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Chinese lab sequenced COVID-19 two weeks before authorities disclosed findings

via CBC
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A Chinese researcher submitted a virus sequence of COVID-19 to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) database two weeks before Beijing released the virus’s genome sequence.

This raises concerns about China’s transparency and the legitimacy of scientific theories based on their information.

The submission was deemed incomplete by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and was never resubmitted.

The HHS wrote, “Following established quality control processes during which NCBI staff review technical, but not scientific or public health, details, a resubmission request was issued to Lili Ren on December 31, 2019, with notification that if the additional information requested was not provided by January 14, 2020, then the original submission would be removed from the processing queue.”

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Rep. Brett Guthrie, and Rep. Morgan Griffith wrote in a joint statement, “This significant discovery further underscores why we cannot trust any of the so-called ‘facts’ or data provided by the CCP and calls into serious question the legitimacy of any scientific theories based on such information.”

“The American people deserve to know the truth about the origins of SARS-CoV-2, and our investigation has uncovered numerous causes for concern, including how taxpayers’ dollars are spent, how our government’s public health agencies operate, and the need for more oversight into research grants to foreign scientists,” their letter continued,

The HHS spokesperson mentioned that another group submitted a nearly identical, verifiable sequence to the database, which was used by NIH scientists to understand the virus’s origins.

The spokesperson said the researcher’s information was “unable to be verified, despite follow-ups by NIH to the Chinese scientist for more information.”

“While waiting for the submitter to provide information to verify the sequence, another submission of a nearly identical sequence but with verifiable details was submitted to GenBank by another group and verified for inclusion on January 12, 2020, providing the genetic sequence for SARS-CoV-2.,” the spokesperson continued.

“This publicly available information was what was used by NIH scientists and others in their work to understand the origins of COVID-19,” they added.

“We agree that valuable, bipartisan work remains to address the Chinese government’s lack of transparency and ensure investigators can access critical information about the origin of COVID-19, so we can better understand how to prevent future pandemics,” concluded the spokesperson.

GOP representatives emphasized the need for more oversight into research grants to foreign scientists and the origins of SARS-CoV-2.

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