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Republicans dig in on COVID origins investigation, demand HHS investigation and details on alleged ‘cover-up’

EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans are digging in on their investigation of COVID-19 origins with a new round of letters out Tuesday seeking transparency and accountability from the Biden administration and scientists. 

Republican Whip and Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Ranking Member Steve Scalise, R-La., and House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer, R-Ky., led a letter Tuesday to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra urging him to launch an investigation on whether EcoHealth Alliance and its president, Peter Daszak, should be barred from receiving federal grants for unethical conduct, following new reporting.

10 REASONS WHY SCIENTISTS BELIEVE CORONAVIRUS ORIGINATED FROM LAB IN WUHAN, CHINA

EcoHealth Alliance, a New York-based research nonprofit, secured millions in federal funds to conduct research, including with the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, to study bat coronaviruses using gain of function research. Republicans charge Daszak engaged in a “cover-up” of the origins of COVID-19, aided by new reporting from Vanity Fair. 

Republicans are incensed that Daszak isn’t cooperating “given the fact that Dr. Daszak’s research is funded by U.S. taxpayers and he may hold the keys to uncovering the origins of COVID-19—a virus that has taken the lives of over six million people across the globe,” the Republicans said in a letter first obtained by Fox News Digital.

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Scalise, Comer and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, also wrote to Dr. Kristian Andersen, a virologist at the Scripps Research Institute in California, asking him to appear before Congress to speak about his efforts to suppress any lab-leak COVID-19 origin. 

Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra said "no federal funding will be used directly or through subsequent reimbursement of grantees to put pipes in safe smoking kits."

“On February 17, 2022, you responded to our letter and stated that you were ‘not aware of, and [were] not involved in, any effort to suppress any particular theory about the origins of SARS-CoV-2.’ Recent reporting by Vanity Fair brings into question the truthfulness of that response,” the lawmakers wrote. 

COVID ORIGINS: REPUBLICANS RAMP UP PRESSURE ON NIH ABOUT RISKY RESEARCH

“We invite you to correct the Committee record, in person, in a transcribed interview,” they said. 

Fox News Digital reached out to HHS, EcoHealth Alliance and Andersen for comment. None responded immediately. 

Peter Daszak, a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), waves as he leaves a hotel in Wuhan, Hubei province, China February 10, 2021.

While Congressional Republicans haven’t been getting much response in their investigations to COVID-19 origins, that could all change next year if Republicans retake control of Congress and have subpoena power. 

More than two years into the global COVID-19 pandemic, there is no definitive proof that the virus started in nature or that it leaked from a lab. But the theory that the virus originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which studies coronaviruses, is no longer shunned as a conspiracy and is gaining more traction among scientific communities. There’s been growing calls for answers from U.S. officials involved in funding risky so-called gain of function research.  

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