Dr. Anthony Fauci knew about U.S. funding for the gain of function research occurring at the Wuhan lab in China but downplayed its role in the COVID-19 pandemic, new emails show. Fauci recently denied that specific research was used by the overseas Virology Institute or funded by him.
In emails acquired by Buzzfeed News, Fauci conversed with NIAID Principal Deputy Director Hugh Auchincloss in a conversation labeled “IMPORTANT” about an article detailing the gain of function research occurring in Wuhan through the Wuhan Virology Institute.
“Hugh, it is essential that we speak this AM,” he wrote. “Read this paper… You will have tasks today that must be done.”
“The paper you sent me says the experiments were performed before the gain of function pause but have since been reviewed and approved by NIH,” Auchincloss said in a Feb. 1, 2020 email thread with Fauci. “Not sure what that means since Emily is sure that no Coronavirus work has gone through the P3 framework. She will try to determine if we have any distant ties to this work abroad.”
In his reply, Fauci said “OK. Stay tuned.”
Annnnd here come the smoking guns.
Feb 1, 2020 Fauci exchanged emails with Hugh Auchincloss – a big cheese at the NIAID
I'm still trying to thread through these but here are a series of emails with email subject line: "IMPORTANT"
The real subject: gain of function research. pic.twitter.com/5TIfrp9sSZ
— Justin Hart (@justin_hart) June 2, 2021
The U.S. government banned funding for the gain of function research in 2014 but the Wuhan Institute of Virology was still operating and conducting the controversial research using U.S. taxpayer dollars. This funding was funneled unscrutinized to the EcoHealth Alliance by the NIAID led by Fauci to propel Wuhan studies on bat coronaviruses and allowed NIAID to hide research that they said didn’t meet the standard for “gain of function” from the Potential Pandemic Pathogens Control and Oversight Framework review board.
Fauci previously defended gain of function research in 2012 and said it might be worth it even if it caused a pandemic.
“In an unlikely but conceivable turn of events, what if that scientist becomes infected with the virus, which leads to an outbreak and ultimately triggers a pandemic?” Fauci wrote. “Scientists working in this field might say — as indeed I have said — that the benefits of such experiments and the resulting knowledge outweigh the risks.”
Just last month, Sen. Rand Paul blasted Fauci for denying that funding for the Wuhan lab that experimented with bat-based coronaviruses came from his department at the National Institutes of Health.
“Gain of function research, as you know, is juicing up naturally occurring animal viruses to infect humans. To arrive at the truth, the U.S. government should admit that the Wuhan Virology Institute was experimenting to enhance the coronavirus’s ability to infect humans,” Paul said during the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing.
Fauci, however, denied that the super virus creation research by Ralph Baric, a U.S. virologist, and Shi Zhengli at the Wuhan Virology Institute was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
“Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely, entirely, and completely incorrect,” Fauci said. “The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Dr. Baric does not do gain of function research and if it is, it is according to the guidelines and is being conducted in North Carolina, not in China.”
Fauci also denied that the money that was funneled by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance “to study bat-based coronaviruses in China” including at the Wuhan lab was “gain-of-function.”
“If you look at the grant and you look at the progress reports, it is not gain-of-function, despite the fact that people tweet that, they write about it,” Fauci said.