Sen. Marshall demands answers about NIH COVID-19 data retention policies

Published: Sep. 18, 2021 at 4:50 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Senator Roger Marshall has demanded answers from the National Institutes of Health about its COVID-19 data retention policies after allegations that Chinese researchers asked it to delete information surfaced.

U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) says he joined Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) to send a follow-up letter to the National Institutes of Health which demands answers to shed light on data about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Institute’s data retention policies. He said the letter follows reports of the agency’s inadequate response to the initial congressional inquiry.

According to Sen. Marshall, the push for answers comes as reports that Chinese researchers requested data be deleted from NIH-controlled databases surfaces.

“[O]n June 28, 2021, we wrote to you requesting answers to seven questions pertaining to the NIH’s role and responsibility with respect to the Sequence Read Archive (SRA) relating to COVID-19 data. On September 8, 2021, your office provided a response that failed to fully and completely answer all seven questions and failed to provide the requested records,” the Senators wrote. “[A]s we have made clear to you, Congress has a constitutional responsibility to engage in oversight of the executive branch and the executive branch has an obligation to Congress and the American people to substantively respond. In light of our responsibility and your obligation in that regard, we are reposing the unanswered questions from our June 28, 2021, letter.”

With over 650,000 American lives lost and trillions of taxpayer dollars spent to support COVID-relief efforts, Marshall said the public deserves to know what their government knows about the origins of the global virus and the research data it holds.

To read the full letter sent to the NIH, click HERE.

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