watchdog group seeks communications linked to medical journal letter on COVID

The group highlights the conflicts of interest with authors discussing the pandemic's origins
An at-home COVID test.

Watchdog group Empower Oversight is seeking documents related to the authorship of a February article in medical journal The Lancet insisting that COVID-19 had a natural origin.

The letter from the group highlights the study's claim of "no competing interests" and the fact that the article "was orchestrated by the director of an organization that is reported to have funded research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology," the now-notorious laboratory widely labeled the origin of the pandemic.

"Among other things, the statement provides that its signatories 'stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin,'" Empower Oversight asserts, "And, thus it is reported to have played a role in suppressing early debate—and, thereby, the advancement of knowledge—regarding COVID-19’s origin. Moreover, the U.S. State Department has noted that a true understanding of the origin of the pandemic is important to the prevention of future pandemics."

The group goes on to address the contributions of Lawrence C. Madoff of the UMass Chan Medical School and the Medical Director of DPH’s Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences. Empower Oversight specifically is seeking documents pertaining to his authorship or contribution to Lancet articles addressing the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The watchdog's actions come amid growing scrutiny over health officials' early response to the pandemic. Dr. Antony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has come under fire for his alleged communications with the Wuhan lab and efforts to shield the organization from investigation and outside scrutiny. Earlier this week, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton discussed mounting evidence that Fauci was aware of the lab's purpose and worked to deflect blame for the pandemic from the facility.

Fauci and others knew about what Wuhan was up to, and they covered it up, it's clear in the documents we've uncovered," he said, adding that "they were more concerned about protecting China."