Last week, the U.S. Senate passed U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s amendment that would permanently ban all funding of gain-of-function research in China. This is following much back-and-forth with Dr. Fauci, and continually defending against the use of American taxpayer dollars in funding gain-of-function research, which aims to enhance the infectiousness or severity of a virus.
“We don’t know whether the pandemic started in a lab in Wuhan or evolved naturally,” said Dr. Paul. “While many still deny funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan, experts believe otherwise. The passage of my amendment ensures that this never happens in the future. No taxpayer money should have ever been used to fund gain-of-function research in Wuhan, and now we permanently have put it to a stop.”
Senate Amendment 2003 bans the National Institutes of Health and any other U.S. agency from funding any gain-of-function research in China.
The amendment defines gain-of-function research as “any research project that may be reasonably anticipated to confer attributes to influenza, MERS, or SARS viruses such that the virus would have enhanced pathogenicity or transmissibility in mammals.” This is the same definition the NIH used when implementing a funding moratorium on gain-of-function research in 2014-2017.
The origin of the COVID-19 virus is unknown. It has yet to be determined if the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or due to a laboratory accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. But this pandemic, and the questions of its origin, has exposed the inherent risk of gain-of-function research and never again will taxpayer dollars fund this type of research in China.
You can read S. 2003 in its entirety HERE.