Republican legislators are raising questions about a laboratory in Colorado funded by the National Institutes of Health that includes a bat research facility, but lab officials claim that concerns are overblown.
Earlier this year, Colorado State University received $6.7 million from the NIH to expand its long-standing bat research and breeding program, which studies how bats influence the ecosystem and how they host, transfer, and withstand viruses. Some legislators, including Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, recently raised concerns about the lab.
“We cannot allow any batty experiments of pandemic potential to be unleashed on our own shores,” Ernst said in a statement to DailyMail.com.
“Americans have suffered enough from [former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony] Fauci-funded risky research, which is why I am working to defund EcoHealth that funneled taxpayer dollars to the Chinese state-run Wuhan Lab,” she continued. “The world cannot afford another lab leak, especially one on U.S. soil or near our military bases.”
Officials at the lab pushed back on claims that the lab could lead to a viral outbreak similar to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Greg Ebel, a CSU virologist and project leader for the bat research facility, told The Denver Post: “This isn’t a bat COVID lab. It’s not a bioweapons lab. We’re not working with Ebola or Nipah virus or any of these things. I’m not interested in losing my job or going to jail or interested in doing research that’s going to carry home pathogens to my wife or my child. Those kinds of things are beyond ridiculous.”
Rebecca Moritz, CSU’s biosafety director and president of the American Biological Safety Association International, said, “We as professionals and scientists have to figure out a way to be as transparent as we possibly can without compromising the safety and security of research.”
Moritz continued, “Studies show people have a tendency to believe the mis- and disinformation before they believe the truth. How can we figure out how to talk more about this? To talk more about how oversight of research works, to talk more about all the layers of safety and security with it and try and make it part of the common vernaculars.”
Theodore Bunker | email@example.com
Theodore Bunker, a Newsmax writer, has more than a decade covering news, media, and politics.
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