Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases head, denied the overwhelming evidence pointing to the Chinese coronavirus stemming from a lab leak Thursday, claiming that experts believe a “natural occurrence” is “much more likely.”
During an appearance before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing, which saw Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) grilling the White House chief medical adviser over his denial of his role in the U.S. funding gain-of-function research, Fauci directly cast doubt on the evidence of the virus stemming from a lab leak.
“There are so many things that are egregious misrepresentation here, madam chair, that I don’t think I would be able to refute all of them,” Fauci said after a tense exchange with the Kentucky Republican.
“But just a couple of them for the listeners to hear. You have said I am unwilling to take any responsibility for the current pandemic. I have no responsibility for the current pandemic. The current pandemic, okay?” he said.
“Number two. You said the overwhelming amount of evidence indicates that’s a lab leak,” Fauci continued.
“I believe most card-carrying viral phylogenists and molecular virologists would disagree with you, that it is much more likely — even though we leave open all possibilities — it’s much more likely that this was a natural occurrence,” he claimed, prompting Paul to interject, stating they have tested “80,000 animals and no animals have been found with COVID.”
Paul added that if Fauci’s “going to be dishonest, he ought to be challenged.”
Fauci’s retort, casting doubt over the virus stemming from a lab leak, followed Paul grilling Fauci on the definition of gain of function, as well as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding gain of function research in Wuhan, despite Fauci’s “protestations.”
“Until you accept responsibly, we’re not going to get anywhere close to prevent another lab leak of this dangerous experiment. You won’t admit that it’s dangerous. And for that lack of judgment, I think it’s time that you resign,” Paul said.