US Congress Vows to Investigate Wuhan Leak

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

Story at-a-glance

  • A preponderance of clues leans toward SARS-CoV-2 originating in a lab, most likely the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and having undergone some sort of manipulation to encourage infectiousness and pathology in humans
  • A Chinese-language book published in 2015, written by scientists and senior public health officials working with the Chinese military, discussed the possibility that SARS might have been a weaponized coronavirus unleashed in China by terrorists
  • While the lab leak theory has been roundly dismissed and ridiculed as a conspiracy theory by mainstream media for over a year, we’re now seeing government officials giving the theory some serious thought
  • Several members of the U.S. Congress have vowed to launch their own investigation to explore the lab accident theory
  • NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci is one of several conflicted individuals who have publicly dismissed the lab leak theory. Congress is now demanding answers from Fauci about gain-of-function research funded by the NIAID and conducted at the WIV


This is an older article that may not reflect Dr. Mercola’s current view on this topic. Use our search engine to find Dr. Mercola’s latest position on any health topic.

According to a May 9, 2021, report by Sky News Australia (above), a Chinese-language book published in 2015, written by scientists and senior public health officials working with the Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army, discussed the possibility that SARS might have been a weaponized coronavirus.

The theory presented in the book is that SARS-CoV-1, responsible for the SARS outbreak in 2003, was a manmade bioweapon unleashed in China by unidentified terrorists.

According to the 18 authors, which include the former deputy director of China’s Bureau of Epidemic Prevention, Lee Fang, and Xu Dezhong, a former professor of infectious disease with the Air Force Medical University in Xian who led the 2003 SARS epidemic analysis expert group under the Chinese Ministry of Health and reported to the top leadership of the military:1

“Based on ample evidence in epidemiology, molecular biology and evolutionary biology, this book concludes that SARS-CoV may have an unnatural, or man-made origin.”

Have We Entered the Age of Biowarfare?

The book, “The Unnatural Origin of SARS and New Species of Man-Made Viruses as Genetic Bioweapons,” also discusses the “psychological terror” such bioweapons might cause, and:2

"… describe SARS coronaviruses as heralding a ‘new era of genetic weapons’ [that] … can be ‘artificially manipulated into an emerging human-disease virus, then weaponized and unleashed in a way never seen before,'" Markson says.

She stresses that while American government officials and intelligence agencies have suspected SARS-CoV-2 might also have a laboratory origin, there is no evidence to suggest an intentional release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) or elsewhere.

“The significance of this paper is that it offers rare insight into how senior scientists at one of the PLA’s most prominent military universities, where high levels of defense research were conducted, were thinking about biological research,” Markson says.

Smoking Gun? Maybe, Maybe Not

Peter Jennings, executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), has described the book as a “smoking gun,”3 implying China has been plotting the development of coronavirus bioweapons for years, but according to a reporter with the South China Morning Post, Xu, in the book, reportedly complained that his theory of a manmade SARS was not taken seriously by Chinese authorities.4

A paper detailing his bioweapons theory was rejected by The Lancet and the World Health Organization as well.5 Much of the chapter describing methods for creating biological weapons was apparently based on unclassified research by the U.S. military, and not necessarily any groundbreaking techniques developed in China.

So, to be clear, without actually reading the book, it’s hard at this point to gain any real insight into the authors’ intent, other than that Chinese researchers were pondering the possibility of coronaviruses being manipulated and turned into bioweapons, and what the impacts of biological warfare are.

That said, they do, as Markson points out, detail things like the least and most effective forms of delivery of biological weapons. Intense sunlight, for example, will weaken released pathogens, and rain or snow will cause aerosolized pathogens to precipitate, thereby minimizing spread.

To direct aerosolized pathogens into a target area, stable wind direction is desirable. With regard to the psychological impacts of biowarfare, the book notes that:

“Biological weapons will not only cause widespread morbidity and mass casualties, but also induce formidable psychological pressure that could affect combat effectiveness. Just like other disasters, people will live under fear of attack for a considerable period of time after an attack, causing brief or lasting psychological impairment among some.

