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Following New Report, Ernst Calls for an Independent, Scientific Investigation into Origins of COVID

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) issued the following statement regarding the World Health Organization’s (WHO) report on the origin of the novel coronavirus:

“The American people deserve an independent, scientific investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus—not one that is influenced or controlled by the Communist Party of China, like this report was. In addition, as a watchdog of taxpayer money, I urge U.S. government agencies to publicly disclose the amount of American tax dollars that may have gone to research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology—as the law requires—and to permanently ban American taxpayer funding of ‘unregulated’ wet markets in Red China and elsewhere.”

Background:

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Senator Ernst has worked to increase transparency and accountability to prevent future outbreaks. Ernst joined a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) demanding answers regarding its role in helping the Chinese Communist Party cover up information regarding the threat to coronavirus.

Ernst also led the bipartisan effort, alongside Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), to ban taxpayer money from being spent at China’s unregulated wet markets ever again.

Ernst has also opposed any federal funding for China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), also believed to have played a key role in the coronavirus outbreak, and called for defunding the Wuhan lab. Just two years before the COVID-19 outbreak began in the vicinity of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was involved in a U.S. taxpayer funded study involving bat coronaviruses that U.S. officials warned had safety concerns, including the potential to infect humans. The amount of U.S. tax dollars used to fund this research was not disclosed to the public, and HHS was failing to comply with the law. That’s why, just recently, Ernst called on the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) to investigate why the agency has refused to disclose this information.

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