“I think we should take a pause in this area of research.”
At Wednesday's hearing, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic delved into the politically charged debate over the origins of the virus. Witnesses invited by Republicans argued in favor of a lab leak theory, while those invited by Democrats emphasized that the question of how the pandemic began remained an open one. Dr. Robert R. Redfield, who served as the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under President Donald J. Trump, called for a moratorium on gain of function research, which involves tinkering with the genes of viruses in a way that could make them more infectious. Other witnesses highlighted the importance of settling the question, citing evidence of coronaviruses found in bats that carry a molecular hook similar to one found in the virus that causes Covid-19. The hearing made it clear that the debate is ongoing, and that further research is needed to determine the origins of the virus.