In other words, attacks using biological weapons can cause acute and chronic psychological and mental illnesses, such as acute stress reactions.”

Congress Vows to Investigate Lab Leak Theory

While the lab leak theory has been roundly dismissed and ridiculed as a conspiracy theory by mainstream media for over a year, we’re now seeing government officials giving the theory some serious thought.

As reported by foreign policy and national security columnist Josh Rogin in a May 6, 2021, Washington Post opinion piece,6,7 in light of the Biden administration’s reluctance to address the issue, several members of the U.S. Congress have vowed to launch their own investigation to explore the lab accident theory:

“Chinese authorities undermined the WHO investigation so thoroughly that even WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus admitted that its team did not properly investigate the possibility of a lab accident origin and that more work needed to be done,” Rogin writes.

“Secretary of State Antony Blinken said8 last month that ‘we need to get to the bottom of this,’ and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines has testified9 that the U.S. government is investigating both the natural spillover and lab accident theories.”

Fauci in the Hot Seat

In a letter addressed to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) — an arm of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that in recent years has funded gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses at the WIV — Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., stated:10

“Understanding the cause of this pandemic — and ensuring that something like it never happens again — is the most important question facing the world today. Given the stakes, we cannot afford to settle for a limited, blinkered, or politicized understanding of the origin of this terrible disease.”

Fauci11 is one of several conflicted individuals who have publicly dismissed the lab leak theory. In his letter, Gallagher asks Fauci to answer a number of questions, including what he does or does not know about the rumor that WIV workers contracted a COVID-19-like disease in the fall of 2019, before the outbreak was officially acknowledged.

Gallagher also wants to know how much funding the NIAID has given to the WIV over the years, how much of that supported gain-of-function research specifically, and whether or not funds were released during the 2014-2017 moratorium on gain-of-function research in the U.S.

He’s also asking Fauci to comment on how the U.S. government ought to “modify or reconsider scientific exchanges with Chinese entities” in light of the Chinese Communist Party’s “extensive coverup and lack of transparency surrounding the origins of the pandemic.”

Perhaps most importantly, Gallagher wants to know if Fauci still believes gain-of-function research is a risk worth taking, should it turn out that COVID-19 was the result of such research.

State Department Asked to Release What It Knows

In another letter,12 three Republican leaders — Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, House Energy and Commerce Committee, Brett Guthrie, Subcommittee on Health, and Morgan Griffith, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations — ask Secretary of State Antony Blinken to hand over all documents that might assist in their investigation of SARS-CoV-2’s origin.

Requested documentation includes factual support for claims made in a January 15, 2021, statement13 by the State Department in which they claimed the WIV concealed its work with the Chinese military and that researchers at the lab contracted a COVID-19-like illness in the fall of 2019.

NIH and EcoHealth Alliance Asked for Documentation

In March and April 2021, Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee also sent letters to NIH director Francis Collins14 and EcoHealth Alliance president Peter Daszak,15 who served as the middleman for funding flowing from the NIAID/NIH to the WIV.

As noted by Rogin, Daszak has been “the closest collaborator and the fiercest defender of the Wuhan lab.” In a May 5, 2021, article16 in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (reprinted days later in the New York Post17), science writer Nicholas Wade also points out Daszak’s central role in manufacturing what became the foundation for the official narrative that the pandemic was natural in origin and anything else was a kooky conspiracy theory.

“If the SARS2 virus had indeed escaped from research he funded, Daszak would be potentially culpable,” Wade notes, adding that this “acute conflict of interest” was purposely hidden. The Energy and Commerce Committee requested extensive records from both the NIH and EcoHealth Alliance detailing research and collaborations with the WIV.

No Excuse for Withholding Answers

As of May 6, 2021, neither Fauci, Collins nor Daszak had responded to these congressional inquiries.18,19

“The State Department, the NIH, NIAID and EcoHealth Alliance should have no reason — and no excuse — to ignore these valid and important congressional inquiries,” Rogin writes. “But without backing from Democrats, who are conspicuously absent from these efforts, these investigations will struggle …

It is clear that the NIH and other U.S. agencies don’t want to have their activities investigated. But they must work with Congress to determine whether their research may be connected to the outbreak.

