Dr. Anthony Fauci insisted that no United States taxpayer funds went to bat coronavirus research at a lab in Wuhan, China, despite evidence that a U.S. government-funded grant went to a contractor that did partner with the lab on that research.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) grilled Fauci over the issue on Tuesday at a Senate hearing. He first noted that it is not yet known whether COVID-19 escaped from a lab in Wuhan that was conducting gain of function research, or the modification of naturally occurring animal viruses for research purposes.
For years, Dr. Ralph Baric, a virologist in the U.S., has been collaborating with Dr. Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Virology Institute, sharing his discoveries about how to create super viruses. This gain of function research has been funded by the [National Institute of Health].
The collaboration between the U.S. and the Wuhan Virology Institute continues. Drs. Baric and Shi work together to insert bat virus spike protein into the backbone of the deadly SARS virus, and then use this man-made super virus to infect human airway cells. Think about that for a moment. The SARS virus had a 15 percent mortality. We’re fighting a pandemic that has about a 1 percent mortality. Can you imagine if a SARS virus that’s been juiced up and had viral proteins added to it to the spike protein, if that were released accidentally?
Dr. Fauci, do you still support funding of the NIH funding of the lab in Wuhan?
Fauci denied that the NIH has ever funded gain of function research at the lab or that Baric is doing gain of function research. However, he said if Baric is doing that research, it is being conducted in North Carolina and not in China.
Paul then asked Fauci if he still supported sending money to the Wuhan lab.
Fauci did not answer the question of whether he supported sending money, but responded, “We do not send money now to the Wuhan Virology Institute.”
Paul pressed further: “Do you support sending money? We did under your tutelage. We were sending it through Eco-Health. It was a sub agency and a sub grant. Do you support that the money from NIH that was going to the Wuhan Institute?”
Fauci again ignored the question and responded, “Let me explain to you why that was done. The SARS-CoV-1 originated in bats in China. It would have been irresponsible of us if we did not investigate the bat viruses and the serology to see who might have been infected in China.”
Government defenders of gain of function such as yourself say that COVID-19 mutations were random and not designed by man. But interestingly, the technique that Dr. Baric developed forces mutations by serial passage through cell culture that they mutations appear to be natural. In fact, Dr. Baric name the technique the no-see-um technique because the mutations appear naturally.
Nicholas Baker of the New York Magazine said nobody would know if the virus had been fabricated in a laboratory are grown in nature. Government authorities in the U.S., including yourself, unequivocally deny that COVID-19 could have escaped a lab, but even Dr. Shi in Wuhan wasn’t so sure. According to Nicholas Baker, Dr. Shi wondered could this new virus have come from her own laboratory. She checked her records frantically and found no matches. That really took a load off my mind, she said. I had not slept for days.
The director of the gain of function research in Wuhan couldn’t sleep because she was terrified that it might be in her lab. Dr. Baric, an advocate of gain of function research, admits the main problem that the Institute of Virology has is the outbreak occurred in close proximity. What are the odds? Baric responded could you rule out a laboratory escape? The answer in this case is probably not.
Paul tried to press Fauci to say uncategorically that COVID-19 could not have occurred in a lab. Fauci responded:
I do not have any accounting of what the Chinese may have done, and I’m fully in favor of any further investigation of what went on in China. However, I will repeat again the NIH and NIAID categorically has not funded gain of function research to be conducted in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
As Breitbart News’s Matt Boyle has previously reported, the NIH awarded a taxpayer-funded grant to EcoHealth Alliance entitled “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergency” and one of the sub-recipients of the grant funds was the Wuhan lab.
A letter from the NIH to EcoHealth Alliance, first reported by Breitbart News, stated (emphasis added):
It is our understanding that WIV studies the interaction between corona viruses and bats. The scientific community believes that the coronavirus causing COVID-19 jumped from bats to humans likely in Wuhan where the COVID-19 pandemic began. There are now allegations that the current crisis was precipitated by the release from WIV of the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. Given these concerns, we are pursuing suspension of WIV from participation in Federal programs.
While we review these allegations during the period of suspension, you are instructed to cease providing any funds from the above noted grant to the WIV … This temporary action is authorized by 45 C.F.R. § 75.371 (d) (‘Initiate suspension or debarment proceedings as authorized under 2 C.F.R. part 180’). The incorporated OMB provision provides that the federal funding agency, through suspension, immediately and temporarily exclude from Federal programs persons who are not presently responsible where ‘immediate action is necessary to protect the public interest.’ 2 C.F.R. § 180.700 (c).
In addition, the Daily Mail reported: “The Chinese laboratory at the center of scrutiny over a potential coronavirus leak has been using U.S. government money to carry out research on bats from the caves which scientists believe are the original source of the deadly outbreak.” It added:
The Wuhan Institute of Virology undertook coronavirus experiments on mammals captured more than 1,000 miles away in Yunnan which were funded by a $3.7 million grant from the US government. Sequencing of the COVID-19 genome has traced it back to bats found in Yunnan caves but it was first thought to have transferred to humans at an animal market in Wuhan. The revelation that the Wuhan Institute was experimenting on bats from the area already known to be the source of COVID-19 – and doing so with American money – has sparked further fears that the lab, and not the market, is the original outbreak source.
The grant that the Daily Mail story uncovered is a $3.7 million grant issued to EcoHealth Alliance Inc. via HHS, specifically from the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the NIH. Fauci, who has gained enormous fame during the coronavirus crisis at former President Donald Trump’s side, has been the director of NIAID since 1984.