Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of trying “to cover your a**” after certain language was deleted from the CDC’s website about the National Institutes of Health funding gain-of-function research in collaboration with the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
During a Senate hearing on Thursday, Fauci again claimed that the NIH did not fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab.
But Fauci also admitted he doesn’t know everything that takes place at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“NIH recently concluded that EcoHealth Alliance violated NIH guidelines when conducting bat coronavirus research while working with the Chinese government lab, but NIH and Fauci insist that this still wasn’t gain-of-function research,” the Washington Examiner reported.
Paul didn’t waste time on Thursday grilling Fauci:
What we are saying that this was a risky type of research — gain-of-function research — it was risky to share this with the Chinese and that Covid may have been created from a not yet revealed virus. We don’t anticipate that the Chinese are going to reveal the virus if Covid came from their lab. You know that, and yet you continue to mislead. You continue to support NIH funding going to Wuhan. You continue to say you trust the Chinese scientists. You appear to have learned nothing from this pandemic.
Will you today finally take some responsibility for funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan?
“Senator, with all due respect, I disagree with so many of the things that you’ve said,” Fauci replied.about:blank
“First of all, gain of function is a very nebulous term. We have spent — not us, but outside bodies — a considerable amount of effort to give a more precise definition to the type of research that is of concern that might lead to a dangerous situation. You are aware of that. That is called P3CO.” He was referring to the Potential Pandemic Pathogen Care and Oversight guidelines,” Fauci added.
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“EcoHealth founder Peter Daszak maintained a long working relationship with Wuhan lab “bat lady” Shi Zhengli, sending her lab at least $600,000 in NIH funding. Daszak was also part of the WHO-China team that dismissed the lab leak hypothesis as “extremely unlikely” earlier this year, and he has called the lab leak a conspiracy theory,” the Examiner reported. “The NIH recently concluded Daszak violated the terms of his grant while doing bat coronavirus experiments, which he denies. He condemned what he says are the NIH’s “misinterpretations” and lamented how the agency told him to stop funding the Wuhan Institute of Virology last year.”
Paul told Fauci that “we are aware that you deleted ‘gain of function’ from the NIH website.”
“Let’s get back to the operating framework and guardrails which we operate under. And you have ignored them,” Fauci said.
“The guidelines are very very clear that you have to be dealing with a pathogen that clearly is shown, and very likely to be highly transmissible and uncontrollable in humans, and to have a high degree of morbidity and mortality, and that you do experiments to enhance that, hence the word ePPP — enhanced potential pandemic pathogen,” Fauci added.
Paul then asked: “So, when EcoHealth Alliance took the virus SHC014 and combined it with WIV1 and caused a recombinant virus that doesn’t exist in nature and it made mice sicker — mice that had humanized cells — you’re saying that that’s not gain-of-function research?”
Fauci replied that “according to the framework and guidelines —“ before the Republican senator cut him off.
“So what you’re doing is defining away gain of function. You’re simply saying it doesn’t exist because you changed the definition on the NIH website,” Paul replied. “This is terrible, and you’re completely trying to escape the idea that we should do something about trying to prevent a pandemic from leaking from a lab. The preponderance of evidence now points to this coming from a lab. And what you’ve done is changed the definition on your website to try to cover your ass, basically.”
Paul added: “You have to admit that this research was risky. The NIH has now rebuked them — your own agency has rebuked them. The thing is that you’re still unwilling to admit that they gained in function when they say they became sicker. They gained in lethality. It’s a new virus. That’s not gain of function?”
Fauci denied it was gain-of-function research and claimed he wasn’t the one responsible for any definitions changing on the website.
Paul said, “Until you accept it, until you accept responsibility, we’re not going to get anywhere close to trying to prevent another lab leak of this dangerous sort of experiment. You won’t admit that it’s dangerous, and for that lack of judgment, I think it’s time that you resign.”