The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic has issued a subpoena to Kristian Andersen, Ph.D., author of “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2,” for the release of his private communications with co-authors. Chairman Brad Wenstrup announced the subpoena today.
The subpoena comes as part of the Subcommittee’s efforts to better understand the origins of COVID-19. The information Dr. Andersen possesses is considered critical to the investigation, and the insights it could yield may inform future legislation aimed at better predicting and preventing potential pandemics, protecting American health and U.S. national security, and preparing for future pandemics.
In January 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Andersen, a virologist from the Scripps Research Institute, suspected that the virus had originated from a lab leak. He, along with three other virologists, scrutinized the genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 and initially hypothesized that it was created in a lab. In an email, Andersen conveyed that he and his colleagues found the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory.
Andersen, a professor and director of infectious disease genomics at the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California, had been recognized for significant contributions to the field of infectious disease research, including the study of virus origins and evolution and the development of vaccines and therapeutics for viral diseases.
However, following a conference call with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the specifics of which remained undisclosed, Andersen’s stance shifted. An email from Fauci’s then-boss, Dr. Francis Collins, cautioned against promoting the lab leak theory due to potential harm to science, international cooperation, and the risk of spreading conspiracy theories. Consequently, Andersen publicly dismissed the lab leak theory, referring to it as a “crackpot theory”. In March 2020, he co-authored a paper in Nature Medicine stating that COVID-19 was not artificially created or intentionally manipulated.
Shortly after the paper’s publication, Andersen received a $1.88 million research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), then supervised by Dr. Francis Collins. Fauci, then-director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), was responsible for the allocation of this grant. After some of his emails were leaked, Andersen acknowledged that the lab leak theory was initially considered but was dismissed following extensive analysis and discussion.
Dr. Andersen had previously voluntarily participated in a transcribed interview on June 16, 2023, and willingly answered questions from the Majority and Minority Select Subcommittee staff over an eight-hour period. His responses included details regarding the drafting and publication of his correspondence.
During the interview, Dr. Andersen stated that he and his co-authors primarily used Slack instant messaging instead of e-mail to collaborate on their research paper. Although he admitted to owning the Slack channel, he mentioned that he had not produced all Slack messages as requested by the Subcommittee due to lack of consent from all participants. As a result, Dr. Andersen indicated that the Subcommittee would need to enforce the production of these messages.
The subpoena has been issued by the Committee on Oversight and Accountability. The subpoena is set to be carried out on June 30, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. at the 2157 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. The information retrieved is expected to provide significant insights into the ongoing investigation into the origins of COVID-19.