The House of Representatives unanimously passed several amendments to an appropriations bill on Tuesday restricting funding to gain-of-function research and slashing the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) budget.
Most of the amendments, which alter the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2024, targeted research of creating viruses that could cause pandemics, specifically prohibitingmore gain-of-function research at Rocky Mountain Laboratories and rescinding grants that funded research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), according to The Republican Cloakroom. The amendments also reduce funding for the NIH by over $3.6 billion and shift funding from the agency to Project BioShield, a federally-funded effort that researches cures for contagious diseases.
My amendment to end gain-of-function research funding passed tonight! It’s insane to use taxpayer dollars to create a blueprint for the next pandemic. pic.twitter.com/3eWPvgZANY
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) November 15, 2023
Gain-of-function research examines contagious viruses and modifies their genetic code in a lab to analyze how the diseases could mutate, according to the NIH. This type of research has come under scrutiny by lawmakers since the COVID-19 pandemic, which some experts believe may have been caused by gain-of-function research that the United States funded at the WIV.
Although National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby said that Biden has defended this type of research as necessary to “help prevent future pandemics,” the NIH has begun to back away from gain-of-function research in the past few years. The agency still funds some gain-of-function experiments, however, including an ongoing study at a lab run by WIV-connected scientists in the United States that examines Ebola in bats.
The NIH did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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