On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) joined his Republican colleagues in Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation in calling for answers from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding newly reported biosafety lab incidents involving H5N1 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. These incidents cast doubt on the efficacy of requirements and procedures surrounding risky gain-of-function research.
The letter demands HHS, NIH, and CDC provide a full accounting of biosafety incidents reported to HHS in the last decade, as well as their oversight of labs working with pathogens.
“One of the many impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had is an increasing awareness of gain-of-function research — and specifically the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) role in funding this research,” the delegation wrote. They added that, “the report of these two researchers’ potential exposure to a genetically engineered virus and alleged failures to adequately address said exposures raises questions about HHS’s oversight of biosafety incidents.”
Sen. Johnson is joined on the letter by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.), Bryan Steil (R-Wis.), Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.), Scott Fitzgerald (R-Wis.), and Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.).
Read more about the letter in the Daily Caller.
The full text of the letter can be found here.