Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), one of the key critics of White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, said during an interview on Axios on HBO that Americans are “very disturbed at how much” Fauci has lied, particularly about the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) funding of gain of function research.
“I think that people across the country are very disturbed at how much he’s lied, basically,” Paul said following an October 20 NIH letter sent to members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, detailing an NIH grant to EcoHealth Alliance. This grant was “sub-awarded to the Wuhan lab,” which funded a project testing to see “if spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model” — gain of function research.
“In this limited experiment, laboratory mice infected with the SHC014 WIV1 bat coronavirus became sicker than those infected with the WIV1 bat coronavirus,” the letter stated:
NIH corrects untruthful assertions by NIH Director Collins and NIAID Director Fauci that NIH had not funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan.
NIH states that EcoHealth Alliance violated Terms and Conditions of NIH grant AI110964. pic.twitter.com/cFOtJlRoWl
— Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) October 20, 2021
This, however, is directly contrary to what Fauci told lawmakers during a Senate hearing in July, during which he got into a shouting match with the Kentucky Republican over the topic.
“We’re still going at it. We have brand new news today, you know, that says that the NIH is now admitting that there was gain of function research there, and he lied about it,” Paul said of the revealing letter.
“And so in the letter, they acknowledge that, yes, the viruses did gain in function, they became more dangerous. So they’ve created a virus that doesn’t exist in nature to become more dangerous. That is gain of function,” Paul said:
Now they try to justify it by saying, well it was an unexpected result. I’m not sure I buy that. Think about it, you take an unknown virus, you combine it with another virus, and you get a super-virus. You have no idea whether it gains functions or loses function. That’s what the experiment is. But I don’t know how anybody could argue that that’s not gain of function research.
Paul said Fauci should “absolutely” be fired “just for a lack of judgment, if nothing else.”
“You know, he’s probably never going to admit that he lied. He’s going to continue to dissemble and try to work around the truth and massage the truth,” Paul said, adding that he is calling for an investigation and hearings, given the unlikely nature of President Joe Biden firing Fauci.
“We’ve been calling for that for months. But you’re right. There’s been a great deal of resistance on the Democrat side, but would we not want to know the origin of the virus, and to know if it came from a lab, particularly since this research still goes on?” he added.
.@RandPaul says Biden should fire Fauci over U.S.-funded research in Wuhan "just for lack of judgment, if nothing else."
— Axios (@axios) October 24, 2021
The letter comes months after Fauci vehemently denied to lawmakers the NIH never funded gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“Dr. Fauci, as you are aware it is a crime to lie to Congress,” Paul said during July’s Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions hearing, referencing Fauci’s May 11 statement to Congress in which he denied that the funding of such research took place.
“And yet, gain-of-function research was done entirely in the Wuhan Institute … and was funded by the NIH,” Paul said, referencing a Wuhan Virology paper entitled, “Discovery of a Rich Gene Pool of Bat SARS-Related Coronaviruses.”
“In this paper, she took two bat coronavirus genes, spiked genes, and combined them with a SARS-related backbone to create new viruses that are not found in nature,” he said, adding that the experiments “combine genetic information from different coronaviruses that infect animals but not humans to create novel artificial viruses able to infect human cells”:
Viruses that in nature, only infect animals were manipulated in the Wuhan lab to gain the function of infecting humans. This research fits the definition of the research that the NIH said was subject to the pause in 2014 to 2017 — a pause in funding on gain of function. But the NIH failed to recognize this, defines in a way, and it never came under any scrutiny.
However, Fauci remained obstinate, claiming to have never lied to Congress and refusing to retract his original statement while blatantly denying their own definition of gain of function research.
“Sen. Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly. And I want to say that officially. You do not know what you are talking about,” Fauci quipped.
“This is your definition that you guys wrote. It says that scientific research that increases the transmissibility among animals is gain of function,” Paul said.
“They took animal viruses that only occur in animals and they increase their transmissibility to humans. How can you say that is not gain of function?” he pressed.
“It is not,” Fauci replied.
“It’s a dance, and you’re dancing around this because you’re trying to obscure responsibility for four million people dying around the world from a pandemic,” Paul added.