The Biden administration is taking steps to impose a 10-year ban on funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Chinese research lab at the center of a heated debate over the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, according to note released by a House subcommittee Tuesday evening and an official familiar with the matter.

The memo, written by an official at the Department of Health and Human Services, said the institute failed to comply with repeated requests from the National Institutes of Health for lab notebooks and other documents needed to establish its safety practices.

The NIH’s conclusion that the Wuhan institute “likely violated NIH biosafety protocols is undisputed,” wrote the official, whose name has been redacted. The memo said suspension of funding was necessary to “mitigate any potential risk to public health,” and that there was “adequate evidence” to initiate “removal proceedings.”

The institute, which has not received federal money since 2020, now has 30 days to respond to the notice.

The memo was released Tuesday by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic; its existence was first reported by Bloomberg. Republicans on the House panel have repeatedly claimed that the virus was the product of a lab leak, and have focused their attention on research conducted by the Wuhan Institute.

After the outbreak of the pandemic, the Trump administration stopped a grant to EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit that had partnered with the institute to study bat coronaviruses in China.

Officials at the National Institutes of Health have repeatedly asserted — often in heated exchanges with congressional Republicans — that U.S. taxpayer dollars were not used in any laboratory research that could have produced the pandemic. But they also admitted that they don’t know what other research the Wuhan Institute has done.

In January, an internal watchdog agency found that NIH had made significant mistakes in its oversight of the grants. The findings were outlined in a 64 page report describing missed deadlines, confusing protocols and misspent funds. The report raised concerns about the federal government’s system for monitoring research with potentially risky pathogens.

EcoHealth grant was reinstated in May, but it does not provide funding for any research in China or with animals.

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