Washington Examiner

Texas bill would ban taxpayer funding for gain-of-function research amid COVID-19 origins hunt







A proposal has been introduced in Texas that would prevent public funding from being used to support gain-of-function research, which some experts have attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, Texas Senator Bob Hall (R) introduced a bill that would prohibit institutions from conducting gain-of-function research on potentially pandemic pathogens using public funds. Some national and state-level Republicans have expressed concern that gain-of-function research funded by the National Institutes of Health may have contributed to the origin of COVID-19, which some experts believe might have occurred through a lab leak in Wuhan.

Dr. Robert Redfield, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under former President Donald Trump, testified that U.S. taxpayer dollars funded gain-of-function experiments that caused SARS-CoV-2’s origin.

The proposal was praised by Richard Ebright, the lab director for the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers University, who supports the lab leak theory, suggesting that lawmakers in every state should consider similar bills.

The move follows an investigation launched by the Education Department under President Trump, which examined financial ties between the University of Texas and the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where it is believed that the virus may have originated via a lab leak.

In January 2023, Viral Gain-of-Function Research Moratorium Act was re-introduced in the U.S. Senate to place a moratorium on federally-funded gain-of-function projects. Additionally, House Republicans also proposed their own bill known as the Foreign Gain-of-Function Research Prevention Act in June 2021.

The FBI and the Energy Department now believe that the coronavirus likely originated at a Wuhan lab with low confidence, which has further fuelled discussions on the topic.



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