U.S. Right to Know Sues NIH for Documents about Origins of SARS-CoV-2

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News Release

For Immediate Release: Thursday, November 5, 2020
For More Information Contact: Gary Ruskin (415) 944-7350 or Sainath Suryanarayanan

U.S. Right to Know, an investigative public health nonprofit group, filed a lawsuit today against the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for violating provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., seeks correspondence with or about organizations such as the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the EcoHealth Alliance, which partnered with and funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Today’s litigation against the NIH is one part of our efforts to try to uncover what is known about the origins of SARS-CoV-2, and the risks of biosafety labs and gain-of-function research, which seeks to augment the infectivity or lethality of potential pandemic pathogens. Since July, we have filed 36 state, federal and international public records requests about these subjects.

“Preventing the next pandemic may depend crucially on understanding the origins of the present one,” said Gary Ruskin, executive director of U.S. Right to Know. “We want to know whether the US or Chinese governments, or scientists affiliated with them, are concealing data about the origins of SARS-CoV-2, or the risks of biosafety labs and gain-of-function research.”

NIH denied our FOIA request and determined to “withhold those records pursuant to Exemption 7(A), 5 U.S.C. § 552, and section 5.31 (g)(l) of the HHS FOIA Regulations, 45 CFR Part 5. Exemption 7(A) permits the withholding of investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes when disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”

For more information about our investigation, see our post on “Why we are researching the origins of SARS-CoV-2, biosafety labs and GOF research” and our reading list on “What are the origins of SARS-CoV-2? What are the risks of gain-of-function research?

U.S. Right to Know is an investigative research group focused on promoting transparency for public health. For more information, see our website at usrtk.org.

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