Transmitted: September 30, 2021
To: National Institutes of Health
Re: Records Regarding NIH’S SARS-CoV-2 Database
Empower Oversight today submitted two FOIA requests to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) regarding the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. In order to prevent future pandemics, it is vital that the public and their representatives in Congress see what U.S. agencies have on record regarding the onset of the pandemic.
In July, Empower Oversight sought documents to explain why genetic sequences were removed from the Sequence Read Archive. The U.S. State Department noted that China has not been entirely transparent on the question of the virus’ origin, and the removal of the genetic sequences is part of its hindrance of the global efforts to understand the virus. This is not acceptable.
Senators Chuck Grassley, Marsha Blackburn, and Roger Marshall sent letters in June and September of this year to the NIH seeking to understand the removal of these genetic sequences. Today’s FOIA request specifically targets internal NIH communications regarding those letters in an effort to expose why the NIH has failed to respond to these important Congressional oversight requests.
If the NIH is serious about full transparency with the American people to prevent future pandemics, it must respond to oversight requests from Congress.
If you have first-hand information you’d like to disclose to assist Empower Oversight with these inquiries, please contact us confidentially here.