In a radio interview last Thursday, Colorado Congressman Doug Lamborn pushed an unfounded conspiracy theory as to the origin of the COVID-19 virus, falsely accused Democrats and the top U.S. infectious disease expert of complicity in obstructing investigations, and misrepresented international virological research.
In the same interview, Lamborn disclosed his vaccination status and COVID medical history, while dodging a question as to whether he would recommend his constituents get vaccinated.
Lamborn told KVOR host Richard Randall that he blames the Chinese Communist Party for the lack of transparency in efforts to determine the origin of the coronavirus contagion which caused the COVID pandemic, and he expressed his suspicion that the virus leaked from a laboratory conducting experiments into the virus for the purpose of developing biological weapons.
“Everything points — I don’t know totally for sure, Richard, but I’m so suspicious, based on the evidence, that it did start there at the Wuhan virology lab,” Lamborn opined. “If China played a role through gain of function research, which only has one purpose, and that’s to weaponize biological viruses as far as I know, then they have a lot to answer for to the entire world. And I don’t know why the Democrats in Congress, I don’t know why Dr. Fauci, I don’t know why they don’t want to get to the bottom of it.”
Contrary to Lamborn’s claim, ‘gain of function’ experiments are not for weaponizing viruses. The term ‘gain of function’ generally refers to manipulating a virus to increase its transmissibility or virulence in order to better understand the its behavior and the threat it poses to humans. Those types of experiments have been challenged ethically, and Fauci has maintained that Wuhan lab experiments funded by the National Institute of Health were not categorized as such.
While it’s true that the Chinese government has restricted international health investigators, and therefore has fueled baseless conjecture as to the genesis of the virus and the pandemic, currently the scientific evidence points towards a natural transmission from animal to human.
Many virologists, including investigators from the World Health Organization, maintain that the coronavirus originated naturally, outside the lab, having mutated from an animal virus to one capable of infecting humans. A recent review of existing COVID data by over 20 leading virus experts from around the globe, found that “there is currently no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 has a laboratory origin.”
“We contend that there is substantial body of scientific evidence supporting a zoonotic origin for SARS-CoV-2,” the report states. “While the possibility of a laboratory accident cannot be entirely dismissed, and may be near impossible to falsify, this conduit for emergence is highly unlikely relative to the numerous and repeated human-animal contacts that occur routinely in the wildlife trade.”
However, a growing chorus of conspiracists, apparently to include Lamborn, point to the virus being developed for experiments in a laboratory from which it escaped due to improper, negligent lab procedures or even malevolent intentions.
The debate has become politicized, with former president Donald Trump, members of his administration, and supporters of his controversial handling of the COVID pandemic pushing the narrative echoed by Lamborn, that the virus escaped from the Chinese lab, which was conducting nefarious experiments with funding and complicity of the U.S. government.
Contrary to Lamborn’s claim, the Democratic administration of President Biden has criticized China’s handling of investigations, called for more transparency and cooperation in allowing access to virology labs and their data, and engaged U.S. intelligence agencies to further investigate the origin of the virus.
Later in the radio interview, Lamborn was asked by the show’s host if he’d share his COVID vaccination status with listeners, and whether he’d recommend people get vaccinated in order to control the pandemic and its societal impacts.
HOST RICHARD RANDALL: “I’ve told people, you know, I respect people’s individuality when it comes to, you know, whether they get the vaccine or not. I’ve had it. President Trump has had it, actually. Tucker Carlson’s had it as well, the entire Trump family. And I thank him for giving us the option of having it or not. Do you feel comfortable talking about whether you think you have a recommendation for other people or whether you have or haven’t? And if you don’t, that’s fine. We hadn’t talked about this previously, so I’ll leave that up to you.”
U.S, REP. LAMBORN: “Well, Richard, we can we can save that for another occasion. I will say this, I’ve had COVID and I’ve been vaccinated. So, I guess you can say I’ve had the natural and the unnatural antibodies.”
El Paso County, which comprises most of Lamborn’s district, has experienced more COVID deaths than any county in Colorado, and is currently just 24 behind Denver for the most COVID cases in the state at 75,587.