Support SB 401 to Ban Gain-of-Function in Wisconsin

Alert Summary

Members of the Wisconsin Legislature are seeking to enact SB 401, which would ban gain-of-function by institutions of higher education.

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Members of the Wisconsin Legislature are seeking to enact legislation that would ban gain-of-function by institutions of higher education.

Senate Bill 401 (SB 401) is introduced by Senators André Jacque (R-DePere) and Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater), and it is cosponsored by Representatives Elijah Behnke (R-Oconto), Ty Bodden (R-Hilbert), Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls), David Murphy (R-Greenville), and Chuck Wichgers (R-Muskego).

If enacted, SB 401 would ban any institution of higher education from conducting gain-of-function research, or from providing funding to another institution for that purpose. If a higher-education institution violates SB 401’s provisions, the board overseeing that institution would be banned from giving it state funds for the next fiscal year.

Furthermore, SB 401 would require anyone seeking to conduct research on “a potentially pandemic pathogen” to submit a report to the state Department of Health Services explaining the project’s methodology, scope, and other details.

In a press release announcing the bill, Representative Elijah Behnke said:

Many people are not aware that one of the four main pandemic pathogen research facilities in the United States is right here in Madison. Even more disturbing is the fact that the lab in Madison has had numerous documented incidents that raise serious concerns about safety and the possibility of a lab leak. Working on a deadly H5N1 virus in that lab and manipulating it to be a threat to humans is both dangerous and disturbing.

Additionally, discussing SB 401 on The New American TV, Representative Ty Bodden said:

Our biggest issues [with gain-of-function] in this state have come from our universities, and particularly the University of Wisconsin–Madison. [SB 401] will basically just say … ‘enough’s enough, there’s been too much messing around,’ and it’s something we can’t really afford to mess with — [there are] dangerous implications if things go south.

In a separate statement, Rep. Bodden said, “The risks that come with these experiments are dangerous and mistakes could lead to catastrophe.”

These concerns are well-grounded. UW–Madison been at the center of multiple known incidents — in 2009, 2013, and 2019, respectively — where it did not properly report dangerous incidents involving gain-of-function research or otherwise violated regulations regarding such research.

More broadly, gain-of-function research is extremely risky and dangerous, and it likely created Covid-19 to begin with. It is now well-known that the National Institutes of Health funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China. The lab in Wuhan conducted dangerous experimentation on viruses just before the outbreak, and Covid is now widely accepted — despite attempts to cover it up — to have leaked from the lab.

It is imperative that the Wisconsin Legislature take action to stop dangerous gain-of-function research — and, more broadly, to protect and restore the medical freedom of Wisconsinites. Contact your state representative and senator, and urge them to support SB 401.

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Contact your state legislators

Please help outlaw gain-of-function research in Wisconsin by contacting your state legislators. Urge them to boldly protect and restore medical freedom, and to outlaw all dangerous and risky experimentation with dangerous pathogens.

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