Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and lawsuit by the Virginia-based Empower Oversight Whistleblowers and Researchers revealed the United States National Institutes of Health agreed to delete SARS-CoV-2 genetic sequencing.
The Gateway Pundit alleged that the NIH secretly deleted the COVID-19 genetic sequencing data provided them by the Wuhan Institute of Laboratory when the pandemic began. The media outlet stressed that the deleted data seemingly support claims that the COVID-19 virus was man-made, as earlier reported. It also links to the gain of function research conducted by the Wuhan lab that brought much spotlight on President Joe Biden's Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci.
As per The Epoch Times, the EO documents mentioned former NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and Fauci, who is also the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Disease Director. The media outlet stressed that the documents reveal Fauci's active participation in the decision-making and discussions.
Just The News, on the other hand, released a copy of the official statement sent by NIH Acting Associate Director for Communications Renate Myles to The Hill Staff Writer Nathaniel Weixel last June 23, 2021 regarding the deleted genetic sequencing.
"Staff at the National Library of Medicine (NLM), which hosts the Sequence Read Archive (SRA), have reviewed the submitting investigator's request to withdraw the data. These SARS-CoV-2 sequences were submitted for posting in SRA in March 2020 and subsequently requested to be withdrawn by the submitting investigator in June 2020. The requestor indicated the sequence information had been updated, was being submitted to another database, and wanted the data removed from SRA to avoid version control issues," the statement read.
"The submitting investigator published relevant information about these sequences by preprint in March, 2020 and in a journal in June, 2020. Submitting investigators hold the rights to their data and can request withdrawal of the data," it added.
Meanwhile, Empower Oversight released an analysis of the FOIA documents they obtained. The 23-paged analysis presented seven key findings including evidence indicating expert advice given by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Virologist Jesse Bloom to Collins and Fauci. The advice pointed out that the deleted sequences are suggestive of the begginings of the pandemic outside Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.
Part of the key findings was the NIH's initial decline of the request made by the Wuhan research to remove the sequences. EO stressed that it took another request from the researcher for a second set of sequence to be removed before the NIH conceded. At that time, NIH even offered to delete both sets of sequences.
The said sequences were named "Submission ID SUB7554642" aka "BioProject ID PRJNA637497," which was requested to be removed on June 5, 2020 due to an error in submission; and "Submission ID is SUB7147304," which was requested to be deleted on June 15, 2020. NIH agreed to delete the genetic sequences on June 16, 2020.
Another key finding of EO involved NIH's misleading policy on the removal of sequences. The research company cited an internal email an NIH official sent, which reminds the occasions data can be removed from the SRA. The internal email said that NIH will only remove data if the submitter gave notification that "the submission was in error" and not in cases of an "erroneous submission."