Fauci defends U.S. funding research at Wuhan lab, says it would have been ‘negligent’ not to do so


Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the Biden administration, has defended the National Institute of Health’s decision to give $600,000 to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2014 for research into whether bat coronaviruses could be transmitted to humans.

In Sunday’s episode of CNN‘s ‘State of the Union,’ Fauci, the director of the NIH’s Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told host Jake Tapper that it would be ‘negligent’ not to fund the research – though some have argued it could have led to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2019. 

Fauci and Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul feuded over the subject last week, when Paul questioned Fauci on the theory of gain of function research contributing to the origin of the virus at the Wuhan lab.

Fauci has insisted that the US-funded research was not gain-of-function research, which involves modifying viruses and potentially making them deadlier. 

The expert defended the research on CNN and said he had confidence in the NIH’s decision to fund it. 

He said, ‘If you go back to when this research really started, and look at the scientific rationale for it, it was a peer-reviewed proposal that was peer-reviewed and given a very high rating for the importance of why it should be done, to be able to go and do a survey of what was going on among the bat population, because everyone in the world was trying to figure out what the original source of the original SARS-CoV-1 was.’

He continued, ‘And in that context, the research was done. It was very regulated. It was reviewed. It was given progress reports. It was published in the open literature. So, I think if you look at the ultimate backed rationale, why that was started, it was almost as if, you didn’t pursue that research, you would be negligent because we were trying to find out how you can prevent this from happening again.’ 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, right, chief medical advisor to the Biden administration, defended the National Institute of Health’s decision to give $600,000 to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2014 for research into whether bat coronaviruses could be transmitted to humans. He spoke on Sunday’s episode of CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ with Jake Tapper, left

Fauci, the director of the NIH’s Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told host Jake Tapper that it would be ‘negligent’ not to fund the research

Fauci, the director of the NIH’s Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told host Jake Tapper that it would be ‘negligent’ not to fund the research

However, conservatives argued that gain of function research at the lab could have led to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2019

However, conservatives argued that gain of function research at the lab could have led to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2019

Gain of Function Research (GOF) is a controversial practice that involves altering a virus or pathogen in order to study the development of new diseases and their transmission. The research can ultimately make the virus more contagious or more deadly in a lab. 

Fauci lashed out at Paul on Tuesday during a Senate hearing as he accused the Kentucky Republican of being a ‘liar’ who ‘doesn’t know what you’re talking about’ when it comes to COVID origins and gain-of-function research.

Speaking with Fauci Sunday, Tapper brought up the feud with Paul and said that even if the NIH didn’t specifically fund gain of function research, ‘critics say the Wuhan lab experiments were nonetheless risky, whether or not they fit that category.’

He added, ‘And, obviously, the Chinese government is not a good-faith partner. They’re not allowing transparency. They’re not allowing a real investigation. So, as a matter of policy going forward, given that the Chinese government won’t allow any real investigation, do you still think the U.S. government should collaborate with labs like Wuhan, especially on research that experts consider risky?’

 

Fauci got quite animated during the exchange, as he pointed his fingers at Paul for being a 'liar'

Fauci got quite animated during the exchange, as he pointed his fingers at Paul for being a ‘liar’

Paul pointed back his pencil, and insisted the evidence shows National Institute of Health funding went to the Wuhan lab, who he claims then used that money to do gain of function research on how to make a bat coronavirus transmittable to humans and more infectious and deadly

Paul pointed back his pencil, and insisted the evidence shows National Institute of Health funding went to the Wuhan lab, who he claims then used that money to do gain of function research on how to make a bat coronavirus transmittable to humans and more infectious and deadly

 Fauci said, ‘Going forward, we are always going to be very, very careful, go through all kinds of review, including the risk/benefit ratio . . . we are always willing to reexamine the criteria that are used when you do research wherever you do them.’

But he defended the research that was funded, saying: ‘It was almost as if you didn’t pursue that research you would be negligent because you were trying to find out how you could prevent this from happening again.’

He argued that it wouldn’t make sense to conduct SARS-CoV-1 research domestically when the virus emerged first in China. Fauci added, ‘If we were starting to look for bats in Secaucus, New Jersey, or Fairfax County, Virginia, it wouldn’t contribute very much.’

Paul claimed to Fox News early in June that thousands of emails revealed by Buzzfeed News and the Washington Post proved that Fauci was warned privately of the possibility that the origins of Covid-19 were due to a lab leak in Wuhan – even though he publicly dismissed the ideas and allowed Democrats to call it a conspiracy.

The email revelation did not show Fauci’s personal take on the theory.  

Paul accused Fauci on May 11 of misleading Congress by saying the U.S. has never funded gain-of-function projects at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

He pointed to the 2014 grant of $3.7million that NIH gave EcoHealth Alliance, which distributed nearly $600,000 of the funding to its collaborator, the Wuhan Institute of Virology. 

‘If it turns out this virus came from the Wuhan lab, which it looks like it did, that there’s a great deal of culpability in that he was a big supporter of the funding,’ Paul told Fox News. 

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Dr. Anthony Fauci turned a blind-eye to Covid-19's possible emergence from the Wuhan Institute of Virology

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Dr. Anthony Fauci turned a blind eye to Covid-19’s possible emergence from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Fauci has refuted such claims

Fauci was called out again last Thursday by Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who said to Fox News, ‘He was putting out more press releases than he was signing checks to figure out where this virus started. Dr. Fauci not only had probable cause to look that it was a lab leak, but he looked the other way. You know, it’s time that we hold him accountable.’   

The Fauci email leak in early June showed that the National Institute of Health was warned several times in January, February and April of 2020 by different experts that Covid-19 was likely the result of testing at the Wuhan lab in China.

On April 18, 2020, Fauci received an email from the head of a research group that’s partnered with WIV. In the email, the individual was thanking Fauci or publicly insisting evidence doesn’t point to the lab as the source. 

Fauci seemed to play down the trove of damaging emails which include warnings from the start of the pandemic that the virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

He said his emails are ‘ripe to be taken out of context’ but he ‘can’t guarantee everything that is going on in the Wuhan lab.’ 

Then, after mounting evidence supporting the lab leak theory was revealed in June, Fauci finally deflected by saying the origin is likely a natural occurrence, where it goes from an animal reservoir to a human. 



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