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GOP-led House committee subpoenas messages in attempt to trace COVID origin ‘cover-up’


A House committee issued a subpoena on Friday for communications between authors of an academic article downplaying the COVID-19 lab leak theory, which was published in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.

Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, announced that a subpoena has been issued for Kristian Andersen and is seeking Slack messages relating to the “drafting, publication, and critical reception” of the “Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2” academic article, which downplayed theories that the virus was derived from a laboratory. Andersen, professor, Scripps Research, co-authored the article with several other scientists, which was published in Nature Medicine.

Email evidence was uncovered by the subcommittee in March which it says suggests Dr. Anthony Fauci prompted the article’s drafting, which was intended to “disprove,” the lab leak theory.

A press release on Friday from the subcommittee states that Andersen participated in a voluntary transcribed interview, in which he said that authors of the paper communicated primarily over Slack during the drafting of the article. 


Brad Wenstrup

Representative Brad Wenstrup, a Republican from Ohio and chairman of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, speaks during a hearing in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.  (Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

He also told the committee that it would need to compel the release of those Slack messages, since “not all the ‘Proximal Origins’ contributors agreed to the release of the communications,” the release states.

A copy of the subpoena obtained by Fox News Digital shows that the committee is asking for any communications and documents “regarding the origins of COVID-19,” which reference Fauci, former National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, Acting NIH Director Lawrence Tabak, acting director of the National Institute of Allergy Hugh Auchincloss, Jr., and other top public health officials.

Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance, was also referenced in the subpoena, stating that Andersen is to turn over any messages or documents sent or received by Slack which reference him.

Peter Daszak

Peter Daszak (R), Thea Fischer (L) and other members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team investigating the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus, arrive at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on February 3, 2021. (Photo by Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

The subpoena is also asking for any documents and communications sent or received through Slack which reference the article, as well as “the origins of COVID-19, gain of function research, enhanced potential pandemic pathogen research, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Wuhan Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or EcoHealth Alliance, Inc.”

Andersen has until June 30 to produce the documents.

Wenstrup said that Andersen downplayed the lab leak theory, and his committee is “following the breadcrumbs of a COVID-19 cover-up straight to the source.”


“We are following the breadcrumbs of a COVID-19 cover-up straight to the source.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President, gives an update on the Omicron COVID-19 variant during the daily press briefing at the White House on December 01, 2021 in Washington, DC. The first case of the omicron variant in the United States has been confirmed today in California. ( Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)


“We are following the breadcrumbs of a COVID-19 cover-up straight to the source. Dr. Kristian Andersen played a pivotal role in potentially suppressing the lab leak hypothesis, and Americans deserve to know why this happened, who was involved, and how we can prevent the intentional suppression of scientific discourse during a future pandemic,” Wenstrup said. 

“It is clear that the authors of ‘Proximal Origins’ may have possessed conflicts of interest for supporting a zoonotic origin of COVID-19. Fully investigating the internal messages between the co-authors and contributors is a crucial step to inform future legislation and hold guilty parties accountable. The Select Subcommittee looks forward to Dr. Andersen’s speedy and comprehensive response to today’s subpoena.”

Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.

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