Funding PRC Research

Senator and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Ranking Member Roger Marshall (R, KS) and his staff have released their Muddy Waters report concerning the origin of the Wuhan Virus—which he concludes happened via two likely leaks from the PRC’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab not equipped to do virus research at the depth to which it was handling the Wuhan Virus. One of the conclusions of his report is that the US government was funding gain-of-function research in that lab.

I have a couple of thoughts.

Marshall said about the PRC research,

That’s why we’ve been calling for a halt in all viral gain-of-function research until we get the guardrails around it.

I disagree with that. We should do viral gain-of-function research on a variety of viruses, but we should do it in our labs, where we have absolute control over the research and its findings as well as the quality and ability of the labs in which the research is done. We should be doing the research for a couple of reasons: one is that our enemies—vis., the PRC—are doing it, and we need to understand the altered viruses and how to counter them when those enemy nations use them against us. The other reason is that these viruses do cross-over from animals to humans sometimes, and whether they do this naturally—which is quite rare—or altered viruses accidentally leak from a lab, we need to understand them and how to counter them.

My other thought concerns this remark by Marshall, regarding American funding for PRC virus research:

If we’re funding it, then they need to conform to our rules, and we need American boots on the ground[.]

Certainly. However, aside from the fact that the PRC won’t agree to American presence in their labs in any useful way, we shouldn’t be funding PRC research on viruses at all. We shouldn’t be funding PRC research on any biological research. We shouldn’t be funding any PRC research, of any kind, at all.

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