U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) sent a follow-up letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) demanding answers to questions that may shed light on data relating to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and NIH’s COVID-19 data retention policies.
This push for answers comes amid reports that Chinese researchers requested some data be deleted from NIH-controlled databases. In part, the senators wrote “[o]n June 28, 2021, we wrote to you requesting answers to seven questions pertaining to the NIH’s role and responsibility with respect to the Sequence Read Archive (SRA) relating to COVID-19 data. On September 8, 2021, your office provided a response that failed to fully and completely answer all seven questions and failed to provide the requested records.”
The senators went on to say “[a]s we have made clear to you, Congress has a constitutional responsibility to engage in oversight of the executive branch and the executive branch has an obligation to Congress and the American people to substantively respond. In light of our responsibility and your obligation in that regard, we are reposing the unanswered questions from our June 28, 2021, letter.”
With more than 650,000 American lives lost and trillions of taxpayer dollars spent to support the American people, businesses and the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, the public deserves to know what their government knows about the origins of this global illness and the research data that it possesses.