Also, current plans are to expand worldwide collaboration on risky virus research sixfold, through the $1.2 billion Global Virome Project.20 Shouldn’t we figure out if this research sparked the pandemic before drastically expanding it? …

It’s in everyone’s interest to keep politics out of it as much as possible, because solving the origin question is an urgent task for the security and public health of the entire world.”

Lab Origin Is Likely the Correct Conspiracy

While the word “conspiracy” has been turned into a slur word used to debunk a given theory, it’s true definition has none of those connotations. Conspiracy means “an agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful or subversive act,” or “an agreement between two or more persons to commit a crime or accomplish a legal purpose through illegal action.”

As such, the lab leak theory is indeed a conspiracy theory, but simply calling it that in no way denies the potential truthfulness of the situation. It does indeed appear as though several people and/or organizations have agreed to perform, at bare minimum wrongful, acts, and are working together to keep their collusion a secret.

People trying to expose this collusion are now written off as conspiracy theorists — as if exposing wrongdoing is a bad thing! It’s not. It’s a necessity if we want to live in a lawful and orderly society that doesn’t put the public at unnecessary risk. In today’s world, everyone ought to aspire to be a “conspiracy theorist” and be looking into these matters more deeply.

As reported by Wade in “Origin of COVID — Following the Clues: Did People or Nature Open Pandora’s Box at Wuhan?”21 if we are ever to solve this mystery, we must be willing to follow the science, as “it offers the only sure thread through the maze.”

In his extensive article, which I recommend reading in its entirety, Wade — a former science correspondent for The New York Times — reviews what we know about this virus so far, from published research and commentary by scientists. He then describes the two prevailing theories, and the support that exists (and is lacking) for each.

The first is that SARS-CoV-2 emerged naturally and jumped from wildlife to humans, with or without an intermediary host. The other is that the virus was being kept and/or studied in a lab, from which it escaped.

If it turns out that it was a lab escape, whether having undergone manipulation or not, it still matters greatly, as preventing another pandemic will then require us to rethink how we collect, store and study pathogens. If it’s natural, then an entirely different set of solutions and preventive measures will be necessary.

“It’s important to note that so far there is no direct evidence for either theory,” Wade writes.22 “Each depends on a set of reasonable conjectures but so far lacks proof. So I have only clues, not conclusions, to offer. But those clues point in a specific direction.”

In summary, the preponderance of clues leans toward SARS-CoV-2 originating in a lab, most likely the WIV, and having undergone some sort of manipulation to encourage infectiousness and pathology in humans.

As just one example, there’s research dating as far back as 1992 detailing how inserting a furin cleavage site right where we find it in SARS-CoV-2 is a “sure way to make a virus deadlier.” One of 11 such studies was written by Dr. Zhengli Shi, head of coronavirus research at the WIV.

The arguments laid out in support of natural origin theories, meanwhile, are grounded in inconclusive speculations that require you to throw out scientifically possible scenarios. From a scientific standpoint, doing so is ill advised. “It seems to me that proponents of lab escape can explain all the available facts about SARS2 considerably more easily than can those who favor natural emergence,” Wade writes.23

Journalists Forced to Eat Humble Pie

In a Substack article,24 independent journalist Michael Tracey points out how journalists who “screamed ‘conspiracy’” are now getting humiliated as evidence for the lab leak theory keeps building. Tracey offers as an example the case of Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who in February 2020 was smeared in the press as a conspiracy theorist spreading debunked rumors.

A headline in The Washington Post read, “Tom Cotton Keeps Repeating a Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory That Was Already Debunked.” Ironically, a primary source cited as having debunked the lab leak theory in that article was molecular biologist Richard Ebright of Rutgers University.

