House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Health Republican Leader Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Republican Leader Morgan Griffith (R-VA) sent a letter to National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Home Secretary Elena Fuentes-Afflick urging NAM to immediately suspend EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak and to conduct a comprehensive investigation into his conduct related to COVID-19 origins to determine whether he should be expelled.
In the letter, the Leaders point to a number of Daszak’s actions that may violate the NAM Code of Conduct and warrant urgent action:
- Daszak’s refusal to answer questions relevant to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, including Congressional requests;
- Daszak’s failure to properly report his financial ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV);
- Daszak’s leading role in shutting down all scientific discussion about the lab leak theory, presumably to avoid oversight of risky research his group funded at the WIV;
- Daszak’s refusal to cooperate with the scientific community and his unwillingness to share information relevant to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
- Daszak’s repeated inaccurate statements about his group’s work at the WIV and numerous official representations to NIH that are contradicted by documentation.
LETTER EXCERPT: “We write to urge the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) immediately to suspend Dr. Peter Daszak’s status and affiliation with NAM and to proceed with an investigation into his conduct in connection with a grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to Dr. Daszak as the Principal Investigator (PI) for EcoHealth Alliance (EcoHealth) and a subgrant recipient, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), to determine whether his actions constitute violations of NAM’s Code of Conduct that warrant expulsion. In addition to his NAM membership, Dr. Daszak continues to influence healthcare policies and inform public opinion through his position as the chair of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s (NASEM) Forum on Microbial Threats, and as a member of the NASEM Standing Committee on emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats.
“Membership in the NAM is a privilege predicated on members’ adherence to ethical standards and professional behavior. By accepting membership in the Academy, NAM members agree to abide by the NAM’s Code of Conduct. Under Rule Two of the Code of Conduct, ‘NAM members are expected to conduct themselves lawfully . . . to comply with public and institutional rules regulating their professional practice; and to be committed to the responsible conduct, review, presentation, and publication of research.’ Incidental to our investigation into how the COVID19 pandemic started, we have learned that Dr. Daszak, who has been a member of the NAM since 2018, has repeatedly and willfully refused to honor data-sharing commitments, and acted in ways that are antithetical to responsible conduct of scientific research, in apparent violation of several rules of the NAM’s Code of Conduct. By agreeing to be a member, Dr. Daszak agreed to comply with the Code of Conduct that he now disregards.”
“In light of Dr. Daszak’s concerning conduct, we urge the NAM to suspend immediately Dr. Daszak’s status and affiliation and proceed with an investigation into his conduct to determine whether he should be expelled. Further, we urge the NAM to enlist an independent review of all NAM and NASEM projects and articles in which Dr. Daszak has been involved to determine the extent of his influence and update each with appropriate disclaimers and determinations of whether or not the related findings should be reevaluated or retracted.”