In the investigation of the allegation that COVID-19 was leaked from a Wuhan laboratory, GOP lawmakers are looking for transparency from high-ranking officials. 

On May 6, a letter from several Republican representatives was sent to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, requesting documents from the U.S. Department of State to assist them in the process of assessing the lab-leak theory.

The demand came following the January 15 Fact Sheet this year from the department, which conveyed that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) hosted classified Chinese military research that involves “laboratory animal experiments.” The information has been denied by Dr. Shi Zhengli, Director of the Center of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the WIV, during a March seminar with WHO.

“The disclosure of unclassified documents and the declassification of any documents regarding connections between the Chinese military and the WIV would help advance a comprehensive investigation into the origins of Covid-19 by bringing transparency to this matter and advancing the public’s interest and understand of the issue,” the letter wrapped up and asked for Blinken’s response by May 20, 2021.

A day earlier, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director, Anthony S. Fauci, was also sent a letter by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis) inquiring about his answer on the source of funding that WIV received from the U.S. 

“Through National Institutes of Health grants to the New York-based organization EcoHealth Alliance, the U.S. government helped fund research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV),” Gallagher wrote, asking if the “federal resources supported dangerous “gain-of-function” research,” which could correlate to the lethal coronavirus pandemic. 

According to NewsMax, the NIAID sponsored $3.4 million toward research at the Wuhan lab in 2014. While the purpose of the study was about defending against viruses that are transmissive between species, it paid the department a total sum of $598,500 for the five years of hiring their virology lab “to conduct genetic analyses of bat coronaviruses collected in Yunnan province.”

Nonetheless, Gallagher also asked if Fauci would agree with World Health Organization Chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s remark that “further investigation” into where the coronavirus came from was necessary. 

At the end of March, WHO gave out a report on SARS-CoV-2 and its relation to the Wuhan laboratory, which the team concluded the relationship was “extremely unlikely.” Tedros was in disbelief of the result. 

“I do not believe that this assessment was extensive enough,” he said in a news briefing. 

Investigating the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gallagher stated, was crucial to prevent the same disaster from repeating in the future. ”Given the stakes, we cannot afford to settle for a limited, blinkered, or politicized understanding of the origin of this terrible disease,” he added.