Energy and Commerce Republicans Question HHS COVID Research

Energy and Commerce Republicans Question HHS COVID Research The exterior of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services The exterior of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Theodore Bunker | Thursday, 20 January 2022 11:52 AM

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday wrote letters addressed to the heads of three agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services to ask a series of questions about their research related to COVID-19.

The letters were signed by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington the ranking GOP member of the panel, as well as Subcommittee on Health Republican Leader Brett Guthrie of Kentucky, and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Republican Leader Morgan Griffith of Virginia. They asked Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky, Food and Drug Administration Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock, and National Institutes of Health Acting Director Lawrence Tabak several questions about the research activities related to COVID-19 and other coronaviruses and their sources of funding.

“Please provide a description of the nature of any research and the identity of the entity conducting the research. If the research is extramural, please provide the name of the entity and the kind of award (grant, contract, etc.). What are the goals and objectives of the research? How will these goals and objectives be measured or evaluated? Does the research involve virus manipulation, passaging of a virus, genetically modified animals, or making any mutations to a virus? For laboratory research, what biosafety level laboratory is being used, or proposed for use, in the research? What measures are being proposed or taken to ensure the safe conduct of the research? If there is an incident, how will the reporting and resolution of the incident be handled?

The Republican leaders also asked for the agencies to provide dates on when the research was first proposed, approved, started, and when the first progress report was issued, if applicable. They also request that the agencies “identify the source of funding and the authority for funding of this research,” and asked, “How is the funding of this research being tracked?”