COVID ORIGINSSenate Republicans Release COVID Origins Report

Published 22 April 2023

Senate Republicans have released their report exploring the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, building on the short interim report released in October 2022. Critics note that as was the case with the interim report, this fuller version relies on circumstantial evidence, not scientific facts, and that it contains many factual errors, in addition to poor understanding of the Chinese language.

Senate Republicans have released their report exploring the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, building on the short interim report released in October 2022.

Pandora Report writes:

Two documents titled “Muddy Waters: The Origins of COVID-19” were released; one by the Muddy Waters Group and another prepared by Senator Roger Marshall alongside Dr. Bob Kadlec, Bob Foster, and members of the 117th GOP Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee’s staff. The report was a product of the work of former Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, who commissioned the report and oversaw the release of the October HELP committee interim report. Readers may recall the controversy that accompanied the release of that interim report, which coincided with the release of articles by Vanity Fair and ProPublica, which were widely criticized for poor quality translations and other inaccuracies we discussed in November.

That troubled trend seems to continue in this new report, with admitted circumstantial evidence used to find that “The preponderance of information affirms the plausibility of a research-related incident that was likely unintentional resulting from failures of biosafety containment during vaccine-related research.”

Axios explains that the report

…argues that scientists haven’t found any naturally occurring viruses with the same composition of the coronavirus, and that there’s evidence the virus was circulating in Wuhan before the first known cases connected to the wet market were reported…It also argues that it appears Chinese researchers began development of at least two COVID vaccines in November 2019, including at the WIV, which “means SARS-CoV-2 would have been present at the WIV before the known outbreak of the pandemic,” and “It also documents numerous instances of lab safety concerns throughout 2019, including around the time when the virus may have first appeared.

Much of this, however, relies on the same previously disputed points made in the interim report and the accompanying ProPublica and Vanity Fair pieces. Furthermore, as Caitlin Owens highlights in another piece for Axios, the reports rely on circumstantial evidence, which means “The absence of evidence pointing, for example, to a precise transmission route from animals to humans will lead to very different interpretations of the same information.”

Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist who has worked on high-profile studies supporting the idea of a natural origin of SARS-CoV-2, told Owens that the report “…demonstrates, in my view, a political agenda that’s meant to bolster the idea that the lab leak hypothesis is more supported than it is. But also it is so full of just factual errors.” Rasmussen also counters a number of key assertions made in the new report, including those such as the presence of a furin cleavage site on SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein is in itself suspicious and that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was dealing with substantial biosafety problems that Party leadership was concerned about.

All told, this report seems unlikely to change much or anything in this ongoing public debate.

This article is published courtesy of the Pandora Report.