As it turns out, The Washington Post was the one spreading false rumors, as Ebright has publicly admitted the lab leak theory has been the strongest hypothesis since January 202025 — a month before The Washington Post claimed Ebright had debunked the theory.

In an email to Tracey, Ebright states he discussed both theories with the Post, and was willing to be quoted “that the virus may have entered humans through a laboratory accident.”

The Washington Post, however, chose to only quote his comments about the genomic sequence of the virus and its properties, based on which “there was no basis to conclude the virus was engineered.”

In other words, The Washington Post lied when it said the lab theory was debunked, and it withheld comments to the contrary made by the very person they cite as being the debunker. This isn’t journalism. It’s propaganda, and propaganda always has a particular purpose. In his article, Tracey offers up several other examples of journalists who are now exposed as being anything but.

As the case for a lab leak strengthens, the self-proclaimed arbiter of truth, NewsGuard — which is funded by the PR firm responsible for much of Purdue Pharma’s unethical and lethal opioid marketing — is also going to find itself in increasingly hot water. At the end of February 2020, I received an email from NewsGuard questioning the veracity of my reporting on COVID-19’s origin.

From: John Gregory

Sent: Friday, February 28, 2020 1:07 PM

Subject: NewsGuard question about Mercola coronavirus story

My name is John Gregory, deputy editor on health at NewsGuard. You spoke last year with a colleague of mine for our rating on

We are updating our rating to reflect Mercola's coverage of the novel coronavirus strain, known as COVID-19. In an article titled "Novel Coronavirus — The Latest Pandemic Scare," the site promotes two unfounded conspiracy theories about the virus' origins:

The article stated: "In January 2018, China's first maximum security virology laboratory (biosecurity level 4) designed for the study of the world's most dangerous pathogens opened its doors — in Wuhan. Is it pure coincidence that Wuhan City is now the epicenter of this novel coronavirus infection?”

There is no evidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the source of the outbreak, and genomic evidence has found that the virus is "96% percent identical at the whole-genome level to a bat coronavirus.”

The article also stated that "the hysteria being drummed up follows a now well-worn pattern where the population is kept in a perpetual state of anxiety and fear about microbes so that drug companies (aided by federal health officials) can come to the rescue with yet another expensive (and potentially mandatory) drug or vaccine.” It later suggested the outbreak was timed to coincide with the presidential budget request in order to benefit "the Pharma and public health lobby."

No evidence is provided to back this conspiracy, nor does any appear to exist. Why did publish these claims, despite the lack of evidence backing them up?

Since that email, ample evidence that WIV was a potential source of the outbreak has emerged. At the time, we didn’t know, which is why I posed it as a question. As time goes on, more and more information is also coming out about Fauci’s and the NIH’s potential roles in this pandemic, so I’m by no means placing all the blame on Chinese researchers or its government.26,27,28

Gain-of-Function Research Is the Real Threat

I believe research cooperation and sharing between nations is such that blame will ultimately be shared by multiple parties. The key issue, really, if SARS-CoV-2 did in fact come from a lab, is how do we prevent another lab escape? And, if it turns out to have be a genetically manipulated virus, do we allow gain-of-function research to continue?

I believe the answer is to ban research that involves making pathogens more lethal to humans. As it stands, the same establishment that is drumming up panic by warning of the emergence of new, more infectious and dangerous variants is also busy creating them. They just never tell you about that part.

Already, scientists have figured out a way to mutate SARS-CoV-2 such that it evades human antibodies. Were this mutated virus to ever get out, we’d be in serious trouble. While mankind has created several outbreaks, nature seems to have a way of NOT mutating animal viruses into global killers.

So, the hypocrisy needs to end. World leaders need to realize that funding and defending gain-of-function research is the real threat here. If SARS-CoV-2 was the product of a Chinese bioweapons program, the lesson ought to be crystal clear: You cannot control or assure containment of biological weapons.

You cannot control whom they affect. Your own population is as at-risk as the designated enemy. And, in truth, all pathogens manufactured to affect humans can be designated as biological weapons, whether the intent behind their creation is nefarious or not.


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