Investigation Finds Govt Falsely Said Monkeypox Experiment was Never Approved

An investigation conducted by a panel in the House of Representatives found that the government falsely claimed that a monkeypox (mpox) experiment was never approved.

Dr. Bernard Moss from the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said in 2022 that he intended to take genes from a clade 1 mpox and integrate them into a less harmful strain.

Upon inquiry from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Moss said the experiment was never introduced or approved.

These assertions were “false,” an interim report from the House committee states. Internal NIH documents show this experiment was formally proposed and received approval before the NIH’s Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) on June 30, 2015—seven years before the Committee first asked about the MPXV experiment.”

Approval for the experiment was revoked in May 2023, seven months after the committee raised their concerns.

In a March 2024 letter, HHS Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Melanie Egorin noted that the experiment involving “bidirectional transfer of genes between clades I and II of the MPXV was considered and approved.”

The report concluded by stating that the committee will continue to “request documents and answers about what research has been conducted and how it has been overseen,” as government agencies have “not been forthcoming” about the research efforts.

Several key findings and recommendations were listed by the committee. One finding was that NIAID has a “culture of secrecy and obfuscation regarding experiments involving pandemic and potential pandemic pathogens” that “erodes the public’s trust in government health agencies.”

Due to the secretive nature of the agency, “principal investigators, research institutes, and funding agencies are poorly positioned to, and perhaps incapable of, conducting adequate risk/benefit analysis and oversight of experiments that—by virtue of having proposed them and approved their funding—they want to see conducted,” the committee wrote in the report. “This is an inescapable conflict of interest and misalignment of incentives that results in experiments being approved and conducted without sufficient scrutiny or ongoing oversight.”

The committee then recommended that institutions involved in NIAID research establish “community oversight boards.”

Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) released a statement on the report’s findings.

“In order to start rebuilding trust in our government health agency guidance, agencies like the NIH must be honest and transparent with Congress and the American people,” they said. “This report demonstrates a disturbing lack of judgment and accountability from HHS, the NIH, and particularly, NIAID. It is unacceptable and demonstrates the clear need for reform.”